With the innovation of new materials, new building techniques, and imaginative ideas, the world of architecture is taking thought-provoking turns. The future of architecture could move past functionality towards new digital innovations. Whereas some innovations may look too ahead of their time, it’s not entirely incorrect that we are already living in the future. As we get to experience revolving skyscrapers, hypnotic bridges, 3D printed facades and interiors, inflatable concert halls, green sustainable buildings, sculpture-like towers, and futuristic sci-fi skylines – with all these shifting dynamics are moving at maximum pace, raises the not-so-rhetorical question – “What do the next few decades look like?”
“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” –Frank Gehry
The Recurrence and the Renewal
While envisioning the future of architecture, it is expected to come across the repetitive establishment across the decades. Even though the rhythm of repetitive architecture has its balance and harmony, time introduces a whole new range of incredible possibilities into the field of architecture.
Sustainable architecture is a concept of renewal in architecture. The term “sustainability” has become quite popular for the past several years, yet struggling to establish its purpose. Recently it has led many experts to believe that the concept of sustainability is outdated given the present state of the world. They further insist that the way forward lies in regenerative architecture and design, a much more progressive and holistic approach that focuses on the natural resources of the world to create buildings and systems capable of regenerating themselves and breaking down completely when they’ve served their purpose. Designs must be approached holistically: from methodological, environmental, social to even psychological aspects.
Climatic Crisis: Rethinking Form and Function
Buildings as the products of architecture are a major contributor to climate change and global warming. The inevitably impending climate change must be addressed at the beginners’ level, during the first years of architectural education to shield the constructive future of architecture.
Architects have a significant role to prevent the drastic effects of this climatic crisis, by using sustainability as a tool. On a positive note, a great number of architects, acknowledging climate emergencies, are proceeding towards taking actions to ensure sustainable architectural design.
To address the crisis of climate that the world is now facing, architects must change to new design paradigms, and approach towards building more adaptive structures that are simpler, yet more architecturally and ecologically powerful.
The Pandemic: Shift of Thoughts
“Each new situation requires a new architecture” – Jean Nouvel
The horrifying episodes of the coronavirus pandemic have broadened our visions and brought our attention to newer outlooks. Our perspectives have never been so concentric as now, in case building a healthier society ensures the accurate needs. Now we realize the importance of a breathable home – where there is an abundance of natural light, where the air can flow freely, nourishing our spaces, where we do not as if we are stuck in cages, or where the walls do not seem to close in on us.
The future of architecture and post-pandemic-built environment will certainly look different than ever starting from our homes, our office spaces, our favorite malls and cinema halls, our transport stations to public parks and promenades.
Optimistic Probabilities: From Present to the Future
“Behind the cloudy present, the past reminds us of the possibility of another future”, –Anonymous
Considering all aspects of a foreseeable future to be promising, the roles of young architects are immeasurable. Where we stand now – amidst an epidemic with further climatic calamities, lots of changes are to be anticipated for a sustainable future. The new and future architects should be focused on how to save the earth from the wrath of nature.
In “Letters to a young architect” – collected in a special issue of the Architectural Review, many architects, critics, artists, teachers and enthusiasts write letters to the ‘young architects’ where they unfold their own experiences and offer words of optimism or at times, forewarning.
“We need a generation of architects who can resist the temptation of the visual realm. We need a generation of architects who know how to stitch together fragmented societies. We need a generation of architects who can build bridges and not walls. We need a generation of architects who do not aspire to stardom but connect to the Earth.” – Marina Tabassum
As the new generation embarks upon their journeys as architects, they must be, by all means, motivated and ready for a world full of new possibilities.
“What is becoming increasingly clear is that critical intervention in architecture must happen collectively, through organizing within the academy, the firm, and across the discipline. The world is not going to get easier. I’m here to tell you, future architect, that you never, ever have to accept things the way they are. In fact, it is your duty to change them.” – Kate Wagner, Architecture Critic
Behind the glamour of the digital innovations and futuristic horizons, lie the risks of befall that humans have brought upon themselves. The drastic and bitter scenario underlying the creative revolutions needs to be taken care of, to hope and optimize our chances at a better-living world.
- Chayka, K. (20–06-17). How the Coronavirus Will Reshape Architecture. The New Yorker. Available at: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/how-the-coronavirus-will-reshape-architecture [Accessed: 12 Aug 2021].
- Hohenadel, K. (21–08-11). What Is Sustainable Architecture? The Spruce. Available at: https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-sustainable-architecture-4846497 [Accessed: 12 Aug 2021].
- Tabassum, M. (20–09-08). Marina Tabassum: letter to a young architect. The Architectural Review. Available at: https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/letters-to-a-young-architect/marina-tabassum-letter-to-a-young-architect [Accessed: 10 Aug 2021].
- The Architectural League. (2020). Kiel Moe: Climate change, Architecture change. [YouTube video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iomFhd3Mmj8&t=83s [Accessed: 11 Aug 2021].
- Wagner, K. (20–09-21). Kate Wagner: letter to a young architect. The Architectural Review. Available at: https://www.architectural-review.com/essays/letters-to-a-young-architect/kate-wagner-letter-to-a-young-architect [Accessed: 11 Aug 2021].