As the population keeps steadily rising,  the demand for spaces to live, work and recreate keeps increasing. This means that Architecture becomes more vital for survival in the future. The future of architecture has a wide variety of possibilities and the way it is perceived or imagined, often differs from person to person. One such image can be seen in the works of Archigram, where no preconceived notions of architecture exist and all limits of creativity and imagination have been crossed. 

We are in pursuits of an idea, a new vernacular, something to stand alongside the space capsules, computers and throw-away packages of an atomic/ electronic age.

– Warren Chalk (Archigram member)

Quite understandably, The word ‘future’ brings Robots, VR, artificial intelligence and flying cars to mind, thanks to the constant efforts in the development of technology and infrastructure. Hence, it will not come as too much of a surprise to see cities right out of sci-fi movies in the future. Giant structures, flying pods, Kinetic structures among other innovations, will dominate the city. While scientists and engineers keep exploring new materials and making new advances in technology, architects and designers keep pushing themselves to apply these to buildings and other spaces. 

The Walking City, imagined by Archigram, goes along similar lines. It is constituted by intelligent buildings that could roam the city by themselves. The concept has been derived from a combination of the machine and insect. Each pod acted as independent entities that could plug themselves into other stations and exchange occupants or replenish resources. The citizen, therefore, acts as a nomad and keeps moving. This City has been imagined in a ruined world after a nuclear war. This way, they embedded technology into the building and flaunted the idea of ‘The Machine’. 

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Ron Herron’s Walking City on the Ocean, 1966 _©
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New York Connections _©Atkinson & Co
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Pop up apocalypse _©Atkinson & Co

Since there will not be a limit in technology or materials but in the amount of space available on land, Architecture would spread to all three levels of the biosphere – land, water and sky. This means that All three levels will be built on. The curiosity in Humans would make them want to explore every inch of space in the world and this will lead them into digging grounds, diving deep into the sea, flying high up in the sky and building their abodes there. This way of looking out for spaces more than just land might also stand as a response to the increase in pollution levels. Flying pods, tall skyscrapers that pierce through the sky, underwater structures and structures floating on water are likely to be predominantly visible throughout the world. 

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City in the sky By Tsvetan Toshkov _©
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Aequorea by Vincent Callebaut, Rio De janeiro,2015 – an ocean scraper printed in 3D with plastic waste _©
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Aequorea by Vincent Callebaut, Rio De janeiro,2015 – an ocean scraper printed in 3D with plastic waste _©

The rise in population will surely go hand in hand with an increase in social and environmental issues. With the architect’s determination to use their power and make a change in the world, Buildings and spaces will start acting as solutions to these problems rather than just providing shelter. 

Every Space will be intelligently designed to tackle the issues faced by the site. These issues might be based on climate, disasters, population, water and food supply or even waste management. Techniques like Biomimicry, 3D printing, Augmented Reality and Parametric Architecture, among many others,  will be incorporated into design. 

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Garden by the Bay , Singapore, inspired by Trees  _©
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Spiralling Chicago Tower inspired by the Nautilus shell_©

Such examples are illustrated in The cities of Ecotopia 2121. These are presented in the form of scenario art, which gives a diversity of future scenarios rather than one whole vision of the future city. One of the ideas is imagined in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The City is exposed to disastrous floods every year, which is made worse by climate change and illegal dumping in and around waterways by the locals. Ghana is also known to have one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. 

In this imagined future, a scenario is created where the locals try to procure housing above the flood line in the nearby forest. Low-cost prefabricated tree cabins are built on trees. The urban families, as well as rural families who move away from their drowned, shanty towns, will now have to rely on each other and also learn to grow their own food and recycle their own waste to create a sustainable living environment. This will also help in preventing deforestation as the new residents of the forest would protect it from the logging, mining and oil companies who would want to destroy it for their selfish gain.

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Accra 2121, Alan Marshall _©

Building vertically not only helps in maximizing usage of space but also helps in reducing deforestation and protecting the existing green cover. Horizontally or vertically built, every space designed should be inclusive of green to prevent global warming and other issues. Architects should therefore smartly embed technology and biodiversity into the spaces to ensure an improved quality of environment and life. 

While it is true that the cities might look like it is straight out of a sci-fi movie, it is also true that the constant efforts being made in the present day, to preserve historically significant buildings will not go in vain. These structures will act as unvarying elements in the fast-growing, ever-changing world and provide the place with its own identity and character. The new city will flaunt these interactions between the old and new. 

Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter, the authors of  ‘The Collage City’, ask, “Could not this ideal city behave, quite explicitly, as both a theatre of prophecy and a theatre of memory? “. They propose a Collage City, which is a mixture of mini utopias consisting of fragments from the past, present and future. 

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Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy , showing the inclusion of green in vertical buildings_©
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Dresden Museum by Studio Daniel Libeskind , showing coexistence of Old and new. _©Hufton+Crow Photography

The future of architecture will be one where the constant efforts of the present, the magnificent past, as well as mother nature, coexist and reflect each other.

City Collage by Artist Katharine Rowe  _©

Inspired by architecture and filled with a passion for writing, MeghaSubodh is an Architecture student pursuing her studies in RV college of Architecture, Bangalore. Influence of people, culture and climate on Architecture is an area that evinces much interest in her. She is desirous of giving voice to Architecture through her writings and is consistently striving to improvise herself in this field.