The opening scenes of Ridley Scott’s “Bladerunner” delight our senses with a view into a futuristic, dense city skyline. It makes us wonder how this vision came to be and what forces helped shape it. This visionary fantasy and others we have seen in science fiction films, have long inspired architects to imagine differently. With a compulsion to drive us forward, architects have become drawn to expressive, fluidic shapes while leaving behind more static, traditional building forms. Advances in smart technology to automate building systems have become key to energy efficiency. As cities become intensified with density, we look at space differently and with a need to focus on the things we value rather than things we think we need. Climate change has become a dominant force shaping our design solutions through adaptive reuse and material choices to reinforce sustainability.
One with Nature
Sustainability is becoming a crucial aspect in design as environmental laws are continuously changing in favour of preserving and protecting our planet. One of the ways we do that is by incorporating fewer fossil fuels and more renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectricity. Many of which are already incorporated in a lot of architecture today. We are also seeing more living roofs and green spaces on single and multi-family residential properties. The more recent design element is vertical green spaces, where the plants will inhabit the side of the building and the top. New architecture will need to be able to structurally house the plant life and support it aesthetically.
Technology will have a huge part to play in futuristic design. Automated systems are getting more intelligent and being installed automatically into new condominiums and hotels. Futuristic homes are predicted to be fully wireless and off-grid, as soon as 2050.
Automatic lighting, automatic doors, and technology such as elevators have been around for a long time and essential in highly populated spaces like hotels and multi-family residential buildings. But as technology progresses more automated systems are being introduced. The prediction is that by 2050 there will be buildings that are fully wireless and off grid, making your Alexa look like a play toy. Artificial intelligence, which currently provokes much controversy, is already making headway in home design, machine learning and robotics that go beyond turning the lights on for you when you come home from work.
Minimalism and Smaller Spaces
It is hard to believe that Toronto apartments could get any smaller, but as the housing crisis persists the need for housing also grows. Minimalism has been a trend for a few years now so it is not surprising that it would be one of the main contributors for futuristic architecture. The clean lines and building elements make it not only visually appealing but functional while catering to the housing shortage. This idea also supports zero-waste design emphasizing a series of products and spaces that create little to no waste.
Fluidity and Motion
This ideology focusses on both exterior and interior spaces, melding social and functional concepts of a home to its structure, and closing the gap between its environments. Curves, infinite shapes, and wave like impressions cater not only to a futuristic look but also to sustainability. Solar powered glass can be molded and shaped in a way that the sun can be captured at any time of day. Fluidity is not bound by any definition, it is the designers right to express without boundaries, a free architectural approach.
Architecture is time encapsulated and still, it reflects who we are as humans. What we create next will be a doorway to our current way of life and how we decided to change history.