Like any creative industry, the field of architecture is constantly evolving. Trends and best practices are forever being updated, revised and revamped as new technology, fresh ideas and innovative leaders burst onto the scene. So, what’s next? Check out these three up-and-coming trends destined to sweep the industry soon.
- 3D printing will be used as a production technique
While many sectors are still trying to figure out how 3D printing – the new technology that allows users to create multi-dimensional objects from a digitally-created image – can benefit their business practices, architects have already started integrating the technique into their work. MIPIM explained that industry professionals are going beyond simply creating small-scale models through 3D printing – they’re manufacturing essential building blocks, and in some cases, entire structures.
The source explained that, while this trend has yet to reach mainstream firms, those in the field willing to experiment have achieved notable success. In California, for example, a group of architects used the technology to build a viable earthquake-proof column. Constructing a single building block of such strength is impressive, but Gizmag pointed to a Chinese architectural organization, Winsun, as truly taking 3D printing to the next level.
According to the source, Winsun exclusively used 3D-printed building materials to construct 10 houses in one 24-hour period. Not only were these compact structures safe for people to live in, but each residence cost less than $5,000 to create. The high-efficiency and low cost of 3D printing has many in the industry looking to it as the future of low-income housing construction.
- Mid-century modern will experience a comeback
What’s old may soon feel like new again. According to Curbed, the mid-century modern trend is already visible through its resurgence in popular media. It’s overwhelmingly obvious in television shows like Mad Men, a program set in the 1950s and ’60s, that has gained attention for its historically accurate aesthetics, particularly in terms of clothing and architecture. The movement has been appearing in far subtler ways as well, explained the source. For example, many talk show sets and big-name restaurants are currently drawing inspiration from the modern-yet-vintage spirit of this trend.
Domain explained that mid-century modern architecture, which was created between 1933 and 1965, focuses on creating harmony between indoor and outdoor spaces. Natural light is an important factor in this balance, which is why many industry professionals inspired by this trend use large windows and transitional areas, like patios, to promote an architectural flow.
- Buildings will be energy efficient as a rule
Not surprisingly, future structures will be created with the environment in mind. While architecture has been moving in this direction for years, green and efficient building practices will soon be the industry standard rather than unique exceptions. According to MIPIM, most new structures will feature airtight construction, solar and wind-fueled energy systems and upgraded insulation. Additionally, more architects are designing buildings with water conservancy in mind, especially in areas experiencing droughts. Design elements like graywater recycling and low-flow toilets are continuing to gain popularity, as are landscaping plans that require little or no water to maintain.
GB&D reported that many architects are experimenting with ways to add green areas to otherwise urban or industrial spaces as another measure of environmental awareness. Industry professionals are installing grassy plots onto city roofs. In addition to adding aesthetically interesting natural layers to cityscapes, these small oases have numerous other benefits.
“We should be able to measure water retention, energy savings, a reduced heat island effect, and a healthier environment overall,” Landscape architect David Yocca told GB&D in reference to green roofs.