What Will Future Skyscrapers Look Like?

by Jul 16, 2019industry news0 comments

Skyscrapers of the past were tall, rectangular steel towers that did little more than house office spaces or apartments. They were a space-saving innovation in areas where space was limited, but little thought was given to their energy consumption or their impact on the environment. Building construction releases a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the air, and it’s estimated that skyscrapers consume 41% of the world’s electricity.

Priorities have changed. Looking forward, we see proposals for skyscrapers that are green with vegetation and green in their building practices and materials. New building shapes and innovations in elevator styles could produce buildings that look very different from any we’ve seen before. And, as workers spend more time on the job and commutes become more congested, we predict new skyscrapers will become more like communities, with more of the comforts of home available at work.


Green is the New Gold

Plants aren’t just pretty to look at; they have positive effects on the air we breathe and, along with natural light, have been shown to bring positive psychological benefits for workers. Future skyscrapers, like the W350 Project in Tokyo, seek to bring more nature into the city. The tower will be made from wood and other natural materials, and will feature green spaces, plant-covered balconies, and even a garden roof.

Green construction practices also feature prominently in the buildings of tomorrow. With a climate crisis looming over future generations, more builders are integrating solar power and energy-efficient designs to minimize the impact their skyscrapers will have on the environment. Rather than manufacturing materials in factories that spew pollution, more parts and modules will be 3D printed. Look for even more recycling of building materials as a waste reduction effort.


Going Up, Down, or Sideways?

While the majority of projected skyscraper styles are vertical, there are some interesting alternatives on the horizon. In a study commissioned by Samsung in 2016, “Earth Scrapers” were predicted as a future design. Rather than looming toward the sky, these structures would tunnel down beneath the earth. Visionary designers also proposed a “Side Scraper” named New Horizon that would run horizontally around the perimeter of Central Park in New York.

Experts say skyscraper shapes are limited because of the vertical elevator shafts inside them, so elevators of the future could move three-dimensionally rather than just up and down. Shafts could soon become a complex series of tunnels allowing elevator cars to move forward, backward, and sideways to reach all parts of a structure.


Home Away from Home

As workers spend increasingly more time at the office, it is expected that skyscrapers of the future will offer more housing mixed with office space to keep employees close to their jobs. The buildings will have food shops, financial centers, and even hospitals or clinics to keep workers healthy. Look for more smart technology to automate the homes and offices of the residents of such buildings.


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