Food, drink, clothing, shelter, and sleep. These are the essential needs for every human being. The globe is under tremendous strain due to the unprecedented rate of human growth. Many large cities are expected to disappear due to flooding by 2030. Currently, 39% of carbon emissions worldwide are attributed to buildings (Embodied carbon, 2022). Since global warming is already happening, action must be taken. However, there are more consumptions as there are more individuals. There are more structures built. What then can we accomplish, and what does architecture’s future hold?

Architecture – The Past 

In order to analyze the future, one must go back into history. Traditionally, architecture was a thing that belonged to the common man. The people gauged an understanding of their local climate, geography and locally available materials to best make use of their available resources. That is why the traditional architecture of each region is so distinct. For example, the people of Himachal Pradesh in India use wood and stone layered together to form an earthquake resistant structure. As we move towards the south, we have the people of Madhya Pradesh. The various tribes of the area use rammed earth, mud mortar, bamboo and various other materials offered by the forest to construct their dwellings. Through the various wall paintings and structural differences, they represent their culture. 

The Future of Architecture Sustainability and Innovation in a Changing World-Sheet1
Korku tribe house Copyright_©
The Future of Architecture Sustainability and Innovation in a Changing World-Sheet2
Hadimba Devi temple- kath kuni architecture, Himachal Copyright_©Aditya Chache

As we see, there were many variations and a distinct style for each area that could be identified at a glance. Each style was created through generations of trial and error and curated in order to suit the preferences of that area. Whether it be the culture or climate, the locals had shaped their buildings into satisfying their needs. However, with the advent of globalization and the invention of new materials as well as progressing technology, the course of architecture has been changed. 

Architecture – The Present 

As urbanization started and more people moved to cities, it became pertinent to build fast. Concrete, steel and glass. These have become our new materials. With the advance of technology and development of many new plants, concrete has become quick and efficient, Due to its plasticity, it has also gained rapid interest amongst innovators that want to explore. The vertical rise of buildings became a necessity for the growing population in cities. These materials have become a go to for most of modern architecture. While ignoring the needs of the site topography, surroundings and climate, these materials have overtaken a majority of our buildings. 

The takeover of these materials has not just been limited to cites. It has spread like a virus creating what one could call characterless or forgettable architecture. The Himalayas which were once dependent solely on stone, wood and other local material that they had to build homes are now peppered with badly build brick and concrete houses that have no harmony with their older counterparts. They are bland with no distinct style. Rectangles upon rectangles are being built. But for what? The traditional sloped roof is replaced with a flat roof and shoddy plaster. The wood and stone that blended with the surrounding forests is a concrete box that stand out. Dreary and unpleasing.

On the other side we also have mega projects infrastructure like the al bahr tower with its dynamic façade that accounts for the sun patten and saves energy. We also have net zero buildings and incentives that have come up for constructing green buildings. Big campuses such as the CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad. In fact, there are also multiple firms that have been coming up in the recent decades dedicated to sustainability and net zero. 

Architecture – The Future 

The progress of buildings has been from that of local availability and shaping from need to the advance of technology and new inventions. The merging of countries, culture and people to create a new style where everything blends together until one is not differentiated from the other. It is unclear where architecture is headed next. It could lead to a rapid advance in technology to create never before seen buildings like we see in dystopian movies or the depletion in sand and other materials used to make concrete could lead to the invention of entirely different materials and forms. Maybe we will go back to out roots and explore traditional architecture to strengthen one’s culture. 

While it is not sure where architecture may head, it is important to keep in mind that we only have one planet and that is ours to save. It is important to build responsibly and keep the environment in mind. We need to take a step back and think before we build. 

References list: (n.d.). About Korku Tribe and House of Korku. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Jun. 2024].

Alvarez, L. (2022). Kath Kuni Architecture: Origin and Development. [online] AmazingArchitecture. Available at:

Eleuterio, A. (2023). Embodied carbon: What it is and how to tackle it. [online] GRESB. Available at: it/#:~:text=It%20defined%20construction%20thresholds%20for [Accessed 8 Jun. 2024].

World green building council (2019). Bringing embodied carbon upfront. [online] World Green Building Council. Available at:


A final-year architecture student, Harshita is a dreamer at heart. A travel aficionado and lover of stories, she believes that architecture is a tale that lies bare and unknowing to the world, waiting for its story to be told.