7 Innovative Architectural Ideas With World-Changing Potential (2023)

Our ancient relatives, Homo heidelbergensis, were constructing shelters at least 400,000 years ago, and architectural innovation has been a defining feature of societies since then, changing to suit the needs and desires of the builders and occupants as they evolved. From energy-efficient designs to community-based spaces, these seven designs could help shape the future.

7 Innovative Architectural Ideas With World-Changing Potential (1)

As the population ages, society is faced with a challenge: How to help people who require special care. The current way that many buildings are designed—and even the way hospitals are set up—makes it difficult for older people to get around and be independent. This is a big problem, because older people are a huge part of the population. As of 2015, there were nearly 50 million people in the United States over the age of 65. By 2030, the Census projects that 20 percent of Americans will be older than 65. “By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million ... under the age of 18," Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, stated in a 2018 press release.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a quarter of people aged 65 or older fall every year. In fact, falling is the leading cause of injuries classified as critical or fatal, which is one of the reasons people who would otherwise live independently are forced into care-based facilities.

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Silver architecture aims to change this with building designs that are sustainable, modern, and most importantly—accommodating. Specialized design keeps age-related impairments from becoming debilitating disabilities. The best silver architecture integrates space planning, clear directional layouts, stress-reducing lighting, acoustical innovations to reduce ambient noise, comfortable and accessible furniture, safe flooring, colors that aid psychological well-being, and interactive, health focused interior design (such as plants and artwork) that stimulate and engage residents.

In a 2014 opinion piece for The New York Times, geriatrician Dr. Louise Aronson wrote that "These and other strategies are already in use in many long-term care facilities and in specialized areas of hospitals, such as geriatric emergency departments or acute care of the elderly units. But they aren’t nearly as prevalent as they should be." She proposed "prizes for excellence in silver design, just as there are awards for green buildings," adding, "silver architecture and design aren’t about indulging a special interest group. They’re about maximizing quality of life and independence for a life stage most of us will reach. Green architecture is good for the environment; silver architecture is good for humans. The best new buildings will be both."

2. Wounded Warrior Homes

According to the United States Army, 92 percent of soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan survive, compared to a rate of 75 percent in Vietnam.

Navigating even a typical accessible home can be a challenge for soldiers who return from war zones after suffering debilitating injuries. The architects behind The Wounded Warrior Home Project took on some of those challenges in two homes built at Virginia's Fort Belvoir, and unveiled in 2011. The residences, designed by and with input from veterans (as well as their loved ones), have a universal focus on accommodation to cater to the diverse needs of injured soldiers. Wide doors and adjustable stovetops are just some of the ways the homes are adapted for physical disabilities. To help with trauma recovery, the houses are designed with large windows and dedicated therapy rooms to help alleviate symptoms.

The homes are geared toward helping soldiers return to duty. "The thing I see now, as I talk to the wounded warriors on this project, they want to know, 'When can I get back to my unit?'" David Haygood, a Vietnam War vet and a partner in one of the design firms behind the homes, told NPR in 2012. Fort Belvoir's then-battalion operations officer, Major John Votovich, told NPR, "We have more of a wounded population today that probably wouldn't have survived in earlier generations. They're still productive members of the military. And they will continue to be so."

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According to the World Health Organization, around 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, and that number is projected to increase: WHO projects that by 2030, 82 million people will have dementia (and 152 million by 2050). There are 10 million new cases each year, making it "one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide." But dementia doesn't just affect the people who suffer from it; as WHO notes, it's also overwhelming for the families and loved ones of people with dementia: "There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care. The impact of dementia on careers, family, and societies can be physical, psychological, social, and economic."

The small community of Hogewey, 10 miles outside of Amsterdam, aims to raise the quality of life for those suffering from dementia and ease the burden for their families. All the residents at Hogeway—also known as Dementia Village—have severe dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and they go about their lives within the confines of this thoughtfully designed town. Nurses and other caretakers act as fellow townsfolk, there to keep the patients healthy and safe. As of 2014, monthly rent was never more than $3600 and often lower because of its sliding scale.

