It may seem early in the year to try to identify the architectural trends that will characterize 2014; however, at Architectural Alliance Incorporated we feel ready and able to make some predictions about emerging architectural trends. These predictions are based on the momentum of various trends from 2013 and prior as well as the overall design preferences currently pervading society. We are excited about these trends because without exception they are state-of-the-art, feature great use of technology, space, and resources and contribute toward a more appealing, positive future.
Eco and Earth Friendly
One great emerging trend we’re seeing for 2014 is an even greater focus on eco-friendly, Earth-healthy design. Buildings that embody this aesthetic often feature renewable energy such as solar paneling. They are also constructed of a high proportion of renewable resources and are frequently built and structured in such a way as to maximize energy efficiency. They will also emphasize things such as daylight and natural lighting, fresh air, and maximum space utilization.
Pedestrian Friendly – Buildings and neighborhoods are also getting more pedestrian friendly. A greater emphasis is being placed on creating spaces such as ground floor retail shops and amenities that can easily be accessed by people on foot without the need to drive and park. These spaces are cropping up in the bottom of commercial buildings, apartment and residential buildings, and even parking garages. Advancements in insulation and related technologies are allowing even disparate business and social entities to coexist without disturbing each other.
Modular and Prefabricated Designs – Once scorned as cheap and poorly constructed, more and more companies and individual homeowners alike are radically changing their minds about modular, prefabricated buildings and homes. New advancements in design and technology are allowing these structures to be built quickly and cost-effectively without sacrificing quality or visual appeal.
Converted and Reused Spaces – As part of the overall trend of environmental conservation as well as renewed interest in economical, cost-effective solutions, more and more businesses and homes are being converted from existing spaces rather than built from the ground up. This includes repurposing buildings for new, unforeseen uses. This results in unique new buildings that quickly become differentiated from their peers and widely-discussed by the community.
Flexible Floor Plans – As more and more businesses express a desire for unconventional work spaces, and as more and more homeowners are likewise requesting spaces for niche hobbies and activities, architects are responding with flexible floor plans. These floor plans can easily be modified to suit any number of tastes and purposes with movable portions, sliding doors, and open spaces.
Healthier Home Design – By now everyone has heard of the potential dangers of lead paint and asbestos roofing and siding. However, many current trends are taking that one step further by also eschewing other chemical additives in paint and relying less heavily on plastics, wood laminates, and glues that produces fumes.
Weather and Environment Resistant Structures – In the wake of so many high profile hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and blizzards in the past decade many people are turning to architects to design buildings that are better able to resist these weather phenomena. With advances in design and technology more and more people are also choosing to build in previously unsuitable environments such as low lying coastal areas.
Universal Accessibility – For years the chicest homes were built with steep, often spiral, staircases, high cabinets, and relatively narrow hallways. That was fine for young and middle-aged adults, but less child and elderly friendly. Current trends are reversing that and we’re seeing beautifully designed homes that are safe and suitable for people of all ages and health levels.
Indoor/Outdoor Spaces – With the overall trend toward nature and natural lifestyles, 2014 will see an even larger emphasis placed on architectural features that seamlessly incorporate indoor/outdoor spaces. These include more sliding doors, patios, and balconies, but also functional outdoor spaces where people can easily gather, cook, and play often with built-in sinks and grills.
Biomimicry – One of the coolest and most sophisticated design trends in 2014 is biomimicry. This involves designing buildings and homes that mimic a feature of nature to solve a problem such as how to be more energy efficient, structurally strong, or effective at utilizing natural light. These state-of-the-art buildings also tend to be very eco-friendly and eye-catching.
We think that these 10 emerging architectural trends will only pick up steam and intensify as 2014 progresses. Our hunch is that these are truly the trends of the future and that they will be with us for several years to come. We are excited to see if we are correct and even more excited for society to reap the rewards these trends promise.