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Trends: Inspiration for 2020 and Beyond

Once a month, our team gathers for what we call Inspiration Meetings. Topics vary from trends, products and video, to architectural and design industry news, to recent team member travel inspiration. Anything and everything that might inspire our work.


In our latest Inspiration Meeting, we talked about trends that could affect the AEC industry for the next year (and decade) as we stroll into 2020.


Regenerative Products

Research & Development and new products will be all about using “real” materials that can heal themselves and integrate into different objects in the future. For example, bioplastic made from algae could potentially replace oil-based plastic. The designers behind the material “imagine a world in which shops can locally produce all kinds of objects on demand, from plates to furniture,” using 3D printers and the bioplastic. This material would be 100 percent sustainable and biodegradable. Read more about bioplastic products.


In addition, scientist are well underway in producing self-healing concrete. Giving concrete a longer life could have huge environmental benefits (remember those sustainability goals?). Smart concrete would not only make our structures safer, but also cut back on greenhouse gasses.


Community Living

Live/work will blend into one another with better results. The first “car free” development company, Culdesac, is building the first community of its kind in Tempe, AZ. With less space needed for parking lots, there are acres of space left for “greenspace, friendly courtyards, and shops right at your doorstop.” Making use of public transportation and shared mobility, this car free community hopes to have 1,000 residents and 0 private cars.


Home and Building Automation

We’ve seen this trend on the rise the last decade, and it’s not stopping now. Research states that the value of the smart home device market is set to grow from $55 billion in 2016 to $174 billion by 2025. Whether it be to control the temperature, shades, light or security of your home or building, this technology allows us greater comfort and energy consumption reduction.


In our homes, smart lighting, or human centric lighting, could be a major wellness factor. With the ability to simulate sunrise and sunset, circadian lighting can assist in keeping our biological clock on track. Robots are even entering our homes to keep our carpets clean, and our lawns trim.


In our buildings and cities, intelligent parking equipped with cameras and sensors to detect parking space availability makes parking in a high-density area stress-free, especially when you can reserve a space ahead of time.



We know how fast 10 years can go by, so we’re looking ahead to the 2030 Challenge. Did you know that the urban built environment is responsible for 75% of annual global GHG emissions? Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets.


To accomplish this, Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge in 2006 asking the global architecture and building community to adopt specific targets that may be met by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable energy, and/or purchasing off-site renewable energy.


Learn more about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for people and planet, and how your company can advance each one.


As technology continues to advance, we know there will constantly be new products entering the market. How will you stay on top of all these changes? What are you excited to see come to the mainstream? Let us know in the comments.