The entire world seems to anticipate the immediate future at all times. What is the first thing that we imagine when we think about the future of architecture? Do we imagine it as augmented reality? Or do we find ourselves in a vertical city? There are countless approaches and theories in this modern-day world where we refresh and rebuild our perspectives. In architecture, where the industry is constantly changing, we are subjected to newer construction techniques, a stronger focus on sustainability, things such as collaboration, captivating virtual reality, parametric architecture while facing new challenges in the form of a worldwide pandemic. These precedents are only some of the notions that help us envision the future of architecture.

The Deadly Virus!

The pandemic has brought upon us the importance of being able to get out. It makes us wonder how it will shape the spaces we reside in. The basis of our vision of the future all these years has been forced to change, to adapt. We recognize that the impact ranges from healthcare to education, to community spaces & areas, even to our residences, and identify that the future architectural interventions will need to be more responsive.

A vision of the future  - Sheet1
Illustration by Emma Roulette for the New Yorker_©

Let us talk about some of the new concepts in varying fields that have emerged as the framework for forthcoming perspectives of architecture in the post-pandemic era.

Manorfield Primary School, Tower Hamlets

Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture has come up with a pop-up school with maximized safety measures, which has been imagined as a temporary structure in the form of a tent. Originally, it was inspired by the Danish concept of outdoor learning.

A vision of the future  - Sheet2
Proposed pop-up classroom_©darc studio

A Catalogue of Regeneration by Andrew Jackson (RETHINK: 2025 post-pandemic design competition) 

The proposal is a step-by-step guide for a series of improvements that can be made to streets and houses using Manchester terraces as a case study.

A vision of the future  - Sheet3
A Catalogue of Regeneration, Andrew Jackson_©Andrew Jackson

Six Feet Office, Netherlands

Following and normalizing the idea of social distancing”, Cushman & Wakefield envision this concept as a new normal in a workspace.

A vision of the future  - Sheet4
Cushman Wakefield Six Feet Office_©Cushman and Wakefield

Immersive Architecture

As technology seeps into our lives increasingly every day, Virtual Reality Technology has been extensively developing in the field of architecture and construction. It not only benefits the architects and the designers in strengthening the vision but also increases connectivity and understanding with the clientele. This collaboration allows one to experience the dynamics of an idea in a much more comprehensive and time-saving way! Exploring VR at the early stages of design development intensifies the process when the experience is based on real-world scenarios.

A vision of the future  - Sheet5
A virtual depiction of Ennead Architects’ Shanghai Planetarium uses a range of colors to show where the sun will land_©Ennead Architects

Prospects of Sustainability

It is safe to speculate that sustainability is the key to an environment-positive future. The idea of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle is of prime importance to reduce waste and increase efficiency. When we understand the fact that the building sector accounts for 40% of CO2 emissions globally, material innovation can help reduce the environmental impact of building as well. Lacaton & Vassal were awarded the Pritzker Prize, for one of their projects which adapts to renovate than to demolish social housing buildings in France. Another example is using ETFE, a type of lightweight plastic to cool down buildings, such as the Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre in Spain by SelgasCano. 

A vision of the future  - Sheet6
The Plasencia auditorium, Spain_©Iwan Baan

Architectural Utopia

Coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516, ‘Utopia’, rather an architectural utopia, has allowed architects and designers to fantasize an image of a perfect city. It has now become a thought process that guides us towards complex possibilities to approach and understand modern tendencies of the present but to also envision prospects of the future. 

The Gold Mine is a linear city by educator and architect Nic Clear which constantly transforms itself using AIs and its occupants where inhabitants sculpt their own spaces using interactive interfaces. It intends to test fiction Utopias within the context of a formal architectural project becoming an alternative model for urban design. The creation becomes its reality.

A vision of the future  - Sheet7
The Gold Mine Educating Architects Exhibition, 2014_©

4D Printing?

Research and experiments at MIT have resulted in understanding how printing with DNA offers an opportunity to use it as a smart architectural material. With possibilities of visual transformation, it offers innumerable applications in materials, finishes, and eco-responsive designs. The research aimed at utilizing the DNA to be a new programmable design medium that will revolutionize the way one envisions architectural details. It can also lead to user adaptable smart surfaces. The result was ‘DNAdisPLAY’, a physical prototype and design workflow for 2D bioprinting, resulting in the development of software, hardware, and printed DNA patterns on paper.

Lina Kara’in and Skylar Tibbits, MIT Game of Life, MIT Self-Assembly Lab, 2013_©Future details of architecture

A multidisciplinary approach to understanding the future of architecture enables us to critically think and visualize all aspects of design. The immersive and contextual architecture will eventually become a driving force in envisioning and shaping our forthcoming designs. Humancentric technological advancements will enable us to plan a smarter, well-connected infrastructure that inspires us while helping the environment; buildings made possible both by new technology and its people. It may also enable us to develop a wider understanding of various tools and practices to identify the framework for spatial experiences and modes of construction.


  1. Bustler. 2021. The top 12 ideas from the RETHINK: 2025 post-pandemic design competition. [online] Available at: <> 
  2. Cushman & Wakefield. 2021. 6 Feet Office | Designing new office spaces to respond to COVID-19 | Netherlands | Cushman & Wakefield. [online] Available at: <> 
  3. Garcia, M., 2014. Future details of architecture. London: Wiley-Academy.
  4. Kafka, G., 2021. Ten visionary ideas for the future. [online] Available at: <> 
  5. Medium. 2021. Emerging Trends That Will Shape the Future of Architecture. [online] Available at: <> 
  6. Nast, C., 2021. How the Coronavirus Will Reshape Architecture. [online] The New Yorker. Available at: <> 
  7. 2021. The Gold Mine: Toward A Ludic Architecture | 2014 – Professor Nic Clear. [online] Available at: <> 

Prachita Rijhwani is an architecture graduate and a passionate musician. A keen observer and a curious learner, you will always find her exploring a new hobby. When it comes to design, she believes it to be the best medium to express innovation and logic together.