We like to think of trends as being an industry’s own set of resolutions, and with the New Year right around the corner, what better time to look at what’s in store for architecture. With big picture ideas like adjusting to post-covid societal shifts, accommodating diverse needs and tackling more complex projects, Keng-Fu Lo of Chain10 looks to 2022 with recent architectural trends he expects will reverberate in the coming months.
The Home Gets Greener
There’s a wealth of studies that show how, outside of looking beautiful, live plants can improve concentration, reduce stress levels and improve air quality, all things everyone wants going into the New Year.
“Because of COVID-19, people are looking for a semblance of nature in their homes. Using natural materials will infuse the space with an organic aura and keep others grounded,” Lo says.
It doesn’t have to just stick to plants, though. The incorporation of organic woods and local rocks can also help in bringing home occupants closer to nature. And they help cut back on any VOCs that might’ve made it in with manmade décor.
Let the Sun In
Natural light has the ability to support the body’s circadian system, enhance productivity, support good sleep quality and provide appropriate visual acuity. With time spent at home on the rise during the pandemic, architects must consider more than ever how to invite in natural light for occupant wellbeing and to create a connection to the outside world.
Large surrounding windows and wide skylights can provide a little bit of warmth in more ways than one, and help maintain a healthy relationship with the outside environment and enhanced personal health. However, where this isn’t possible, the right lighting can make all the difference in the home.
Inclusivity and Flexibility
Hybrid and remote work has shown no signs of letting up any time soon, which means more homeowners will be looking for flexible spaces in the home for 2022.
The American Society of Interior Designers finds that: “Currently, 20 percent of the American population is living in a multigenerational household, compared to 12 percent in 1980, and demand for multigenerational housing accommodations vaulted in popularity, from 41 percent in 2019 to 54 percent in 2020.” With this visible increase, home workspace designs will need to consider each generation – Generation Alpha and up – of students and workers within the home.
“We should work to create work spaces in homes that fit the needs of all kinds of people of different ages and styles and think holistically about the way that space complements and enriches the more traditional office environments/working experience,” Lo notes.
‘Carchitecture’ Creates a More Efficient Garage
The garage is an often-overlooked space in the home, but 2022 looks to be its shining year. Architects are beginning to gradually expose the purpose of these storage areas letting the cars themselves guide the design while also incorporating more sustainable elements into the space as well. Lo, a car-lover himself, always focuses on celebrating garages as more than just spaces for car storage and designing them to be stylish, multifunctional and efficient.
Spacious Spaces for Offices
With the CDC’s suggestion of maintaining six feet between individual workspaces and even the implementation of physical barriers for separation, Lo sees architecture as being the means to open up spaces. For the health of their employees, companies will begin to look to creating larger office spaces to help increase air circulation, better maintain privacy and prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
Sustainability for All
The G20 nations have all committed to climate neutrality by 2050, yet, even with these commitments, these nations still have work to do to combat climate change and meet climate goals. Here, architects become critical in helping lower climate impact and reducing emissions. Local sourcing for less shipping, storage and energy usage is a good starting point, Lo says.