Everything changes over time, for better or for worse, it changes. So has architecture, and so it will. From the grid planned cities of Mohen Jo Daro and Harappa of the Indus valley civilisation, from the majestic and geometrical pyramids and temples of Egypt to classical Greek and Roman orders, to finally, today’s modern architecture—this form of human expression has evolved with and in response to the very world that surrounds it and will continue doing so.
But architecture is not just what is observed, it looks at the functionality of the building, the construction and the technology, it is heard and it is felt. The scope of architecture is very broad and not something with clear boundaries. With the rapidly changing world, it continues to unfold and be changed in various ways.
What are the contemporary trends that will persist?
In hundreds of years of development and facing varieties of the world, whether it is the great war or the aftermaths of it, whether it is pollution or the climate change associated with it, architecture has revised, adjusted and innovated itself in response to the transitions of the world.
Over the years our architecture has become more functional and practical, and the spaces are optimised. These concepts are relatively new but are welcomed no less warmly. One of the approaches is the “mixed-use spaces”, that is being employed in a large number of buildings. Not only this is cost-efficient and consumes fewer resources, but the mixed-use spaces have allowed us to explore spaces very differently.
Along with this trend of multi-purpose spaces, another direction our architecture is and will move towards is blending the private and public spaces.
Incorporating the features of vernacular architecture, blending the learnings accumulated and passed on to us from generations, with the modern architecture, is additionally a path which many follow. The concepts and intentions are global, at the same time its form and soul is very local. Something very similar to critical regionalism where the modern world architecture was built-in regional context.
Architecture has been an art form that is, unlike other arts, deeply linked with the user. Not only this, the buildings are to stand tall for the time to come, and thus accordingly consider the effect time will have on the world around us.
Green architecture and sustainable design are undeniably the most important principles and concepts that will guide our design. There has been an increase in the number of buildings that aim at becoming “Green Building”, even more so, there is an awakening in the designers, architects and the people around the world to be more considerate towards the environment and our planet.
Not just these policies guide us to a space that is environment friendly, but the spaces are also energy efficient and sustainable overall. The design is inclined towards minimising the pollution associated with the construction as well as the operation and management costs of the buildings.
Vertical Cities are the Cities of Tomorrow
The world population (as UN projects) is predicted to go 8.5 billion by the year 2030 and we are probably not leaving this planet by then. Making more space vertically seems like the only possible solution in this case.
Not only for the people, but we are to plan for the rising demands of food and resources at the same time. We cannot achieve this by clearing out forests and destroying the swamps to live in. The cities of tomorrow are more likely to contain massive skyscrapers.
The Junction of Technology and Architecture
Technology has upgraded tenfold in the past 50 years, from the basic calculators we have come to the modern supercomputers. Thus it had to make its way into the field of architecture. Not only this can be seen in the structure and facades of the building, but the process of design is also being influenced and guided by these technologies.
The present-day architects are relatively free of constraints posed by the structural system and can explore more philosophical and dreamlike forms. These works look unbalanced to our minds, even abstract, like something from Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ or the ‘Doctor Strange’ movie. Some examples are ‘Dancing House’ in Prague by Vlado Milunic and the ‘UFA Cinema Center’ by Coop Himmelblau.
The design process is now heavily dependent on various BIM and simulation software. This software allows us to predict the conditions that our building will encounter after being built and give us an almost accurate idea of the environmental aspects of the built form, whether it is the thermal conditions or the daylighting. And as time passes, this software will evolve into something more accurate and definitive than ever.
Architecture is a field of work that incorporates many different elements. Each element affects architecture, and architecture, in turn, it, in some way or the other. The world is changing every day, we are becoming more aware of our surroundings and responding to tackle problems that come to our face with the best of our knowledge, and this is exactly how we are approaching architecture.
Architecture is no longer merely a work of art or expression, we have begun to see it as a functional problem, with no right solution.