Big Changes Are on the Horizon
2023 is here, and with it come new trends in the architectural and engineering fields that professionals should be aware of. Building design and technology have been evolving in ways never conceived before, and in the coming years, they’re likely to have a greater and greater presence. Those wishing to remain competitive will need to pay attention to these oncoming trends.
In this article, we’ll explore new building designs and philosophies, software and physical tech, and where the market is likely to shift in the coming years.
Sustainability & Green Design
We’ve watched green design slowly inch its way into practicality for well over a decade now. At one point, these were little more than pods with solar panels, but now an entire profession has sprouted from these concepts, and enormous companies like Amazon are even designing their new headquarters with green design in mind.
This trend is driven by increasing concerns about climate change and the desire to reduce the environmental impact that buildings impose and lessen global emissions.
There are several ways that architects and engineers can incorporate sustainability into their designs. For example, they can use materials that are recycled or sustainably sourced, design buildings that use less energy, and incorporate features such as green roofs and rainwater harvesting systems.
Technology & Automation
A key tool architects and engineers will need to become well acquainted with is Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM is software that creates a 3D model of a building that allows designers to test vital infrastructure before construction even starts. Using green design as an example, architects and engineers can utilize BIM to virtually place solar panels and find the location where they can generate the most electricity, given weather patterns and the primary position of the sun for most of the year.
In addition to BIM, technology will continue to play a greater part in building design and construction. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of new tools and software that can help architects and engineers streamline their workflows and improve efficiency.
For example, 3D printing has become dramatically easier to take advantage of in a short amount of time. Architects and engineers can now easily print physical copies of their building designs to help investors and clients visualize the end product. We may also see 3D printers in construction in the near future, with builders using on-site 3D printers to create building components on the fly.
Another piece of relatively new technology is the use of drones which allow builders to survey sites for inspections. Drones allow for the easy gathering of high-resolution images and data about a construction site, which can be used to create accurate maps and models or to point out problems that require immediate fixing.
Increased Use of Prefabrication & Modular Construction
Prefabrication and modular construction are expected to continue gaining popularity in the architectural and engineering fields in 2023. These methods involve the construction of building components off-site, then shipping them and assembling them on-site.
One key advantage of prefabrication and modular construction is that they can help reduce construction times and costs. It takes a construction team longer to build four walls to a building than it does for an off-site crew to build walls and nothing but walls for shipping. It also allows for more precise construction since the building components are made in a controlled environment.
Greater Emphasis on Safety & Security
Covid made working from home a normal practice, and with many companies still allowing their employees to work outside the office, it would behoove builders to take safety and security into consideration. If residents are spending 8-10 additional hours every day at their homes, architects and engineers will need to consider a range of factors when designing buildings, including fire safety, structural stability, and cybersecurity.
One way to address these issues is through the use of advanced technologies such as smart building systems. These systems can help monitor and control various aspects of a building, such as lighting, HVAC, and security.
Growing Demand for Mixed-use & Multifamily Housing
Another trend to watch in the architectural and engineering fields is the growing demand for mixed-use and multi-family housing like apartments, duplexes, and townhomes. This trend is driven by a variety of factors, including the increasing urbanization of the world’s population and the desire for more affordable living spaces.
Mixed-use buildings, which combine residential, commercial, and other uses in a single structure, can help create more vibrant and livable communities, something that has since disappeared in the wake of people seeking out more digital connections. While something of an extreme example, the Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur will mix offices spaces, living spaces, and a mall.
As we look ahead to 2023, the trends in the architectural and engineering fields are clear:
- A wider implementation of sustainability and green design
- Increases in the implementation of technology
- Prefabrication and modular building design
- An emphasis on safety and security
- And a greater demand for mixed-use and multi-family housing
To stay competitive in this rapidly evolving industry, it’s vital to stay up-to-date on these trends and to be open to adopting new technologies and approaches. The future of building design is looking to be an interesting, if challenging one; perhaps the greatest shift we’ve seen in recent history of the industry.