Traditional clinical settings foster isolation and reinforce medicalization of these memory-related illnesses. Hogewey’s approach to dementia de-stigmatizes the condition and creates an environment that people can live in where they require less medication and less medical intervention. According to Yvonne van Amerongen—who had the idea for Hogewey after her father suddenly passed away—"We have Dutch design, Dutch cultures, Dutch lifestyles, but the concept is to value the person, the individual ... to support them to live their life as usual, and you can do that anywhere."

4. Zootopia

Zoos serve important research and conservation purposes, but unfortunately, sometimes their design leaves a lot to be desired: The cages and concrete enclosures don't even come close to mimicking the resident animals' natural habitats, which raises several ethical concerns.

Enter Zootopia. (It's not just a Disney film; the name was first trademarked by Denmark's Givskud Zoo in 2010.) Slated to open in 2020, this zoo’s design is a reimagining of the caged zoo and a departure from safari parks. Instead of caging in the animals, it's the visitors who will be in enclosed areas. These viewing locations will be disguised to minimize human interaction with the animals. Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the architectural firm behind the plans, says one of their main goals is to hide humans from the animals to provide as natural of an environment as possible for the zoo’s residents. For the animals, everything from their feeding stations to their shelters have been designed to look and feel as natural as possible.

"It is our dream—with Givskud—to create the best possible and freest possible environment for the animals’ lives and relationships with each other and visitors," BIG said in a press release. "We are pleased to embark on an exciting journey of discovery with the Givskud staff and population of animals—and hope that we could both enhance the quality of life for the animals as well as the keepers and guests."

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7 Innovative Architectural Ideas With World-Changing Potential (2)

Concrete is the most common material used by humankind, and from 1992 to 2012, the demand for cement (the key ingredient in concrete) more than tripled worldwide. As the demand and use of concrete rises, so does its environmental impact: In 2018, the International Energy Agency said that "The cement sector is the third-largest industrial energy consumer in the world, responsible for 7 percent of industrial energy use, and the second industrial emitter of carbon dioxide, with about 7 percent of global emissions."

Which is perhaps why many are turning their attention to developing better concrete. Rutgers University materials science and engineering professor Richard E. Riman developed a technology to make concrete that stores CO2. Riman then founded Solidia Technologies Inc. in 2008; according to Phys.org, "Solidia Concrete products ... combined with Solidia Cement, can reduce the carbon footprint of cement and concrete by up to 70 percent and can save as much as 528.3 billion gallons a year."

In 2014, Peter Trimble, then a student at the University of Edinburgh, developed what he calls "biostone," which combines sand, bacteria, and urine; he built a machine to create a seat with the material. In 2013, the Structural Technology Group of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech developed "biological concrete" that grows vertical gardens. According to ArchDaily, "The system’s advantages are numerous. The plants capture CO2 from the air and release oxygen. The layer also acts as insulation as a thermal mass. It helps regulate temperatures within the building by absorbing heat and preventing it from entering the building in hot weather or escaping the building in cold weather."

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6. Reclaiming Vacant Lots for Gardens

By 2050, two-thirds of the world's population is expected to live in urban areas. Urbanization has its positives—according to National Geographic, people are concentrated in a small space in cities, which makes schools and stores more easily accessed than in rural areas, and also "allows the government and others to provide services such as water, electricity, and transportation to a larger number of people." But it also has its negatives, including crime and pollution, and some studies have indicated that living in a city can affect a person's mental health.

Turning vacant lots into gardens in urban areas brings much needed greenery to cities. Studies have shown that greenery is good for cardiovascular health, boosting concentration, and lower stress levels. A 2018 study found that the greening of vacant land significantly decreased self-reported feelings of depression. Urban gardens can also be a source of locally-sourced, fresh foods.

To see the potential of the urban garden, look no further than Cuba. When Havana's residents found themselves isolated and facing food scarcity following the collapse of the Soviet Union and embargoes against them, they began growing gardens of all sizes on balconies, in windowsills, and on roofs. To assist, the government launched new agriculture initiatives that included organic farming and urban gardening development. Instead of vacant lots going to waste, they became the sites of community agriculture.

