We know a lot about the past but we can only speculate and envision the future based on the path we are on. The idea of flying cars, walking pods, plugin cities seem a bit too extreme for the present scenario but in someone’s imagination, it is already a reality. The mystery of the future grips one with anticipation. Would it be as futuristic as shown in a sci-fi movie? With the present technological and economical advancements, some cities seem to already be in the future.
The avant-garde approach by some architects and theorists has also proven to be far from being rational and practical. But, could those theories be the future of tomorrow? In light of the recent addition to the global crises, the Coronavirus and the already existing climatic issues have set the standards high for future needs and necessities.
Some of the trends that can be expected to be seen in the future are:
Smart and Sustainable cities
A Smart city is where the city uses a framework of technologies and data to carry out sustainable development schemes. As the resources become limited and cities start to have a shortage of essentials like water and electricity the strategies to change the existing consumption and distribution rates become effective resulting in optimum resource management. Farming is bound to make its way into the cities with time.
The practice of agriculture will branch out into different forms like vertical farming, terrace farming, community farming, etc., Urban farming, efficient materials, and climate-centric design are concepts that can be introduced in the future to bring about sustainable growth. These developments will help energy distribution, streamline resources, decrease pollution.
A present-day example of a smart city is Copenhagen for its ‘Connecting Copenhagen’ project. The city has already made investments in the implementation of the schemes towards sustainable living. One such example is the scheme to reduce the traveling time of cyclists and bus passengers by 10% by 2018.
The future is based on the progress and growth of the present technology. The revelation of technological advancements in architecture and construction has evolved at a high speed. Immersive architecture is a developing concept where the clients can be put in a simulation using VR to experience the architect’s design. This allows the modifications and corrections conveniently and simply. The 3D perspective given to the design and engineering will be a step forward. Apart from VR (Virtual reality) other visualization platforms have also been proposed which include AR (Augmented reality) and MR (Mixed reality).
Technology has not only helped envision the future but has also helped in the conservation of the past. Old architectural buildings are preserved in their original state and maintained to have an authentic look with the process of heritage conservation. In the field of conservation and documentation, the software and tools developed are already highly advanced. With time these tools will be simplified and made more available to practicing conservationists and archaeologists.
From 2D CAD drawings to BIM architectural drawings and models have come a long way. Although BIM is already in use it has not been popularised among the students. BIM is slowly gaining momentum as it is being used in a large number of firms to cut down the working time and simplify the job. BIM stands for Building Information and Modelling. It is a 3D modeling software that provides detailed information on architectural plans, engineering and construction costs, and stats of the entire project.
Software like Revit by Autodesk has become an essential requirement for the growing digital world of architecture. The current situation due to the pandemic has created a digital platform for various things and has accelerated the digitization of the world as a whole. BIM allows the user to have a detailed overview of the planning, modeling, and material cost estimation of the project.
The world is full of possibilities and a crazy thought would be to expect the same things that the utopian theorists had imagined about the future. Avant-Garde architecture started in the 20th century and was considered to be radical yet progressive. Breaking away from the ordinary designs the Avant-Garde architects were conceptualizing urban planning in a futuristic manner. Several movements like modernism, brutalism, constructivism served to introduce a change in the design pattern and aesthetics while schools like the Bauhaus spread the knowledge about the new construct in architecture.
Although designs like the Walking City by Ron Herron or the Plug-in City by Peter Cook may not exist today, the possibility of such complex planning in the future is present. Architects like Rem Koolhaas, Frank.O.Gehry, Walter Gropius are the ones who took the modernist movement forward with their work. In a way, it would not be wrong to assume another modernism movement wave where the old futuristic designs could come to life.
The COVID-19 pandemic which started in late December of 2019 has affected the construction industry in unprecedented ways. Since the pandemic has become the new normal it is time to rethink the design strategies of structures and cities. The future will have structures and spaces that can cope with such pandemic situations.
The physical and behavioral aspects will influence the design during a pandemic which also has to consider social distancing, quarantine, isolation, etc. Public spaces, party halls, or any other crowd gathering areas will have to be redesigned to maintain pandemic protocols. Medical facilities and industries which were most affected by the pandemic will also be relooked into to make them safer.
Vertical Expansion and Planning
Urbanization has led to the increase in population density in cities and large towns due to land constraints. This simply means that the land available does not meet the requirement of the population. Problems of space constraint and congestion have to be solved with a more permanent approach. Since the horizontal expansion of structures is restricted, the vertical development of the built form increases the usability and efficiency by accommodating more people per unit area.
The concept of having commercial and transportation at the ground level and workspaces and residential at higher levels could help distribute and manage resources and security.
Parametric designing can be defined as the process of designing using computer algorithms to generate models and solutions. It can also be used to create nature-inspired free-form structures. The range of advanced software available like MAYA, Grasshopper, and Rhino has broadened the flexibility of design and modeling. Designers restrict themselves from going forward with built forms which are curved or organically shaped due to the complexity in design and management.
But the technology has improved and is successfully helping designers overcome this block. The trend of creating curvilinear built forms and exploring other forms apart from the usually chosen cuboidal form is slowly being set among the architects. Structures built by architects like Zaha Hadid and Frank.O.Gehry are great examples of parametric designs in the present day.
The future of architecture will not be used to show individuality and aesthetics but the main focus will shift to solving social problems and accommodating economic growth. Important and necessary movements towards sustainability and enhancement of the design. The balance between what is necessary and what is desired will play a major role in the future of architecture. The advancing technology will be an added asset for the designer to find solutions for the prevailing problems.