As we grow and evolve, our priorities often shift. This has never been truer for the architecture and design industry. Most of us feel like we’ve been through some form of “green living” training over the last couple of decades. Consequently, many of us have changed how we live. Moving forward, we will all participate more fully in ways to live in a more environmentally conscious manner.
Architectural design has an incredible opportunity to implement impactful change regarding how we interact with our environment. From buildings to biomimicry, the architecture and design community affords us all a tutorial in how we can truly create positive change in the world we live in. Here are the top 5 latest trends in green infrastructure.
Sustainability is and has been a priority in architectural design for years. But there is a new trend in town that you should definitely know about. Resilient buildings.
According to the Resilient Design institute, “The purposeful design of buildings, communities, and their surroundings that factor in the vulnerabilities from disaster and the disturbance of everyday life equate to resilient buildings.
The main factors include:
- Energy sources
- Disaster plan
- Water sources
- Reduced environmental impact
To be considered “resilient,” a building must be able to withstand intense natural and manmade disasters. The Urban Land Institute defines resilience as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events.” What does this mean exactly? Ultimately, stronger buildings.
Biomimicry is a method of solving modern-day challenges by learning from and imitating the natural strategies of nature. This helps us create alternate methods of energy that can enhance our pursuit of energy efficiency, as well as reduce carbon emissions.
Moving forward, more and more locations will incorporate green infrastructure efforts including green roof buildings. Green roofs are covered with growing vegetation that enables rainfall infiltration. This also allows for stored rainfall water to be repurposed. These specialized rooftops are particularly cost-effective in dense urban areas where land values are high. Green roofs are also gaining popularity for large industrial or office buildings where stormwater management costs are likely to be expensive. https://www.epa.gov/green-infrastructure/what-green-infrastructure
Biometric concrete, or bioconcrete actually has bacteria mixed into it. Sound odd? Well, there’s a tangible reason. The bacteria are activated by water and produce calcite. Calcite is a component of limestone that fully fills any cracks and acts as a “self-healing” concrete. This is a product that has immense potential. Consider potholes, sidewalk maintenance, and bridges that last exponentially longer. The future impact of green infrastructure can improve the quality of our lives in remarkable ways.
Covid 19 sent us into a tailspin of germaphobia. It left its impact on our lives and will change the way we live for decades to come. How can we breathe cleaner air? Particularly in large closed-in public buildings?
By equipping HVAC systems with high-efficiency HEPA filters, the spread of airborne disease can at least in part, be curtailed. These particular HEPA filters are designed to filter particles as small as 0.01 micron. The COVID-19 virus is about 0.125 microns in diameter. It’s remarkable that such a simple solution could have such a dynamic impact on our health.
With people spending so much time indoors, it’s easy to conclude that most respiratory-disease transmission also occurs indoors. COVID-19 is but one of over 40 pathogens and allergens that can transmit disease through the air in a built environment. This new trend in building reflects architects’ long-term goal of making every built environment healthier. Ultimately, a “healthy” building will be designed to favor our overall health and wellbeing. Reducing infectious diseases’ ability to enter and spread will be a major part of that commitment.
A commonality we are seeing in cities is vertical designs. For obvious reasons, architectural designs are growing upward. Our population is growing. We need more square footage without taking up as much land mass. This means that newer builds will be smaller units, and run more efficiently, with simple interiors that have multi-purpose spaces.
It would seem the love of tiny homes is expanding into apartment buildings as well. We are incorporating Japanese culture’s adaptation of multi-purpose furnishings: sofas that swiftly turn into beds, or table and chair sets that fit compactly together into a coffee table when not in use for a meal.
The way we are interacting with our environment is changing. We are shifting away from unnecessary opulence and more towards a lifestyle of conservation and even purpose. Architectural design is playing a huge part in this evolution.
Computational design, also known as Parametric Design employs algorithms and artificial intelligence to develop a building’s form. Why is this beneficial? Because it implements solutions for more efficient structures to be built in a more cost-effective manner.
Large scale 3D-Printers will become more commonplace in the building process. ICON has recently 3D printed 100 homes in Austin, Texas. This process not only reduced the cost of the homes but also produced resilient energy-efficient homes with less construction waste. The results benefit both the homeowner and the environment simultaneously. We can all agree that we are in need of this.
There are three types of computational design:
- Algorithmic design uses algorithms to produce a design model. The term is often used interchangeably with computational design and could be considered a type of generative design. Algorithms are a set of instructions that determine the solution to a problem. When applied to architectural models, algorithmic design uses a set of rules to define a system rather than defining each element individually.
- Generative design also uses algorithms to generate a batch of 3D designs. The goal of generative design is to produce as many design options as possible for analysis. A user can input requirements for the model and then the software produces designs that meet those requirements.
- Parametric design is a step above traditional 3D modeling. Architectural designers are responsible for updating each design element individually. A designer can update a single parameter, and the parametric algorithms would make all of the associated updates automatically.
The architecture and design community has boarded the train for green infrastructure implementation. Whether that be digitally or creatively, architects and designers are utilizing all of their resources to support a carbon-neutral future.
By incorporating natural elements along with digital advancements, architectural designers are affording our communities true “green” living. What is beneficial for both human beings and the world at large is in fact the best quality of life for us all.
If you have questions regarding how to make an already existing structure or building reach out to us today. NGS is committed to bettering buildings and strengthening our communities. We are here to help.