Hello, readers! Welcome to the Architecture Plus blog! We provide useful information concerning architectural design, unique trends, and essential aspects of the residential and commercial building process. Based out of Charleston, our full-service firm specializes in new residential construction, renovation, and commercial design. We aim to create sustainable structures which facilitate the health of their inhabitants while pairing harmoniously with their surrounding community. We encourage you to take a look at our residential and commercial galleries to glimpse our work and assess our artistic vision. If you need any additional information, reach out to us!

Our last article discussed architecture in the Lowcountry. We talked about how this area is at high risk for flooding and how that affects the building design. We took a look at regulations that are stipulated by local housing authorities in the Lowcountry to make residential and commercial properties safe from flood risk. 

Today, we’ll be diving into architectural trends of 2022! It is no surprise that trends are constantly changing, especially in today’s world where technology is always advancing. This advancement has paved the way for new approaches to architecture and home design. Additionally, the last two years of the pandemic have changed the way we live and highlighted a desire for the multifunctionality of the home. [more here?] If you’re interested in learning more about the architectural trends we are seeing so far in 2022, and what we predict to see more of this year, you’ve come to the right place!

3D Printed Structures

The use of 3D printers in architecture has been growing in popularity over the past few years. 3D printers can be used to create small models of homes and other buildings, helping architects bring their ideas one step closer to life. Seeing designs in the form of a tangible model, rather than on a computer, can be helpful. More recently, 3D printing in architecture has expanded from models to actual construction. A July 2021 report conducted by Grand View Research predicted that the 3D construction market will grow by a whopping 91% between 2021 and 2028. One possibility for this growth is the fact that 3D printing can be completed much quicker than traditional construction methods. This saves both time and money. It could also help with the increased demand for housing in many areas. 

3D printing is also a more sustainable method of construction due to the reduction of the amount of materials, improved quality, and the longevity of the materials. For example, traditional construction of a building will include a variety of materials such as drywall, wood, insulation, and more. 3D printed construction contains one formula. Mighty Buildings, a 3D printing construction company based in Oakland, California, invented a thermoset composite material called Light Stone Material (LSM). LSM hardens when exposed to UV light, making it more sturdy than traditional building materials. Mighty Buildings also boasts a near-zero waste production process. The company is in the works to build 15 eco-friendly 3D printed homes in a project they’re calling the Rancho Mirage. It will be the world’s first 3D printed community of zero net energy homes. 

With companies like Mighty Buildings taking the lead in 3D printed construction, it is highly likely that we will see more construction companies follow suit. 

Virtual Reality 

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment or simulation that is often perceived through a headset. It has become increasingly popular recently in video games and other forms of entertainment. But did you know that architects have started to use Virtual Reality systems too? Virtual Reality allows architects to fully immerse themselves within a space before it actually exists. 

With the help of computer software, architects can bring their designs to life– in the virtual world. It can also be used to show clients what their potential home or business will look like, and make and review changes all within the VR environment. In turn, this gives clients the opportunity to feel more involved in the process. Allowing a client to actually see a space before it is built can positively influence the decision-making process. Seeing a design concept in a virtual space can make it easier to see exactly how a certain design choice will look, providing a 360-degree view of the space. This is a great thing for everyone from the architects and stakeholders to the clients who will be utilizing the space when it is complete. 

Multifunctional Homes

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in people working from home and spending more time in the home in general. Because of this, people have noted areas of their homes that they wish were different. For example, working remotely could be a challenge if you don’t have adequate space to do so. If you are sharing space with other family members, you’ll need a quiet place to work efficiently. Because of this, home offices are certainly increasing in demand, as well as designated spaces for relaxation. In addition to working from home, there has also been a rise in remote schooling. So, families with children are looking for design concepts that include space for both parents and children to work. In turn, there has been a significant decrease in open space plans. People are looking for home design concepts that value privacy. This includes doors being placed in the right areas to allow for an extra layer of privacy and solitude.

Reduction of noise is also becoming a key element for design. Acoustics have largely come into focus during the pandemic. When planning and designing a home or other building, sound is not always the first priority. But, with our changing society, we can see that acoustics and sound should never be an afterthought. 

While open space plans are becoming less desirable for many, it may not be the case for all. If we are looking for multipurpose space, we must consider how to allow a room to function as more than one thing. For example, how can we make a living room a space for quiet, remote work as well as a space for family to gather for activities such as a movie night? Multifunctionality can also be thought about in terms of furniture. Perhaps a table that is used not only for family feasts but also as a work desk, or an ottoman that also functions as a small storage space. All of these things are becoming a bigger part of the design process.

Natural Palettes

Homeowners are also rethinking color palettes. Green, blue and earthy tones have been seeing an increase in the last couple of years. Green, in particular, has been predicted to be the color of 2022. Many paint manufacturers have steered towards green, as well: The Benjamin Moore 2022 color of the year is October Mist 1495, a gentle shade of sage green. Similarly, Sherwin-Williams’ 2022 color of the year is Evergreen Fog, a subtle green-gray shade. It seems that a nature-inspired palette is on the rise in homes, as people stray away from plain white and gray walls. This could also be influenced by the pandemic. As we have been spending more time inside, there has been an attempt to “bring nature inside”, whether that be through plants or colors. Green is also considered the color of wealth, health and well-being. Perhaps living through this pandemic has inspired homeowners to search for solace in color palettes.

Fixr, an online services marketplace, released their Paint and Color Trends report of 2022, in which they reached out to industry influencers and interior design experts. The report states that “homeowners seem ready to adopt a more vibrant and organic palette in spaces to breathe and create a sense of calming and freshness.” Among their key findings were that green and nature-inspired themes will be the most popular choice for wallpapers this year. 

Health and Hygiene in the Home

Yet another trend as a result of the pandemic is the increased interest in health and hygiene in the home. People are looking for easy-to-clean surfaces, particularly in the kitchen. One trend we are seeing is antibacterial tile. For example, Acme Brick Tile & Stone offers PROTECT ceramic tile products with Microban. They are just one of many companies offering similar products. Microban is best known as a disinfectant spray, but it is also an antimicrobial additive that can be integrated into different materials, such as tile. Antimicrobial tiles disinfect, sanitize, and reduce the growth of bacteria. 

Additionally, touchless fixtures are becoming more and more prominent in the home. For example, touchless faucets. It is no surprise that we have been washing our hands more often, so touchless faucets offer a convenient way to turn the water on without touching a handle and letting bacteria gather on the surface. 

We are also seeing a rise in porcelain countertops and other surfaces. Porcelain is extremely easy to care for and is very low maintenance. It is also extremely hygienic– Porcelain is non-porous, so it won’t absorb bacteria. A simple wipe-down of the counter with soap and water will do the trick! 

As you can see, there are many trends coming in hot this year. Some are inspired by the always advancing world of technology while others are inspired by the pandemic, which has changed all of our lives. No matter the reason, architecture is always adapting! For more information on architectural design and building, keep up-to-date with the Architecture Plus blog. If you’re ready to sit down with an experienced team of designers and hash out the elements of your next project, reach out to us! We’re eager to hear from you. Until next time, thank you for reading!