7 Innovative Architectural Ideas With World-Changing Potential (3)

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According to the U.S. Geological Survey, as much as "70 percent of all the world's freshwater withdrawals go towards irrigation uses." Critics say many irrigation techniques are incredibly wasteful. But there might be a way to farm that uses much less water: Creating gardens in shipping containers.

Founded in 2013, Local Roots Farms creates what it calls "the world’s most productive indoor modular farming solutions," and their model has been hailed as "the farm of the future." Co-founder Daniel Kuenzi told Smithsonian in 2014 that each farm is capable of growing "the equivalent yield of five acres of conventional outdoor farming each year." Each uses hydroponics to cut water use by 80 percent or more, and the controlled environment also means the vegetables produced are pest- and pesticide-free. In addition, because the farms are inside, weather and climate aren't an issue; food can be grown year-round. "Whether it’s snowing, raining or 100 degrees outside, the 'weather' inside is just right for growing healthy plants," Kuenzi said. The contained farms can bring fresh, local food to "urban food deserts."

In addition, the farms are built in readily-available shipping containers (there are 700,000 unused containers languishing in the United States at any given time). "Shipping containers are durable, easy to modify, stackable and can be shipped anywhere," Kuenzi told Smithsonian. "Additionally, there is an abundant surplus of unused shipping containers in the United States that can be recycled and refurbished at low cost. This allows us the flexibility to have a farm on the ground and growing for our customers within weeks, rather than the months or even years required for traditional greenhouse construction."

FAQs

What is architectural innovation examples? ›

Architectural innovation refers to changing the overall design of a product by putting existing components together in new ways. This innovation occurs in the short to medium term. Examples: Winchester Disk Drives, Desktop Photocopiers & Multi-core Processors.

What are innovations in architecture? ›

Architectural innovation refers to the innovation of an architecture of any product that changes or modifies the way various components of the systems link or relate to each other.

How can architects change the world for the better? ›

It is architects that will enable society to make real progress towards sustainable living. Through clever design and new systems, they will work out how best to integrate alternative energy, energy efficiency, recycling, waste reduction, water management and more into our homes and workplaces.

What are the 4 types of innovation with examples? ›

What are the major types of innovation?
  • Radical innovation. As the name suggests, a radical innovation really changes the circumstances of a brand, whether in terms of market or of business dynamics. ...
  • Incremental innovation. ...
  • Disruptive innovation. ...
  • Technological innovation.
20 Jun 2022

What is an example of an innovation? ›

Examples of product innovations:

Lego has been changing the materials of its famous bricks to biodegradable oil-based plastics. The first electric vehicles introduced in the car's market were also an innovation, and new batteries with longer ranges that keep coming out are also an example of innovation.

What is the most important innovation? ›

The Greatest Inventions In The Past 1000 Years
InventionNotes
1Printing Pressallowed literacy to greatly expand
2Electric Lightpowered countless social changes
3Automobileincreased personal mobility and freedom
4Telephonespread communication across wide areas
6 more rows

Why is innovation important in architecture? ›

Innovation must ensure that architecture is constantly evolving – functionally and aesthetically. Most people spend 80-90 per cent of their time indoors, and when function and design complement one another, it can make a big difference to people's daily lives and well-being.

How does architecture influence your life? ›

Architecture has helped shape society by providing custom living spaces that give us comfort, good health, and safety. It also adds a sense of awe and intrigue to iconic structures throughout the world.

How does architecture impact us today? ›

The Importance of Architecture

At its roots, architecture exists to create the physical environment in which people live, but architecture is more than just the built environment, it's also a part of our culture. It stands as a representation of how we see ourselves, as well as how we see the world.

What can an architect contribute to the world? ›

Much more than designing buildings or whole communities, architects have a greater task. They're uniquely positioned to improve life on numerous levels for professional clients, cities and private individuals.

