Architecture is a shape-shifter; reacting to the rapidly changing needs and preferences of the society in which it operates. The discipline which has brought masterpieces of functional efficiency to every city from Mexico to Jakarta is a global phenomenon.

Aesthetically pleasing buildings were once the sole domain of developed nations; the costs involved deemed unnecessary for developers in emerging markets. As internet penetration enabled global knowledge sharing, the technical know how to create works of art became widespread. But what does the future hold for architecture?

Like everything under the umbrella of the construction industry, architecture has witnessed fundamental changes in response to the evolution of information technology and the rapidly globalizing economy. Pressure is coming from manic population growth, bigger cities, and tighter budgets.

Collaboration through networking

In the future, we will see consortiums of architects and engineers who work together on the same project but who are not necessarily employed by the same firm. It makes more sense that the discipline will be more consultative where staff cooperate and network to provide a better service for clients. In this way, the traditional work process can be compartmentalized into smaller segments where the architect can charge a separate fee for his part.

Read: sustainable architecture trends

Financial acumen

As budgets shrink and developers try to cut costs, architects that have the economic skills to cope with the complex, globalized economy will thrive. Having core financial literacy will become an integral part of an architect’s knowledge set. Included in the new must-have auxiliary skills, is IT. Firms that have functioning IT systems that can cope with cutting edge technological advancements will gain an advantage.

More than a building

The next five years we will see architects paying more attention to the opportunity presented when people gather in one space. Employers will seek to design their staff campus in a strategic manner. For example, the Apple Campus 2—Spaceship Campus— which will open in April 2017 has around six kilometers of glass inspired by the idea of a London square where houses look out onto a large outdoor park. Staff morale is becoming more important than ever as top tech firms try to recruit top executives and a large part of that is making people feel at home.

Public and private spaces blend

Future architects will hold a holistic view of construction; he will ask himself not only how this building will benefit its private users but how the general public can benefit also. What you will start to see is firms offering sections of their building to the public whether that is as a restaurant, library, or their recycling facilities. When experts sit down to design a private project, the question will be asked ‘how can we get more people engaged in this building?’ It might be a case of a piece of art in the foyer or a sculpture that catches people’s attention. But expect more fluidity between the once rigidly divided private and public spaces.

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