“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space” said esteemed architect Mies van der Rohe. These ten emergent architectural trends for 2016 cast a spotlight on the will of this particular epoch.
First and foremost, architects accept the urgent necessity to forge new and sustainable methods of eco-friendly construction. This is in response to the scientific facts on climate change and the worldwide imperative to take action to reduce carbon levels.
Low emissions and reduced running costs are the goal of all environmentally conscious developers. Renewable energy from natural sources, will play an ongoing significant role in homes and buildings and has the great advantage of never running out. The German Reichstag is a fine example, with 80% of its power generated internally. Near zero-energy is now an established EU target for all new buildings by 2021.
The only way is up?
Vertical development is increasing as populations continue to grow. Ground space is required to support food production and allow for recreation, nature and wildlife. Pollution and commuting are both reduced and much energy is saved. One of the ambitious projects of this type is seen in China with the Shanghai Tower.
Biophilic design concentrates on the good health of inhabitants. Anywhere that you live and work should provide be positive and life enhancing. Horatio’s Garden, attached to the spinal unit of an English hospital, is an outdoor site for patients recovering from long-term injury to connect with nature and has proved immensely beneficial.
Indoors and Outdoors
A merging of the boundaries between indoors and out is one of the elements of biophilic philosophy. A simple way to bring this about is to install bigger windows or glass doors. With breakthrough developments in transparent solar panels, photovoltaic glass is a vast future energy source.
The traditional notion that each room has a particular function is being relaxed. Less clear definition allows for a change of use without a costly rebuild or a move. Family structure is changing and more communal style living fits a flexible layout.
Nowhere is innovation more rapid than in advancement of Wi-Fi technology, data sensors and the internet of things. With the remote use of a smartphone or a tablet, you can already come home to a warm, lit house and this is just the beginning of this exciting trend.
With land at a premium, architects are turning to the water with some professing that entire amphibious cities could be seen in time to come. One such vision is Vincent Callebaut’s Lilypad concept. This self-sustaining floating ecopolis would house 50,000 hypothetical climate refugees.
Roof gardens and walls
Growing plants on hitherto bare and unused surfaces is a brilliant way to improve the quality of the air, increase photosynthesis and provide food. Architects also appreciate the insulating qualities and aesthetic delights of green rooves and walls.
Previously used materials of all kinds from bricks to stones and timbers dramatically reduce the environmental impact of all new builds. Recycling is here to stay.
Already a revolution in the arts, crowd-funded design has taken off in architecture with projects like pedestrian bridges and public swimming pools. Kickstarter campaigns allow you to have a direct influence on your own environs.
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