10 Architectural Trends that will leave you completely amazed!

"As an architect, you design for the present with an awareness of the past for a future which is essentially unknown." - Norman Foster

The house you live in, the office you work in, the stores you shop in: all of them started out as an idea by an architect. Buildings define a city skyline, like the way the Empire State Building says "New York" or the Space Needle, "Seattle." Architects, like Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Gehry, leave a permanent mark on the culture with their unique creations of steel, concrete and glass.

Over the years, architecture has gotten bolder and bigger. Currently, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest structure in the world, at 2,717 feet. A tower in Shanghai is on track to beat that record. But changing tastes and need for innovation is pointing to some pretty cool trends for the future - that don't require an oxygen mask.

1. CONSTRUCTIONS MADE OF BAMBOO

In Bejiing, a modular pavilion made from 200 bamboo canes was on display at the city's Design Week last year. It may serve as a model for sustainable, modular buildings.

2. BUILDINGS THAT BLEND INTO NATURAL SCENERY

79 & Park in Stockholm incorporates glass, natural cedar and live greenery to better blend in with its setting next to a national park. In Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, the Vo Trong Nghia Architect's House for Trees has introduced tons of greenery into an otherwise urban jungle.

3. SUSTAINABILITY

Buildings are being constructed with an eye to their energy footprint. The Finolhu Villa in the Maldives is the first resort on the island to be totally solar-powered: each of the 52 luxury villas has special windows and wooden shades to reduce the need for air-conditioning. The Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh moves air in and out without the need for air conditioning; windows open automatically based on temperature.

4. TINY HOMES

It's linked both to sustainability and economic downsizing. Homes of less than 1000 square feet are becoming a thing, and will only increase in popularity. They're also being considered as housing for the homeless population.

5. TURNING OFFICE SPACE INTO RESIDENTIAL SPACE

Empty warehouses and factories have been turned into homes before, but this is a twist on that concept: unused office space will be turned into living spaces, as a way to ease the housing crunch.

6. GREEN POWER PLANTS

Most existing power plants aren't much to look at - and their emissions contribute to climate change. One idea being investigated is "wrapping" the plants in corrugated "skins" of creeping greenery. Not only will it make them more appealing to the eye, the plants will absorb C02 emissions.

7. INDOOR PARKS

The Zaradye Park in Moscow is a cool way to repurpose an old hotel in the middle of the city. Plans for the 13-acre spot include four different "landscapes" each with their own sustainable "microclimate" and simulated daylight 24/7. Not only will it give residents a nature escape during cold winters, it serves as a model for other abandoned properties around the world.

8. SKYSCRAPERS MADE OF WOOD

A 34-story skyscraper made of wood is currently being built in Stockholm. Cross-laminated timber panels have been manufactured to be stronger than traditional wood, and the impact on the environment is far less than typical concrete and steel construction methods.

9. 3D PRINTED INTERIORS

Not only can 3D help a client better visualize what the finished project will look like, the architect will ultimately be able to print out whole interior components. It's already been done in a project called Digital Grotesque by architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger.

10. PASSIVE SOLAR BUILDING DESIGN

Buildings will be designed to take advantage of the sun's path during the day and thus minimize the need for artificial lighting. This concept also includes the use of solar panels and high-tech insulation.

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