Residential architecture trends emphasise green and multi-purpose spaces
Ramsey Assal, founder of The Landsite, explores new-build architecture trends to look out for in 2021.
Over the past year, the idea of trends was put on hold somewhat. As we approach the final strait of the pandemic, however, we’re beginning to return to at least a semblance of normality. With that return comes the ability for architects and designers to once more flex their creative muscles and steer new-build design into less charted territories.
Ramsey Assal, founder of property network and marketplace platform The Landsite, has been keeping a keen eye on where new-build developments are headed from a design perspective. Here he shares his thoughts on some of the prominent trends worth looking out for this year.
UK construction output took a massive dip in 2020, as this graph from GlobalData shows.
The agreement of a new trade deal between the UK Government and the EU also bodes well for the construction industry. The trade deal ensures zero tariffs on all goods and continued market access for UK firms that trade with the EU. The trade agreement was welcomed by industries bodies, with the Federation of Master Builders stating that the industry would welcome the certainty that the deal will provide.
However, while the deal is preferable to a no-deal Brexit scenario, companies importing from the EU will face additional checks, and construction companies will also find it more difficult to hire workers from the EU due to the end of free movement of labour between the EU and UK.
Incorporating green and outdoor spaces
One of the revelations of the past year has been the importance of ready access to outdoor space. Whether it be the relatively small addition of a balcony, or something more substantial like a garden, there’s been a shift in the consumer mindset. Rather than a nice additional extra, gardens are now regarded as a non-negotiable staple. Pandemic or not, people want their fresh air.
Outdoor spaces aren’t possible or practical for all properties, but there are ways designers are bringing the outside in. Living walls, for instance, are becoming an increasingly popular feature in new-build properties. Not only do they have a positive effect on residents’ wellbeing, but they’re also great for noise reduction if the development is near congested areas.
GlobalData expects the infrastructure construction sector to grow by 8.7% in 2021, following a contraction of 3.8% in 2020.
Open-plan living and multi-purpose spaces
Although open-plan living isn’t an altogether new phenomenon, it’s rapidly becoming the norm in many new-build developments shooting up across the UK.
In a year chock full of difficulties and new situations, one of the leading trends in 2020 was unquestionably the emergence of working from home. A vast swathe of the population upped sticks from their offices and transitioned to their kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and home studies.
For those fortunate enough to have a separate study or home office already, this was no issue. Many, however, were forced to work in cramped kitchens or use improvised desk set-ups from the arm of a sofa.
Although many people are returning to the office now, the likelihood is that we’ll be converting to a hybrid working model where people work partly from home and partly from the office. Anticipating this, we’re seeing lots of new-build developers double down on the inclusion of multi-purpose space within the home: a living space that can also function as a work environment.
Sustainable building design
We’re seeing lots of new build developments which are making use of more sustainable building materials. With governments aiming for a zero-carbon future, major developers are looking to do what they can, wherever they can.
That means we’re not only seeing developments featuring more tangible ‘greener’ features, such as high-efficiency heating systems and quality insulation, but also developments being planned more generally with the environment in mind. Cycle storage areas, ready access to public transport and electric charging points are all features increasingly popping up in development plans across the country.
Developments are featuring more foliage and plant life, with an emphasis on encouraging wildlife and nature into new-build areas. We know the importance of the role that vitamin D from sunlight plays on our overall health and wellbeing and planning communal green spaces into developments ensures that even those residents without access to their own private garden have green outdoor spaces near their homes.
A mindful and sustainable new-build design can benefit both the residents’ wellbeing and the planet. The design trends we’re currently seeing in residential architecture are paving the way for new developments that achieve both.
Main image: Bosco Verticale in Milan. Credit: Josè Maria Sava / Unsplash