Crowds of Tomorrow
The pandemic has claimed a large number of human lives this year. It has enabled us to realize the deeper meaning of our culture and traditions, teaching us to be more health-conscious. In a way, the entire country is altering their daily lives, lifestyle choices, and habits for a healthy future.
With that said, what should Architects need to look out for during these times? What are the new technological strategies to adopt into their practice to help cater to the cautious crowds of tomorrow?
1. Voice Commands
If you have been waiting for the day when one could just talk to a door or ask the elevator to drop you off at the 13th floor, you’re in luck! The technology is not novel. If one can ask Siri to call their Mom or ask Alexa to tune-in to their favourite series, this is possible too. Voice recognition & processing is a technology that will help to maintain hygiene.
2. AI Powered
Artificial Intelligence goes hand-in-hand with the previous technology. Opening Doors and Automating the elevators are one thing. But, AI can take things up a notch by providing mass customization. Imagine the elevator knowing your schedule for today, and it automatically takes you to the 10th floor for your first office meeting? Or your cubicle sanitizing and disinfecting on its own, the moment you step into the building? Wouldn’t that be a great initiative to increase productivity and improve safety at workplaces?
3. Kinetic Facades
Ever noticed that cold and infections spread quickly on the same floor of a company? This is because the air circulated via HVAC systems are being reused multiple times, before being let out. What if, we could change the direction of air in such a way that, the air from the affected people goes outside the building? One of the emerging solutions is to deploy Kinetic Facades. These facades not only ensure optimum air quality with respect to the weather in real-time but also help control the flow of air, by creating negative air pressure which helps in flushing out used air.
4. Self-Sustainable Buildings
The time has come for buildings to become self-sufficient in terms of their energy requirements. We witnessed how a small micro-organism can bring the entire world to a standstill. Harvesting Energy from various natural sources is the way to go about the energy crisis. For upcoming buildings, LEED rated materials and practices might become the standard.
5. Urban Farming
One of the positive habits developed by a lot of people during this quarantine is to give gardening a fair chance. We see Terrace Gardens, Balconies that aid kitchens and Urban Farming becoming an important activity. Houses of the future might also aim to provide separate spaces for such cultivation.
6. Low Density Housing
One of the most affected people are ones living in High-Density Apartments. Services like common elevators, swimming pools, and health clubs that were once the value additions, have now become a disadvantage. Low-density housing that promises privacy, access to fresh air, and sunlight are now the core values of any new construction.
7. 2ndWave of Modernism
Modernism in Architecture started as an effort to help home-owners maintain their homes. Minimal curves and plain white walls signify that the ease of maintenance of buildings was factored in the design. One can probably notice modernist-styled buildings coming up in the near future.
8. All-In-One Homes
Many companies had the chance to try out Work-From-Home culture during these last few months. For many, this seemed to cut down on operating costs. For the employees, this meant working from the comfort of their homes, and spending more time with their family while still being productive. Homes in the future need to consider a HomeOffice setup since more people are opting to work from home.
9. Drone Supervision
With a huge shortage on working labour, construction companies are looking for new options that are less prone to errors and can be used as backup staff. With UAVs (Un-Manned Aerial Vehicles) and Drones specializing in just that, the AEC Industry might just adopt them for aerial photography, supervision and live relay feedback.
10. VR / AR Training
The Lockdown imposed on the country enabled people to start upskilling themselves. But there are still skills that can only be thought in person via practical training (example, welding) AR/VR tech enables companies to pre-train candidates online, before attempting on real instruments, in real settings. AR/VR is also popular in the architectural visualization community, and enabling training via the tech will be an added advantage.
We are adapting to social distancing, avoiding unnecessary human contact, and reducing travel. We probably won’t see people gathering at social events, stadiums, or even at the theatres for a while. The ones who still need to travel, prefer touching the least number of surfaces as possible, and also avoid public transport completely. This means, the homes are going to become their place for leisure, their office, and even their place to hang out. Our design priorities need to take this into consideration, and also learn to adopt new technologies that enable better options to achieve the collective goal.