six trends in architecture and design for 2024 by hdr
Image: Canva.
  • Achieving net zero across energy, water, and carbon will be at the fore of designers' minds.
  • Increased focus on delivering across all three elements of ESG.
  • Human and machine will complement each other as artificial intelligence and technology evolves.

Architecture and design will increasingly focus on delivering positive impacts on the environment and society as 2024 unfolds.

Integrated, multidisciplinary design practice, HDR, has forecasted six trajectories of change for this year, all of which address some of the most pressing challenges the world is currently facing.

Top six megatrends for architecture and design in 2024

  1. Triple net zero design
  2. Place-based innovation
  3. Social value
  4. Maximising value through flexibility
  5. Equity-driven design
  6. Towards hybrid intelligence

What is triple net zero?

Triple net zero refers to net zero energy, net zero water, and net zero carbon in triune.

Delivering positive change to the environment, biodiversity, waste, and pollution will see designers encouraged to rethink design processes and adopt a triple net zero design mindset within a circular economy framework, according to HDR.

This year, the transition from a linear to a circular economy will be driven by three key principles:

  1. Designing out waste and pollution
  2. Keeping products and materials in use
  3. Regenerating natural systems

Coming to the fore of design this year will be the adoption of waste-free systems that utilise renewable resources and energy; water-sensitive urban design integrating stormwater, water supply and sewage management into developments; and principles of passive design becoming second nature.

New microcosms of ingenuity

Concentrated place-based innovation has been observed in cities with significant intellectual, financial, social and cultural capital, following periods of economic growth, community development, workforce evolution, and advances in medical sciences.

This year will see new business and industry hubs transform urban centres into dynamic innovation ecosystems.

Social value of architecture not just a value add

According to HDR, this year will see expectations on designers to go beyond the brief and consider how infrastructure contributes to improving society’s interconnected social, economic, and ecological fabric.

Not only will positive outcomes be a fundamental part of projects from the start, but they will be increasingly expected to produce measurable place-based social impact reports upon project completion, all while generating strong commercial outcomes.

How do you maximise value?

This year will see flexibility and adaptability play a pivotal role.

“In 2024, designers will play an increasingly pivotal role in integrating places and precincts for flexibility and adaptability and delivering shared facilities and adaptive spaces that can transition to new requirements,” noted HDR.

Examples of this include the integration of key worker accommodation with health facilities. HDR highlighted Rouse Hill Hospital, Temora Health Service, and Finley Hospital redevelopment.

“By integrating housing into social infrastructure and creating in-built populations that support surrounding activity and amenities, a double benefit will emerge in attracting great minds and creating thriving districts that mobilise the economy and improve our social and cultural fabric.”

Designing for all

Equity driven design will become more commonplace this year, with HDR noting the full range of human diversity will be more rigorously embedded into projects to provide innovative solutions to societal challenges.

Will artificial intelligence reign supreme?

This year will see a shift to hybrid intelligence, where designers will move further towards integrating human expertise and in-house tools with AI capabilities to streamline the design process, explore a more extensive range of design possibilities, and achieve enhanced outcomes on complex tasks such as architectural design.

Technology will continue to develop, allowing designers to create new ways of communicating and visualising designs and models in real time and via means such as augmented and virtual reality.




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