Probably the best part about a new year – aside from looking forward to the future, is reflecting on the past twelve months. In the world of architecture, that means taking stock of the biggest design trends. From real-time rendering to future cities, 2018 was certainly an innovative year! Here is a recap of the five of the most notable architectural trends of 2018.
Designing for Landscapes
In 2018, architects and designers focused on buildings that work with their natural surroundings – not against it. As part of the larger movement toward sustainability, designing for – and in consideration of – the landscape is a logical move. But designing for landscapes also helps provide relief from our digital world, where buildings and the land that surrounds them are a place to be present. As Norwegian architect Reiulf Ramstad said in an interview with website ArchDaily, “We, as architects, must try to understand the DNA of the place. It’s very important to go to the places where we make projects… they become chapters in your life.”
All About the Visuals
Sometimes an architectural trend isn’t about the end result. Instead, it’s about the process. Thanks to constantly evolving digital tools, how architects and designers are presenting their works has been taken to a whole new level. Tools such as real-time rendering, which was originally developed for video game design, produce finished videos of interior and exterior spaces in a fraction of the time traditional rendering takes. Even more, finished renderings are so realistic and immersive, clients and investors “touring” designs feel as if they are already there.
Homes: The New Farmland
Coming up with solutions to society’s biggest problems is a challenge architects and designers must tackle if we are to continue to coexist with the environment. As the planet’s population grows, more land will be covered in buildings and cities, leaving less land for agriculture. The solution? Build structures that serve both as homes and as farmland. Challenging the idea that food is grown outside the city limits, urban farming is a movement that encourages us to think beyond traditional gardening plots and consider all the places we can grow food. On roofs, balconies and walls both inside and outside. 2018 saw architecture go green – in more ways than one.
Mass Timber Taking Over
2018 saw the idea that mass timber could become the dominant construction material in the United States become more than just a far off dream. Thanks to the pairing of new technologies with centuries-old practices, mass timber is now a buzzword in the building industry. The material’s biggest draw is that it’s a sustainable alternative to concrete and steel. Estimates show an increase in its use could save up to 30 percent of global CO2 emissions because wood is a highly renewable resource with a low impact method of production.
Rise of the “City of the Future”
While the term “city of the future” has meant many things throughout the years, today’s future-city marries smart technology with green technology, creating cities that are specifically designed to be more efficient, more walkable, more community-oriented and – essentially – better than any city that currently exists. Such cities will produce their own energy from renewable resources, be either car free or utilize electric transportation and offer a myriad of smart tech such as driverless cars, auto-lighting and advanced waste management. And while all plans for a city of this kind are yet to be put into action, a true city of the future may be just around the corner with Norway’s Oslo Airport City set to be completed by 2022.