What is the future? Any period that comes present is the future. It is the next day or even after 50 years. Architecture has always paved its way to alter the forthcoming. Even though we may not be building on the sky or making a living on Mars within a few decades, the scenario as we know it today will be completely different. Emerging trends and advancements will mold the future into something exciting and worthwhile. It can be green cities or one that looks like a sci-fi movie or a monotonous space. 

Factors that influence the Future

Many factors shape the view and functionality of future cities. The architecture will be expected to accommodate the growing population while catering to environmentally friendly designs. Climate change is one of the most influential factors that need to be kept in mind while thinking about the future. It is crucial to have zero-emission buildings that play their part in depreciating global warming and the greenhouse effect. The buildings in the future foresee efficient use of resources, lower energy consumption, and maximum efficiency.

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Climate change_©Sourthern L

Population in the next 20 years will grow up to 9.8 billion, increasing the urban population density. With decreasing vacant sites to build on, architects will be encouraged to expand vertically. In the future, skyscrapers will likely become more prevalent. There are already several innovations in construction materials and methods, and the world will only witness more in the days to come. Technology has advanced to a great extent in every field and will impact the future of architecture. It will also assist architects and designs in better visualization and in showcasing their ideas. Architects have always been open to criticism. It has affected buildings more broadly and will continue to do so.

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Increase in population_©Barbalis C

Sustainable Architecture

Technological advances and extensive use of glass have increased greenhouse gasses and overall average temperatures. They have also contributed a small part to ozone layer depletion. If this continues, it will pose a threat to future generations, and spaces in the future will no longer be habitable. Architects and environmentalists have widely recommended sustainable architecture to administer the problem. Sustainable architecture in the future is more than just solar panels and roof gardens. Every building must consume and emit less energy, have design flexibility and improve air quality. Spaces must be self-insulated with thicker walls and oriented in a way that they capture maximum natural light.  It is imperative to increase the use of recycled and local materials to reduce the environmental impact. 

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Solar panels_©Jacobsen A

Passive housing must be encouraged in the future. Passive houses are the world’s leading energy-efficient buildings that are environmentally friendly, affordable, acoustically insulated, and provide indoor comfort. Many sustainable or eco-cities are already in the talks. Masdar city in the UAE is one such project proposed to be completed by 2025. It aims to be the most sustainable city in the world. It has a total area of 63sqkm with zero carbon and waste emissions. Materials used in building the city are local and traditional Arab architectural methods reducing its temperature by 15 degrees compared to its surroundings. Such projects carve the future of architecture into bringing a positive impact rather than a zero impact on the surroundings.

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Use of local materials in Masdar city_©www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii

The era of Innovations

Sci-fi architecture embraces futuristic ideas that stand out to be visually appealing and sophisticated designs. It is the opposite of the traditional practices that push boundaries using the most advanced technological inventions. The future will be an exciting time for architects to experiment with science and technology and play with new inventions. A world of sci-fi architecture will be created through innovations like BIM, 3D printing, vertical housing, parametric architecture, AI, and virtual reality. Visually appealing, high technology-based architecture is already seen in movies and will not take forever to be endorsed in our streets.

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3D printing_©Winget R

A future generation might observe floating sea cities, underwater cities, and even buildings with their microclimates. Buildings might even touch the skips to accommodate a giant population with the emerging 3D printing technology. It will not be astonishing to see 3D-printed and modular construction in a few decades. Prefabricated modules save time, deliver better quality, and increase productivity. Parametric architecture will become a trend that rejects the homogeneity of buildings. It is a blend of advanced technologies and complex designs.  BIM and virtual reality platforms offer new challenges to architects by enabling them to explore new horizons.

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Parametric architecture_©Nadell J

Is there space for Sustainability in Sci-fi architecture?

Architecture in the future must have a positive impact on the environment. Spaces in future must be sustainable for a habitable environment. But it is not advisable to suppress the budding inventors and stop people from enthusiastically coming up with innovations. It is only while both science and sustainable elements are integrated that more livable spaces are created. Eco sci-fi architecture aims to use science and technology to improve the environment while preserving its natural beauty. The building’s concept is in the vein of science fiction, and the style is a splendid blend of nature and high-tech. There are already a few innovations in the field of sustainable architecture, like the electrochromic smart glass. It shuts out the harsh heat of solar radiation. It has electric signals that monitor the amount of solar radiation it reflects. Eco sci-fi architecture will give opportunities for designers with a modern vision and designers with traditional ideas.

Sustainability meets science_©Beck T

With each passing day, technologies will improve further, and construction methods will grow more sophisticated. Architecture in the future will cater to the needs of the coming generations keeping the surroundings and climate in mind. The cities will no longer be futuristic deserts but will always have traces of greenery. The envision of the future is certainly different for every designer. Sustainable and modern architecture are very prominent, and the blend of these two is without a doubt in the talks.

References:

  1. TEDx Talks. (2014). Green buildings are more than brick and mortar. [YouTube video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEUShQ7r_tE [Accessed 9 September 2021].
  2. TEDx Talks. (2017). Architecture that challenges your concept of reality. [YouTube video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v5hmQt57lc [Accessed 9 September 2021].
Author

Vismai is a driven student leveraging studies in architecture and a keen observant of fine details in art forms who has had a passion for writing and poetry since forever. Along with sketches, she considers writing as a valuable tool to interpret buildings.

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