5 Innovative Architectural Trends to Watch for in 2015

1. 3D Printing… Of Actual Buildings

  • 3D-modelling is emerging as one of the key innovative architectural trends to watch for in 2015. Skanska and Foster + Partners have created the first 3D concrete printing robot. ArchDaily also reports that a team of California based designers has created a earthquake-proof column using a 3D printer.
  • China based Winsun recently produced 10 houses in 24 hours using 3D printing.
  • Hyperlocal Affordable Housing using 3D printing.
  • In Amsterdam designers are using 3D printing to build a classic and intricate canal house.

2. Efficiency in Homes and Buildings

  • Passive Homes and buildings are becoming mainstream. Improved insulation, airtight buildings, solar, wind and other renewable energy, and strategically placed windows/shades are all part of most buildings being built. New water saving techniques are evolving out of areas that have a high risk of drought. Low flow toilets, graywater recycling, drought tolerant landscaping are very popular right now.
  • Design firm HOK hosts internal competitions to push their designers to come up with “Net-Zero” concepts. The first place project was a building design in Los Angeles called SoLAr (see picture featured) after the aesthetically pleasing photovoltaic cells placed on one side of the building.
  • Raised floors in office buildings cost more up front but allow more comfortable and adaptable space for occupants.

3. Glass Inside and Out

  • Glass from floor to ceiling on the outside of buildings and in between offices has never been more popular. The material transmits natural light, natural heat, is aesthetically pleasing, and creates comfortable living and working conditions.
  • One firm, “Glass for Europe” has exciting new technology including: “A transparent metallic coating reflects heat back into the room rather than allowing it to escape through the windows.” They also have self-cleaning glass.
  • Design firm Gensler’s 2015 forecasts new forms of glass on the inside and the outside of projects. The material looks great from the outside and feels great for workers and residents alike.

4. Extras are Back in Residential

  • With the world economy out of the doldrums, designing for relaxation is back according to Alan Brown Developments out of the UK. High end bathrooms and spas are in vogue and in the US 50% of new builds feature whirlpool baths. Health conscious designs with natural and non-toxic materials in finishes to reduce health problems are popular. Outdoor personal paradise spaces with landscaping, outdoor kitchens and dining, fire-pits, pools and hot tubs, lighting will be on the rise. Energy efficient investments that save energy in the long run will be at a level like never before. Flexible homes to accommodate “Boom-a-rang” kids seem to be here to stay (literally and figuratively) and many elderly family members live with their younger family. Flexible floor plans with separate entrances can be a useful design feature that are also used for potential rentals.

5. Big Data and Analytics

  • With the massive amounts of data that are now being collected architects will be challenged with how to translate the information into design and better building management systems treating the building more like a living organism that needs constant monitoring. “Big data remains an important enabler for this trend, but Gartner says the focus needs to shift to thinking about big questions and answers first and big data second — the value is in the answers, not the data.”
  • Big Data & Open Data can boost turnover through a better understanding of clients and properties. Visit this page to discover the MIPIM 2015 conference on this issue.

Austin DIAS

Austin Dias works with investors, developers, tenants and landlords to reach their real estate objectives. He is currently enrolled in the University of San Diego Master of Real Estate program and he is an official curator and blogger for MIPIMWorld.

Top image via IM_photo


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