Building the Future: How to Keep Up With the Latest Architectural Trends
Architectural trends may not move as fast as, say, fashion or food trends. However, when they do move, they tend to make strong statements, and it is vital to keep up with them to satisfy your clients and attract investors.
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The daily wave of online content on different types of architecture and their trends can be overwhelming.
Don’t worry. We’ll show you how to filter it.
Before we dive in, here are some stats to get you warmed up:
- 35% of architecture firms have seen an uptick in the residential sector.
- 90% of contractors in the US worry about a labor shortage.
- The construction industry represents a jaw-dropping 4.1% of the total GDP of the US. (Statista)
- 21% of contractors state that they have been more selective about the jobs/customers they accept since the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that, here are five ways to discover the latest architectural trends.
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for engaging with new trends in architecture.
The ability to follow influencers across the globe is one of the most effective ways of staying up-to-date on the latest trends in the building industry without spending a cent.
For example, thousands of Instagram accounts are dedicated to users creating a following based on architectural design. More than anything, these are insights into what people want to see in the buildings of tomorrow.
Social media has made consumers more engaged in architecture than ever, depicting the field as not only practical, but aesthetic, symbolic, and innovative.
Such interactions are shaping trends faster than ever. Hence, understanding what people are looking for will help architects create buildings that cater to the market’s preferences.
Blogs are the next most easily accessible source on the web on the latest architecture trends.
Much can be found through articles, slideshows, and news releases that are published weekly, if not daily.
It’s always a good idea to follow the most well-known blogs, such as ArchDaily. However, it’s also worth delving into more targeted sites focused on topics such as sustainable buildings and region-specific design. Some examples of these would be InHabitat, Green Building Solutions, and Coffee With an Architect.
These will give you unique interpretations of the trends that are pushing the envelope in what can be achieved in design.
The biggest struggle with this alternative is finding the right sources. Take the extra time to research sites that are experts in their field, whose information is reliable and pertinent to your business.
Magazines are similar to blogs in a lot of ways. Both incorporate long-form content, a selection of visual references, and insights from industry experts.
Naturally, blogs are more accessible and usually updated faster thanks to the internet.
But the beauty of architecture magazines is that they offer a highly curated collection of interviews and articles that can take weeks or even months to prepare.
While blogs emphasize readability and timeliness, magazines focus on delving deep into critical analyses of architectural trends. These are often based on distinguished primary sources.
Furthermore, magazines offer a snapshot of an entire season that allows you to evaluate long-term trends with greater perspective.
In sum, blogs and magazines should be analyzed together to arm you with timely news and curated insight, as well as an understanding of short-term and long-term developments in architecture.
It’s important to pay attention to what other architectural firms are doing, and competitions are an easy way of keeping track. This is an excellent way of seeing trends come to life.
This is all the truer because of the desire of participants to impress and innovate, drawing not just on project requirements but on instinct and unique knowledge.
Large public commissions often look for such concepts, preferring to ground the project in reality through the latter stages of refinements rather than in the initial design itself.
Jørn Utzon’s submission in the international design competition for the Sydney Opera House is an excellent example of this. He won not for the technical impressiveness of his proposal, but for its creativity and expressionism.
Market research reports are the best way of understanding architectural trends in quantitative terms.
The reports need not even be centered around architecture to be useful. In fact, keeping an eye on developments in other fields are often indicative of broader trends that will create changes in the AEC industry.
For example, one of the most important areas architects should be studying is psychographics of mood, values, and situation.
Researching the customer demographics of your local region is no longer enough. It is necessary to interpret evolving social and aesthetic markers and incorporate them into your concept designs.
This is already taking hold of architectural rendering, as photorealistic visualization has transcended the medium to a near cinematic art, capturing a structure’s atmosphere and higher purpose. Emotional forecasting is one of the things that will set the best architectural firms apart from the rest.
Other key factors to watch out for in market research reports are economic planning and sustainability.
More than 50% of the population currently lives in cities, but this figure is expected to rise to 75% by 2040. Sustainable housing design will create many opportunities for lasting trends in the near future.
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