Trends are more than what’s “hot” and what’s “not.” They are a reflection of our needs, wants and ideas. Many of today’s architectural trends stem from calls to action. The things we – as a society – need to change if we want to move forward into a more sustainable, more holistic future. Here are four of 2018’s biggest trends.

No Boundaries

Cities are becoming more crowded, but architects and designers are coming up with unique solutions to the problem. Rigid boundaries between houses, public spaces and industrial areas are beginning to dissolve, minimizing transportation needs and maximizing the usability of space. By making our private and public spaces multiuse, redundancies – which take up precious square footage and resources – become a thing of the past.

   (Barcelona Superblocks, Courtesy of Barcelona Architecture Walks)

(Barcelona Superblocks, Courtesy of Barcelona Architecture Walks)

This evolution of space also applies inside the home, with the use of outdoor spaces for everyday living becoming more prevalent. Outdoor kitchens and living rooms extend living space and blur the boundary between interior and exterior.

Eco-Friendly Everything

As sustainability continues to grow from a trend to a necessity, homes and buildings will no longer have eco-friendly features – they’ll be eco-friendly inside and out. Green rooftops and vertical gardens are on the rise, and Milan’s Bosco Verticale serves as a model for the new highrise. With thousands of trees, shrubs and perennials planted on cantilevered terraces, the set of residential towers were designed to reduce smog and produce oxygen.

 (Bosco Verticale by Boeri Studio, Courtesy of Curbed)

(Bosco Verticale by Boeri Studio, Courtesy of Curbed)

But it’s about more than planting trees. Those in the construction industry have been tasked with the challenge of creating buildings that help rather than hurt the planet. The use of recycled and natural materials is a huge part of the equation. Natural stonework, rammed earth and timbers are current trends that not only look beautiful, but reduce the production of harmful materials.

Changing Role of the Architect

A recent study commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects questioned the role of the architect in the future, positing that by 2025 the profession could look radically different. Already, architectural firms are holding back from using the word “architect” in their company names. Instead, words like “design” or “studio” are part of the branding as companies cast a wider net – trying to reach more diverse markets such as lighting, interiors, products, installation and community consultation.

 (Courtesy of Pixabay)

(Courtesy of Pixabay)

This shift plays into another changing aspect of the design world – collaboration. More and more, collectives rather than individuals are creating buildings. The innovative nature of today’s buildings calls for the coming together of specialists from multiple fields.

Bold Use of Colour

While so many of today’s design trends are more focused on the world’s big problems – the environment, a growing population, the rapidly changing needs of both clients and designers, some trends still stem from the fact that architecture is largely an aesthetic art form. And those incorporating bold colour into new projects want to make sure it stays that way. While so many new buildings feature white and neutral exterior palettes, there are still a few buildings that prove colour hasn’t gone anywhere.

 (Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art by Jim Olsen, Courtesy of Wikipedia)

(Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art by Jim Olsen, Courtesy of Wikipedia)

From multi-coloured exteriors to a different hue for every interior surface – floors and ceilings included, colour is a way to both express and elicit human emotion.