Expert Speak – How to design spaces for the next 100 years

By Rohith Sringeri, Founder, Maysons

The way we live, work, and interact with our surroundings is constantly evolving. As we look towards the next century, designing spaces that are adaptable, sustainable, and promote human well-being is paramount.

Here are some key strategies to create future-proof spaces:

1. Multifunctional spaces

Gone are the days of single-purpose rooms. Multifunctional spaces or in-between spaces where physical movement is relatively fluid by incorporating movable partitions or modular furniture. This allows rooms that adapt to different uses – that can transform into guest rooms, workspaces, or collaborative areas as needed. Modular Furniture that can be rearranged or reconfigured for various needs is key. 

While designing a flexible space one must also consider the potential lifespan of it. Will a classroom today become a co-working space tomorrow? Design with future uses in mind.

2. Design for well-being

Sustainability is not only a trendy catchphrase but one that is essential and constantly evolving for the well-being of human beings and the planet at large.

Design practices that infuse biophilia, create ventilation and allow natural light, choose eco-friendly materials and conserve water are essential for well-being design. Plants and elements of nature evoke a sense of calm and a connection with the outdoors. Large windows ensure maximum light and free flow of air along with a seamless visual connection to surrounding nature. Eco-friendly materials like recycled wood, natural stone, Adobe bricks and rammed earth reduce the environmental impact of the materials used in the construction.

3. Future-proof technology

In the age of AI, it is important for designers to join forces with AI to work together for a smarter future. Technology helps the case of efficiency and speed along with the ability to choose options that save resources and have minimal environmental impact.
In the construction industry, AI is being used at various phases of a project from design to end product. There is also an integration of virtual and augmented reality for a more immersive experience.
Smart building systems can manage lighting, temperature control, and security efficiently. Future-proof infrastructure allows for easy integration of future technologies like high-speed internet or sensor networks. However, prioritise intuitive interfaces and features that genuinely improve the user experience.

4. The Human Touch

While technology today is essential, one cannot forgo human intervention. Architects and designers have the ability to infuse personal creativity and touch, ensuring that the needs of clients are adhered to. Human designers have the ability to craft environments that evoke emotions and heighten well-being, giving form to more personalised and meaningful built environments. Here, cultural and local context, empathy, relationship building and  tailored solutions, play a crucial role.

This gives rise to community-centred planning to create spaces that forge a strong social connection and inclusive design that takes care of all its inhabitants regardless of age, gender and ability.

5. Resilience

Rapid urbanisation puts a lot of pressure on land, infrastructure, and nature. The challenge here for architects, designers, contactors and real estate developers is how to future-proof built environments while ensuring quality of life for current inhabitants.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “A resilient path to development is a continuous process to manage changes in climate and other driving forces that affect the whole, combining flexibility, innovation, and participatory problem solving effectively in mitigation and adaptation to climate change.”
Disaster-resistant design that incorporates resilient construction methods and materials to withstand natural disasters. Designing for earthquakes, floods, and other climate-related events ensures long-term durability. Building redundancy into critical systems like power, water, and internet ensures functionality during emergencies. Backup generators, multiple water sources, and alternative connectivity options can be life-saving.

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