Jorge Drexler sings, in one of his songs, that “we always look at the river, contemplating the other riverbank”. Beyond understanding everything that was done, looking back at the past year can serve to get some clues about the future. This 2021, we published more than 160 articles in the Materials & Products section, covering a wide range of topics. From complex concepts such as 4D printing or very little processed materials such as hempcrete and bamboo, drawing a retrospective of the covered themes and understanding what interested our readers the most is an interesting exercise to foreshadow some trends in the future of the construction field. Looking at our most viewed articles, three large themes are evident: 3D printing, pre-fabrication, and interior renovation. Below, we present a compilation of each topic, reflecting on what we can dare to say about the trends in the construction industry that should consolidate in 2022.
Trends: The Latest Architecture and News
Just before the global lockdowns began in response to the spread of the widely discussed COVID-19, we met with Saint Gobain experts at their new headquarters in Paris to discuss an extensive investigation conducted in 2019, with the aim of understanding the transformations that architecture and construction have experienced in recent years. After an interesting exchange of ideas, we chose the most relevant topics to be analyzed in depth by our team of editors, resulting in a series of articles that combined the trends identified with the unexpected events that occurred during 2020, connecting them directly to architectural design.
Now, entering an uncertain but promising 2021, we took the time to stop and reread these articles carefully. How many of these trends are still valid and how much have they evolved? What new trends are likely to develop in the coming years?
As Covid-19 spread across the globe last year, cities underwent a transformation unlike any we had seen in the last century. The sudden disappearance of both human and automotive traffic as people bunkered down under quarantine was visible in cities worldwide and, astonishingly, continued even after quarantine restrictions were lifted.
Construction and Design Trends of 2021: The Recurring, The Popular, The Relevant and The Substantial
As we look back at the architecture projects we have published in 2020, as part of our yearly review, we were able to distinguish many recurring elements and solutions in terms of materials, programs, and functions.
Since the architecture industry moves slightly slower than others, we found that many things in the construction and design that have been building up these past years have come out making strong statements this 2020. We believe, therefore, that trends in the architecture world could be defined not only by what has been recurrent and popular but also, what has proven to be relevant and substantial.
Interiors are taking center stage in 2020, as more people are spending more time at home. Architects and designers are increasingly aware of their responsibility in improving their clients’ well-being and even helping them in the prevention of diseases, as they search for the best solutions for their interior design projects.
ArchDaily’s featured monthly topic for March was dedicated to Interiors and the articles related to this topic accumulated over 1 million pageviews, surpassing by 240% the number of pageviews achieved in other months in the same semester.
The world crisis caused by the Coronavirus has called millions of people to quarantine and socially distance in order to stop the contagion curve. This has resulted in companies being confronted with the challenge of continuing to work remotely, with most of their teams working from home.
ArchDaily is the most visited architecture website in the world. 2.95 million registered users browse the site on a daily basis, generating millions of clicks, searches, and traffic over our library of thousands of projects, and products, giving us invaluable insights on the most relevant industry trends.
Although the field of architecture likes to think it is cutting-edge, adamantly liberal, and on the forefront of history, we still look towards the compulsive tendencies of the glorified visionary, their revolutionary thoughts, illuminating process, and iconic vision.
Throughout the past year, the concepts of Smart Homes (+160% YoY) and Domotics (+450% YoY) have been gaining traction as they define the automation and connectivity between devices found within homes, and which constitute the basic units of the growing Smart Cities concept.
A large percentage of a city’s building stock is designated for housing. Considering that our way of life is changing significantly, housing in cities has also begun to follow these changes. This creates interesting challenges and opportunities for the materials suppliers in this industry.
Certain topics in ArchDaily become a trend when our users begin to search for the same information or show more interest in one topic in relation to others. Architecture and Construction Industry started to worry about issues as important as recycling and environmental awareness, that is why there has been a considerable increase in the searches of the concepts related to this topic.
As users of ArchDaily demonstrate certain affinities and greater interest in particular subjects, these topics emerged as trends. Inclusive Architecture was one of the most searched concepts on ArchDaily in 2018.
Materials, products, and construction systems are constantly evolving and following new technologies, discoveries, and market trends. The question is: are we, as architects, evolving with them? We have heard about robots working on construction sites, responsive and intelligent materials and the continued rise of 3D printing, but is it all white noise at the moment of starting a new design? More importantly, could these new systems continue to progress without sensitively and effectively taking people's quality of life into account?
How should we use materials—both in their traditional forms and in their future conceptions—so that our projects are making relevant contributions to the way we are inhabiting our planet?
In order to evolve, we have to know how, so it’ s worth beginning a discussion around these issues.
As users of ArchDaily demonstrate certain affinities and greater interest in particular subjects, these topics emerged as trends. Gender Equality is one of the trends that will influence urban and architectural discussion in 2019.
Every year we see new tools and techniques for better, faster architectural visualization. The last few years have been a particularly exciting time because of advances in real-time rendering applications. When coupled with supporting technology like virtual reality headsets, projectors, and graphics cards, real-time photoreal rendering is putting stunning, dynamic visualization media within reach—mixed and augmented reality worlds, interactive configurators, game-like presentations—so architects and designers can truly tell their stories.
ArchDaily has become the most consulted architecture website in the world and the volume of our traffic reveals key data about the topics that architects consider relevant. In the past few months, user behavior has shown a growing interest in various concepts related to comfort in architecture.
In a year packed with headlines, you’d be forgiven for occasionally letting them pass you by. But even within the mass of project proposals, awards, competitions, and events, a few trends emerged in 2018 - trends that both tell us about the year past and suggest where things might be heading. These trends, below:
The 'Customer Involvement Program' of Autodesk's research department has, over the years, compiled a database of over 60 million individual commands created by anonymized users. Each reveals shortcut paths and thought flows among its customer base. The team have visualized the product usage (here described as the Command Usage Arc project) by ordering known and new commands from the most-frequently-used to the least-frequently. Revealed as a sequence of infographics, the results demonstrate how people work – and how they often deviate from prescribed usage.