Architectural designs to watch for in 2017 and beyond

The rise of technology and the changing needs of today’s generations are pushing some big changes to contemporary architectural design. We’ve already been seeing some trends toward sustainability beginning to shape our homes. Here are some more changes you might start to notice this year.

Sustainable materials and design. It’s not enough anymore to have Energy-Star appliances, a tankless hot water heater, some Tyvek wrapped around your house to call it energy-efficient. Homes need to be designed and built with sustainability in mind from the ground up. Designs featuring homes made from alternative, locally-sourced materials are already being built around the world and the trend is accelerating. Here in North Texas, the trend is toward rainwater harvesting, use of geothermal HVAC systems, solar and wind power, and orientation of homes to maximize cross ventilation. Attention is also being paid to reduce the amount of waste when building a home. Stick-built homes – those built on-site from scratch – produce more waste than modular homes. To satisfy the demand of the consumer for a custom home and the need to reduce waste, some builders are incorporating a mix of modular units within larger semi-custom designs. One application is to build modular rooms (like kitchens and baths) and assemble them in custom designs. Another application is to assemble framed wall off-site and deliver the pieces for final assembly on the job-site. Both of these methods reduce waste, and save time and labor needs.

Multiple master suites. There are so many reasons having multiple master suites makes sense. With rising housing costs, there are more households that are choosing to have several generations living under one roof. Dual-income families might want live-in help with children. Others may choose to have roommates to help defray housing costs. Whatever the reason, having multiple bedrooms with en suite bathrooms will become more common.

Going vertical and adding in more nature. The rising cost of land, especially in urban areas, is causing many architects to think vertically. Smaller footprints with more stories, or cantilevered upper levels may become more common. Rooftop gardens are another amenity that both maximizes space and adds more natural features to a home. Expect to see more of them in urban locations. Quiet spaces, like those rooftop gardens, or small green courtyards and meditation rooms will offer residents a place to unplug and relax.

Incorporation of clean lines. Through the playful use of materials, space and shape, architects are encouraging homeowners to connect more to nature. You’ll see more use of a variety of natural components, irregularly shaped structures, moving walls and other elements, and a variety of colors and materials in design. The overall effect is meant to be clean and soothing, but not predictable or boxy.