There are plenty of application programs available in the market today with which laymen can design aesthetic homes for themselves. Although a knife in the back for many designers who go by different names, it serves the very important function of creating tasteful spaces for people who don’t have access to good designers. Having said that, every time an architect comes across such platforms, a question arises in their minds as to whether or not this profession has a future. Hence, there is an urgent need to establish the role of architecture going forward and also to ensure that the profession stays relevant.

Importance of Architecture

The physiological and psychological impact surroundings can have on a person is well established. The user’s perception of space is correlated with the quality of planning and design. Hence it may seem like construction and designing needs to be predominantly handled by trained professionals who understand the impact their work has on its users and surroundings. However, the fact remains that only about 5% of the total construction today is done under the supervision of an architect. Architecture is often tagged as an aesthetic bonus, and removing this stigma and spreading awareness about the importance of this profession is an important step towards making a change in the community. Architects becoming developers is a move that can speed up this process by means of increasing presence and improving visibility.

Changing World

Depleting natural resources, increased risk of calamities, growing population density, and pollution are factors that would greatly influence the architecture of the future. Cities are growing by the minute, and precious land is being used to accommodate expansion. This gives rise to new issues in the form of pollution, which stem from an increased dependency on vehicles, and also the risk of flooding. Elevators, as an invention, helped solve these problems by opening up the possibility of going vertical. This saved a lot of land and reduced the need for vehicles. But this solution wasn’t without its share of problems. In tall structures, people are closely arranged in small boxes, which brings about a sense of congestion and social deprivation. Hence there is a need for a new model that can sustainably accommodate the growth. Designers have proposed the idea of creating planned public structures within which individuals may develop. These models are planned in such a way that there is little to no use for vehicles. The structure must resist natural calamities and needs to be sustainable in terms of materials used, energy consumption, carbon footprint, etc.

Where is Architecture Headed? - Sheet1
Cities are expanding in all possible directions_©www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/07/11/the-50-most-densely-populated-cities-in-the-world/39664259/

Collaborating outside the Field

Considering the gravity and scale of the task at hand, it is important to decentralize the process of designing spaces and include experts from different fields. Collaborating with other fields could help expand knowledge as well as spread awareness about the profession as being more than just art. Architects need to lead the change by innovating and revolutionizing with the help of experts in the field of psychology, economics, ecology, law enforcement, and so on. BIM (Building Information Modeling), as a tool, will be a major facilitator of this process. Participants can have a better understanding of the project while making their contributions to the model. The involvement of the local civic body and users of the space is equally important to the success of any public project. 

 

Where is Architecture Headed? - Sheet2
BIM can facilitate collaboration with other fields_©continuingeducation.bnpmedia.com/courses/vectorworks-inc/building-information-modeling-bim-as-an-investment/

Role of Technology 

The evolution of architecture from being a consultancy service that gets paid for their time to being a significant contributor to the client’s business will be facilitated by how well the architectural community adapts to technological growth. Technology, like virtual reality, can be used to give the client a detailed view of what the architect proposes to create. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help reduce or even eliminate the time spent on making drawings and executing the design at the site with help from all the data that have been stored over the years, leaving no room for manual error. The time thus saved may be used to explore, research, and innovate. Technology may also be used by Civic bodies and the public to understand the direct impact of proposed projects with the help of real-time simulations. 

Virtual Reality to experience spaces_©www.mythic-vr.com/experience-1

Conclusion

Architecture is evolving in its goals and functioning. The architects of tomorrow will be focused on adding value to real estate, providing optimal design solutions and energy-saving concepts. The role of architecture in society has gained prominence, and the architectural community needs to be more efficient and competitive than before. It is transforming into a multidisciplinary team game, and as trained professionals, architects need to lead this movement from the front. Many tasks will be taken over by technology, which will come with its pros and cons. Awareness of these changes is paramount for practitioners and students of architecture to be one step ahead of the game.

References:

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Author

Avneeth Premarajan is a practicing Architect and an ardent “student” of Architecture. He is intrigued by concepts, ideas, philosophy, evolution and geography of design. He is more than willing to give up a few hours of day-dreaming to write about his thoughts.

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