The cities have evolved, the built forms have evolved, the time has evolved, and so has humankind. The evolution of small towns to cities, and that of cities to metropolitans has given so much space to the people living in them, space in terms of extended boundaries and increased number of floors. The development was an outcome of nothing but an increased population that led the architects and the designers to go nowhere but up.

One of these changes in the construction industry was in the use of materials, from vernacular to the use of concrete. The introduction of concrete to the industry of construction was a game-changer—a turning point in terms of technique, maintenance, and age of the structure. In the 20th century, concrete took over and became available to all at low prices. Architects of the time had a huge influence on the people, and that became the reason for the popularity; architects like Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright used the material intensively because it was new and easy to work with.

As we progress and continue to live in the age of people migrating in search of jobs, the construction industry booming, reduced individual houses, increased glass high rises, and cities full of confusing overpasses and underpasses, resulting in scarcity of land and reduced possibilities to expand. We have started to look at spaces differently and the way we occupy them. But the question that arises here is of the future of these spaces!

The Techniques of the Future

Living in the age of technology, rapid advancement has led to the change in the techniques used in construction. Some of the construction techniques that have started to emerge and are a part of the future are:

1. BIM- Building Information Modelling

Building Information Modelling (BIM) allows architects to create 3-dimensional models of buildings enabling them to see a representation of how the building will operate and what it will look like. BIM supports some advanced workflow capabilities that enhance the design process. These include space planning, light and daylight analysis, Extended Reality (ER), virtual conflict detection and resolution, and much more (unknown, 2019).

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Uses of BIM_©lod Planner – www.lodplanner.com/what-is-bim/

2. AR- Augmented Reality and VR- Virtual Reality

As we wake up each morning, something new is being invented. The speed at which technology is advancing is insane. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can be used to overlay digitally created buildings or building components onto real-life sites to visualize full-scale projects. This visualization enables architects to provide contractors and owners with better insights into the design and details of a project than what is currently available with BIM and 2D drawings (Jones, 2014).

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Virtual reality in architecture_©affinityVR – www.affinityvr.com/vr-and-ar-in-architectural-design-presentations/

3. 3D Printing

An upcoming technique that might change how the construction industry and the material sourcing industry works. 3D printing helps in the rapid production and transportation of materials as they are prefabricated. It is a technique that would make construction more accessible for all and would reduce the time to build (Cheatham, unknown).

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3D printed architecture_©3D Natives – www.3dnatives.com/en/3d-printed-architecture030520174/

The Materials of the Future

It can be said that construction materials are the future of the construction industry and would be better for the environment. 

1. Self-Healing Concrete

The idea has been around since Ancient Rome, self-healing concrete is a material that has the unique ability to patch its crack over time. Material to be able to fracture its gaps would prevent a building from leaks, and cracks would be a boon to the construction industry. The self-healing property of the material comes from a bacteria called bacillus, which is mixed with concrete before pouring.

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Stages of self-healing concrete_©Industry Trap –  www.industrytap.com/self-healing-concrete-can-repair-cracks-bacteria/29051

2. 3D-printed graphene

Graphene is made from carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice in a one-atom-thick layer. Graphene is deemed to be the strongest, thinnest, and most flexible material in the entire world. It is also an excellent conductor of electricity as well as heat. Scientists believe graphene has the potential to revolutionize the process of 3D printing. Some of them are figuring out a way to use it to print electronics, computers, solar panels, and even cars in the future (Hermann, 2014).

3. Aerographite

Flexible and malleable to the extent that it could be compressed into a space 95% of its normal area and then restored damage-free to its original form. Aerographite is made from networks of hollow carbon tubes, making it seventy-five times lighter than Styrofoam. The material is stable at room temperature and can conduct electricity.

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Aerographite_©pro core – www.procore.com/jobsite/10-innovative-building-materials-that-could-change-construction-forever/

The trends of the future

With each passing year and increasing population in cities, the trends in architecture change. A few of the trends that have started in the recent past and are of the future are:

1. Vertical Cities

As the space becomes limited and the population continues to grow, going vertical is the only option that remains. This shrinkage of space has resulted in the idea of vertical cities as a solution for livable spaces in the future. These structures would not just be vertical towers but much more than that; they would have everything a city has, including the interactive green spaces.

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futuristic vertical city_©urbanist – weburbanist.com/2015/06/17/vertical-cities-12-towers-take-urban-density-to-the-skies/

2. Green Buildings

One way in which humans can fight major threats like climate change and limited natural resources is by promoting sustainability. Green building is a structure that, by its design, construction, or operation, reduces or eliminates negative effects on our climate and natural environment while also having the potential to create positive ones. Green buildings help to protect the environment while also improving our quality of life (unknown, unknown).

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Green building_©conserve energy future – www.conserve-energy-future.com/green-building.php

3. Interactive Facades

Facades that do not interact are not the facades of the future. We live in an age where experimenting with conventional ways has been a usual pattern. As we are progressing with time, the facades of these buildings are also progressing. With the introduction of kinetic facades, the face of the architecture industry has changed; this is just one example. There are facades that react to sun, wind, smog and use that to the best of their capabilities to turn that into energy of some kind. This trend is to keep and promote as it is in favour of the environment and humans.

Kinetic facade_©science direct – www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132319301416

All these techniques, materials, and trends have been around for some time, but now is the time to throw some light and make people aware of what the buildings that we build are capable of. As the environment has become a major concern, these buildings with the future techniques, trends and materials will help us humans save it and make it happy again. There have been advancements and will continue to; once the concrete was a big thing and now is green, that is how time changes. The question is, what is the next big thing in architecture?

References:
  1. Cheatham, M., unknown. Device Magic. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.devicemagic.com/blog/top-11-predictions-construction-technology/
    [Accessed 10 02 2022].
  2. Hermann, C., 2014. Drupa. [Online]
    Available at: https://blog.drupa.com/de/graphene-3d-printing/
    [Accessed 10 02 2022].
  3. Jones, K., 2014. JB Knowledge. [Online]
    Available at: https://jbknowledge.com/five-ways-construction-industry-will-benefit-augmented-reality
    [Accessed 10 02 2022].
  4. unknown, 2019. HMC Architects. [Online]
    Available at: https://hmcarchitects.com/news/building-information-modeling-benefits-for-architecture-and-construction-2019-06-05/
    [Accessed 10 02 2022].
  5. unknown, unknown. InterFocus Lab Furniture. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.mynewlab.com/blog/materials-future-building-industry/
    [Accessed 10 02 2022].
  6. unknown, unknown. World Green Building Council. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.worldgbc.org/what-green-building
    [Accessed 10 02 2022].
Author

Priyanshi is an architecture student, who loves to explore new places, capture beautiful moments and write about them with a human essence. She is a wizard who likes to explore new things & meet new people and is always keen on developing emotions through conversations.

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