Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Designing for the Future

In a recent issue of Architectural Design, the authors ask if people would prefer to rely only on technology to adapt to shifting circumstances rather than alter their lifestyles to suit nature's limits. Ironically, we live in a time that is obsessed with both monolithic architecture experiments, and micro efficient lighting, heating and water technology. How do we square the micro with the macro in an increasing inter-connected world?

As we come to the realisation that the planet’s resources are indeed finite, how will these two contradictory desires manifest themselves? Can we build enormous tower block luxury hotels and casinos and still claim to care about the environmental impacts of our actions?

The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest free-standing structure in Dubai. What about design and buildings on a human scale that acknowledge the environment around them?

As buildings get taller and more energy and material intensive, it makes sense to return to the components that make up the built environment and to begin evaluating from the bottom up. Cultivating grassroots change and engaging professionals in design and architecture will be a key challenge for future development.

It remains to be seen how crowd sourcing design solutions for everything from toilets to taps will filter up towards a structural change in the way architects build our cities.

How will small innovations in design come to influence the design of large systems? In one hundred years, will we be living underground, in the sea or in the sky? How will our relationship with the natural world change in the future, and how can design help to improve our relationship with the natural environment? Creative suggestions are most welcome.

New Eco-tower planned for Singapore, by Architects TR Hamza & Yeang

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