Building and dwelling: New trends and avenues lifestyle
Design is playing a cross-cutting role as a driver and axis of wellbeing in architecture and interior design.
Technology has had an influence on timings in architecture, promoting shortened lead times. All over the world, we’re seeing constructions with a vision honed in on immediate problems, and social, cultural and economic trends that shift at dizzying speeds.
This constant acceleration has had an impact on the global context, and an influence on the definition of a new way of thinking, a new identity and new ways of living.
In 2021, digital experiences are becoming the norm and the potential for physical connection has lessened, and this new context is influencing the design and construction of spaces.
This prevailing uncertainty has done nothing to stop the analysts, researchers and media specialists from predicting and making inroads into the more plausible probabilities of how we will live and coexist in the immediate future.
In his recent book Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City, sociologist Richard Sennett explains how people leave traces of their concerns relating to a certain moment in history.
Their instincts, desires and ideals forge a constructive identity and way of life. The dimension (built and human) of a city and its living spaces will never reach full completion, because this is a living, constantly-evolving process.
Following in the wake of this multi-faceted transformation, we look at some design concepts that will almost certainly endure in the architecture and interior of the present and future
Outdoor gardens and vertical forests
New parks and vertical or horizontal gardens are emerging in cities, linked to new constructions. In particular, the transformative idea of green spaces which several architects have been developing for years.
Plus, urban gardens on roofs, in open spaces, on balconies and inside homes have become a must. This is linked on one hand to the pandemic and lockdown, and on the other to our new eating habits, prioritising locally-sourced proximity produce and giving a boost to growing our own food.
Stefano Boeri’s work is a prime example, turning entire cities into lush forests as he has done with the Bosco Verticale in Milan.
Meanwhile, in Madrid, the AZCA zone in the Castellana area is set to have an incredible garden space, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro + Bowman and b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos in collaboration with landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson.
This biophilic approach to architecture is showcased by the studio Snøhetta, which implements stunning internal and external green systems across all its projects.
Open networking spaces
To make environments healthier and promote safe distancing, universities and schools, hospitals and museums have opted for transparency, high ceilings and roofs, or extending shared indoor and outdoor spaces.
These centres are tackling this new era by implementing experimental hybrid educational models, which need to have spaces that suit this new way of interacting and moving around indoors.
This can be seen at the University of Montpellier, where BPA Architects used a lattice façade featuring the Krion® K-Life mineral compact to play on light and indoor shade.
Madrid’s Matadero presents a visual manifesto entitled The Hospital of the Future, promoted by Reinier de Graaf at studio OMA. This research takes an in-depth look at the influence of diseases on the evolution of cities, and new, increasingly digital and self-sufficient, hospital models.
Principles followed by Hospital Álvaro Cunqueiro in Vigo. Designed by architect Luis Vidal (Luis Vidal+Arquitectos), this hospital has already introduced smart building systems. Its shared areas and waiting rooms incorporate Porcelanosa Group materials.
The communal city
Over the past year, the need to rethink mobility and coexistence between people and public or private transport in the city has emerged. How we organise these new systems will influence the construction and reconstruction of sweeping areas and districts of all cities.
In spite of the global surge in bike use and the adoption of new, cleaner vehicles, experts in urban mobility such as Paul Priestman say that these changes will be slow to assimilate.
The various transportation options will coexist, and our new green awareness and health will eventually see us going for less polluting models. Frank Stephenson, the prestigious designer of Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and McLaren cars, committed himself to drone design many years ago, together with designing new infrastructures in architecture and urban city planning to make introducing new 100% eco-friendly, noise and pollution-free vehicles a possibility.
The countryside reborn
Bringing abandoned villages back to life and renovating rural buildings allow for new responsible enjoyment of the countryside. What’s more, prefabricated architecture has emerged as a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option for the rural environment.
Architectural studios such as OMA have carried out research into the countryside as a lifestyle option beyond the city. The book Countryside, Future puts forward, through expert reflections from around the world, a radical take on rural life.
This can be seen in Mas Garriga. In the midst of nature in Sant Andreu Salou (Girona), this fourteenth-century complex, renovated by CollGorgot Arquitectes in collaboration with Porcelanosa, is a prime example of this architectural trend.
Another building that represents this integration with nature is the Casa de la Roca in Valle Bravo, Mexico (studio Cadaval & Sola-Morales).As do the Wilkkehouse: prefabricated, transportable, modular cardboard houses insulated with sheep wool, giving us the potential to set up a home in nature in record time.
Note: This article has been drafted in collaboration with the IE Contemporary Design Trends laboratory, IE Design, Alejandra Díaz, Alejandra Moreno, Anurag Phalke, Bianca Brancchetti, Claudia Taveras, Claudia Tizón, Elizaveta Shavrova, Federica Caso, Gregoire Germain; Mae White, María José Heshiki, Miguel Larios, Myriam Barba, Nicholas Saye, Nicole Beltrán, Verus von Haeften, Yasmina Taher, Yoko Hwang.