Visions of future architecture

Lunawood Architects’ Days introduced eleven architects from around the world to renewable Finnish forests and the secrets of sustainable Lunawood Thermowood. During their week in Finland the architects outlined together new visions of future architecture.

For the discussion on new visions, the building types were divided into three: residential, educational and commercial buildings. Although the purposes of these buildings varied, a very fundamental approach emerged as a guiding idea in architecture: The person, the user of the building, is in the spotlight of architecture. How to design a building that meets needs of the users, including changing needs of them, but still the design of the building will stand the test of time?

In the group work, the architecture of the future and the role of the architect sparked a lot of discussion

Adaptability of the floor plan

Whatever the purpose of the building is, it is largely a question of the floor plan. Spaces must communicate properly to function in the right balance in terms of privacy and common space. On the other hand, architecture is or could also be an answer to the complexity of learning from diversity; for example, by bringing kindergarten and seniors home in the same building. Socializing is necessary, but what kind of space and technology does it require if there is a need to link people from different cultures and countries. Or is it just a platform in the future with no physical architecture?

Large construction projects, such as commercial centers, easily redefine entire cities. They can bring new life to a certain area and also bring new services, such as transport connections. Such migration can also create cheap development with low-level design. One of the tasks of architecture is to save the human scale. As cities expand, architecture must control scale and see the relationship between buildings. And it’s not just about building a new one, it’s about renovating and getting the building back into use, for other or even multi-purpose.

In the architecture of the future, natural materials such as wood play an increasingly significant role

Must be greener

The reality of climate change and its prevention or slowing down puts the focus on energy and material efficiency in all phases of construction. It is very much a question of the technologies of the building, but also of the materials used. How to find the right balance in combining nature and technology that promotes well-being and social interaction.

With the acceleration of climate change and overpopulation in recent decades, the urgent need for new, more responsible and renewable building materials has grown. In the future, the question may turn more to the recycling of materials, including wood. There will be several material innovations promoting the circular economy – bio-based materials, but certainly the world’s oldest building material – wood – has its own important role.

With materials, it deals with its texture. Naturalness has been a trend, but it has been challenged by (cheap) copies. Naturalness is seen to continue in the future, as wood materials, for example, can offer uniqueness to any project because they are inherently unique. Finally, the question concerns the material itself – what is its origin, how is it produced, transported. How to maintain? In terms of sustainable architecture, it is important that the material is not made at the expense of nature and future generations.

© 30X40 Design Workshop. Long Studio is a barn-style architects' studio and home office in Maine, designed by 30X40 Design Workshop.

Home away from home

The Covid-19 pandemic shows that many people can work from home. However, especially after the Codiv-19 lockdown, there is a huge need for social interaction: joining forums and scenes, sharing professional skills. People don’t just want to sit behind a desk, they want to move around and visit different spaces and atmospheres. Public spaces must serve 24/7/365 and all in one place: communities, gym, office, hotel, shops, hospitality, cinema, going to work, etc. These spaces need a cozier expression to blur the divide between home and away from home.

Affair or service?

The role of the architect should also be examined. It is believed to change more than architecture itself by 2030. The role of an architect includes commitment to one’s own discipline. Now this commitment is starting to be hampered by the strong views and desires of the customers, often without overall control. Certain parts of the process are disrupted. In such cases, is the process about a service or an affair?

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