Saving our planet is a cause that requires immediate attention from all industries, architecture and landscaping included. Luckily, environmentalists, designers and architects joined their forces in figuring out the best ways to green up our everyday life. In order for architectural trends to work, they need to be functional, stylish and fun. Eco-friendly design is posing a serious challenge for many traditional designs, but if we keep pushing green trends, they will pay off big. Here are just some of the trends emerging or getting stronger today.
This is not a new trend, but it certainly managed to shift the landscape of urban areas. Green roofs covered in vegetation not only provide better aesthetic appeal but also reduce the energy consumption of any building. However, designing these roofs is not an easy task, since it doesn’t just involve some weeds growing above our workspaces or living rooms. Well-designed green roofs involve drainage, irrigation, root barriers and waterproof membranes.
This is probably the most exciting architectural and design trend in the recent past. The development of living materials refers to biological compounds that have growing properties. Some of the materials we can expect to hit full-scale production soon are building materials that consist of bacteria and fungi. One invention the world is still waiting for is self-mending concrete saturated with bacteria which can bind the materials around it into a new compound form. This material will penetrate and grow in the pores of the concrete and improve its strength and durability.
Reused shipping containers
For decades, old shipping containers have been nothing but boxes that rust and collect dust at ports. But not anymore. One of the growing trends involves recycling these containers and using them as building blocks for sustainable and affordable housing and business spaces. Thanks to their blank-canvas look, it’s possible to apply some very interesting design solutions to container buildings and units. Also, they can get equipped with solar power and other energy-efficient fixtures and utilities very easily, which can further reduce energy consumption and boost the sustainability of these versatile units.
Lighting is often a neglected but crucial part of every space—commercial, residential and public. To boost safety and functionality, some spaces like streets, subways and warehouses need to have constant access to illumination which can produce tons of pollution and energy waste. Other buildings like sports arenas usually provide televised programs and live audiences which means they need to be illuminated with harsh lighting that traditionally wastes a lot of energy and requires extra maintenance. But thanks to ever-improving LED technology, architects and designers can have proper lighting for every sport arena without unnecessary maintenance and energy waste costs. The latest generation of optical and electrical components is what contributes to their high energy efficiency.
Both designers and architects have a goal to bring urban construction and deconstruction on the path of least resistance. In order to make the most out of available sources, it’s possible to leave deconstructed materials for reuse. This practice reduces costs and the carbon footprint of transport to recycling centers or dumps. Proper resource management is crucial in saving money and time in both the short and long terms. Condemned and abandoned buildings can either be reused or turned into public spaces like parks and playgrounds. Recourse management will continue to be a tool used by planners and architects long into the future.
People living in big cities are constantly looking for ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, and one way they can do that is by growing their own food. This strategy is obviously not possible for every resident, but those that can embark on an urban agriculture path can grow at least some of their food at home. Since access to space for gardens is difficult to find in densely inhabited cities, rooftops can be used for this (if the building meets construction requirements and weight restrictions). Many buildings today are retrofitted to support the extra weight of soil since rooftop gardens became a popular selling feature. Both new and old construction and both investors and buyers can benefit from urban gardens.
Kids growing up with spaces that promote sustainability and teach them about green energy can provide them with the necessary knowledge and habits they can use in the future. There are many spaces that are trying to keep children entertained and education and most of them provide kids and students with hands-on activities that concern environmental sustainability. They also promote a sense of discovery and boost the opportunities for education by surrounding the subjects with greenery and other woodland biomes. Community awareness and innovation combined with sustainable landscape architecture can change the habits of future generations.
Hopefully, these new trends will become the norm when it comes to construction, deconstruction and design. If that happens, we will have a green future to look forward to and many innovations in the field of architecture and design.
Chloe is a stay-at-home mom by day and author by night. Her passions are interior design, organizing, and topics related to green living. She is also editor-in-chief of Smooth Decorator. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world and take some stunning photographs of beautiful places. Besides all this, she enjoys drinking coffee and reading a beautiful book from time to time.