by Gillian Holl
In architecture, blindly following trends would be counter-intuitive. There are so many variables that can (and should) affect the overall outcome of a design. At Veld Architects we realise that ideas become trends due to human appreciation and this is, of course, a voice we listen to sincerely. We, therefore, highlight our favourite architectural trends that resonate most with our core beliefs and what we are about.
The global wave towards building greener more eco-friendly buildings is something that is catching on in South Africa, thankfully. While we are still in infancy (compared to Europe) more architects are showing homeowners what can be done. Adaptive reuse of old buildings, proper insulation, rainwater collection, green roofs, building using recycled and/or local materials and conserving the natural environment of your build are all excellent examples of how sustainable architecture can influence the South African market, but they are only the beginning. We highlight some of our favourite trends globally.
Net Zero Homes
The European Commission will soon lay out its plans for a European Green Deal in order to get the EU to net-zero carbon emission-status by 2050. People renovating homes and buildings into Net Zero structures will be one of the flagships in the policy. A net-zero building is a building that creates the same amount of renewable energy on-site per annum as it uses during the same period. Imagine for a moment how successful a similar strategy (even on a small scale) could be in SA
The road to net-zero homes is paved with smart technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR). Energy modelling, for example, can indicate the best possible sites for green buildings. Technology can also help architects utilise natural energy (i.e.passive solar heating) more effectively and design more smartly in general.
Micro-Homes and modular living
Made popular by George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, micro-homes and modular designs are popping up in urban areas across the world. This movement is as ideal for over-populated city centres as it is in the great outdoors. Smaller, sustainable builds could lower the building’s environmental impact if designed and built accordingly.
In line with the Bauhaus Principle where form follows function, we at Veld Architects are particularly fascinated by adaptable architecture. Modern society has drastically evolved from what was functional in the 70s and 80s. It is exciting to see this evolution affect the overall design of a home. Multi-functional, wall-less open-plan spaces are not only making it easier for rooms to flow into each other seamlessly but it also creates new, “border-less” potential for rooms. The use of dividers, glass curtains, and sliding/roll-up doors can also enhance the transition between inside and outside spaces.
Businesses are also benefiting from this trend because a smart open-plan office layout office encourages a collaborative working environment.
For years we’ve been told “you are what you eat”. Based on biologist E.O. Wilson’s theory that humans have a genetic dependence on the natural world in order to be happy and healthy, biophilia in a sense, suggest amending the statement to: “you are what your senses experience”.
Biophilic architecture looks at the health and wellness of home dwellers and uses architecture to bring humans closer to nature. Either physically, by building a home in the outdoors with an open balcony, terrace, patio and large windows overlooking the landscape, or alternatively, by bringing nature to a home with living walls, water features, ample natural lighting and ventilation.
Our bespoke Veld homes address current trends while allowing for the natural landscapes and South African context to inspire new ones.
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