With 2012 just around the corner, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some likely architectural trends and perhaps what the industry can expect to see in the future. In my research I came across three that I think have particular significance in regards to glass and glazing. Well two, I guess, and then the third I simply found intriguing. These are: height, sustainability and bio-inspired designs.
Speaking of height, skyscrapers, it seems, keep getting taller and taller—and these towers are usually sheathed in glass. Currently the Burj Khalifa, which features Guardian’s glass, at 2,717 feet and 163 floors has the title. Any thoughts on where or when we might expect a new tower to top that? Will it be covered in glass? We’ve got our eyes and ears open and will let you know if/when we hear.
Sustainability. Now that’s a subject we’ve all heard about, written about and designed around over the past few years. As I’ve mentioned before, a few years back we may have called it a “trend,” but that’s no longer the case. Trends come and go. Sustainability is here to stay and as codes become increasingly stringent when it comes to energy requirements, glazing products are continuing to evolve as well. So yes, you can have an all-glass, highly transparent façade while still meeting code.
And for the bio-inspired designs … well, who has not heard of roof gardens or other “living” aspects of the design. Bio-inspired designs are typically those made to resemble nature in some form or fashion or integrate living systems into the building. Earlier this year architect Thomas Heatherwick spoke at the TED convention and talked about a number of bio-inspired designs. These include his design of the Seed Cathedral, which I just had to look up on his website (there’s even a video you can view). According to his site “The Seed Cathedral is a platform to show the work of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and their Millennium Seedbank. In the circulation zone under the landscape that surrounds the Seed Cathedral a series of installations explore in more detail the particularity of nature and UK cities. The Seed Cathedral is a 20-metre high building, constructed from 60,000 transparent 7.5-metre long optical strands, each of which has embedded within its tip a seed. The interior is silent and illuminated only by the daylight that has filtered past each seed through each optical hair.”
Given the desire to go green, be eco-friendly and sustainable, these projects can certainly inspire future ideas and even trends. If you’ve got an idea or project you’d like to share, juts let me know. Your thoughts are always welcome.