Member Insights by Kristen Payne – FTCH
What is it that is shaping the world around us right now? Everyone knows that sustainability and technology are integral parts to architecture these days so, I’m not going to write yet another article about how those two are influencing design. Those are the obvious ones that are becoming less of an option and more of a necessity in our industry and lives. So what are the actual underlying trends? The things that play a role – but may be less obvious – are what we incorporate into our designs which we wouldn’t have thought about 15 years ago.
- Going local: Now you might ask, “Kristen, doesn’t that fall under sustainability?” Hear me out – it’s not only materials I’m referencing. Not only is it becoming a key factor to use surrounding resources, but also looking at the surrounding architecture. People used to want “global” designs, something that stood out (even out of place) from the neighborhood. Now people see how architecture can build on and improve the local neighborhood and want buildings that fit the bill. While reused materials will continue its upward trend, reusing buildings is also increasing. Consumers and designers have a greater appreciation than ever before for historical architecture and what was old becoming new again.
- Being flexible: The open office concept is taking over and people are wanting to implement it everywhere. But we are beginning to see the disadvantages that also come with it. Working from home is on the rise and will continue to grow – so the need for flexible spaces is going to shape how we work, shop and live. With open offices, the ability to work collaboratively becomes easy. However, with this comes many issues of privacy and noise, and this is where flexible spaces shine. Retailers are even moving to wider aisles and lower or open shelves, and restaurants offer more seating arrangements than before. There’s a balance that comes with flexible spaces and designers are going to strive to reach that balance, giving spaces multiple purposes. Consider even putting in a few rooms with doors that shut, too.
- Locking it up: I dislike that this is a factor at all, but the reality is that everyone is trying to make their buildings safer and more secure. Whether it’s increasing sight lines or improving the structural integrity of the building, it is an issue that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Schools are even starting to revise the way visitors enter their buildings, ensuring that everyone checks in or enters through a secured entrance. Safety and security is shaping how we design buildings and it’s only going to improve for the end user.
I don’t believe there’s any doubt that sustainability and technology will continue to shape architecture. However, security, flexible spaces and the appreciation of the past are on the rise and probably three things that you would have thought are shaping architecture today. These factors are only going to become more popular and is becoming the framework of what the consumer wants.
Kristen Payne is an Architectural Designer at FTCH.