How do you develop design ideas? ›

You could:
  1. Produce sketches to show initial ideas. ...
  2. Experiment with visual elements, such as colour schemes, shapes, patterns or forms which relate to your sources of inspiration.
  3. Make fashion drawings on templates for fashion design work.
  4. Use fashion drawing templates to show how jewellery designs might fit on the body.

What is idea in architecture? ›

IDEA Architecture is a computer-aided design software (CAD) product that helps you create detailed 2D and 3D models and manufacturing schematics for architecture and home building projects.

What is good design in architecture? ›

Good Architectural Design is preparing clear instructions for constructing the building as planned. Good Architectural Designs tend to be identified as timeless artifacts, durable and reliable by the population and they shall be equally easier to maintain.

How do you write an innovative idea? ›

How to come up with innovative ideas
  1. Brainstorming ideas through Mind Mapping. When you typically think of a brainstorm, you may imagine yourself standing in front of a big whiteboard and trying to jot down every idea you have onto multiple pieces of paper. ...
  2. Mix up your surroundings. ...
  3. Take a break. ...
  4. Get feedback from others.
14 May 2020

What are the six meaning of innovation? ›

There are six stages in the process of innovation: generating ideas, capturing ideas, beginning innovation, developing a business-effectiveness strategy, applying business improvement, and decline. 1.

What makes a design innovative? ›

Design innovation supports creativity

Instead of creating a new product and then "selling" it the public, innovative design is a process of identifying, pinpointing, and understanding the needs of the user or audience. Once the need has been identified, a solution can then be designed.

What are the 5 methods of innovation? ›

Here are the five most-effective methods we've found thusfar.
  • Brainstorming: the Walt Disney method. We love brainstorming, and the Walt Disney Method is a simple technique for everyone to take part in. ...
  • Empathy Mapping. We are continuously looking for new methods. ...
  • Belbin Characters. ...
  • Remember the Future. ...
  • A Day In the Life.

What are benefits of innovation? ›

Some of the key practical benefits of innovation are:
  • improved productivity.
  • reduced costs.
  • increased competitiveness.
  • improved brand recognition and value.
  • new partnerships and relationships.
  • increased turnover and improved profitability.

What is the importance of innovation? ›

Innovation plays a key role in introducing novelty to existing product lines or processes, leading to increased market share, revenue, and customer satisfaction. Sometimes innovation is used to upgrade the operating systems of the business or to introduce modern technologies for automation.

How do you answer Tell me about a time you were innovative? ›

Example: "I'm best at coming up with ideas that solve an immediate problem and can make a process more efficient. Creating ideas that bring fast results and don't require a lot of steps is where I feel the most innovative. I'm also great at coming up with ideas on how so solve technical computer errors."

How can I be creative and innovative with ideas? ›

Here is a selection of things you can do at work to boost your innovation levels and foster creativity through the day.
  1. Optimise the atmosphere. ...
  2. Create a brainstorming wall. ...
  3. Encourage individuality. ...
  4. Allow for suggestions. ...
  5. Put suggestions into action. ...
  6. Start doing stand up. ...
  7. Place a ban on certain things. ...
  8. Buddy up.

What innovations are needed today? ›

Here are 10 innovations that have the potential to shape our future:
  • Emotional Artificial Intelligence. ...
  • Self driving cars. ...
  • New mobility innovations such as hyperfast trains. ...
  • Smart Homes. ...
  • Gene predictions. ...
  • Microchips and Human Augmentation. ...
  • Nanorobotics. ...
  • Robotics.
6 Jan 2021

What are the 10 most important invention? ›

What Are the 10 Greatest Inventions of Our Time?
  • The gasoline-powered automobile. ...
  • The moving picture. Entertainment always will be important to people. ...
  • The airplane. ...
  • Wireless Telegraphy. ...
  • The cyanide process. ...
  • The Nikola Tesla induction motor. ...
  • The Linotype machine. ...
  • The electric welding process of Elihu Thomson.
1 Nov 2013

What innovation has had the biggest impact on society? ›

1. The Printing Press. Gutenberg's first printing press. Prior to the rise of the Internet, no innovation did more for the spread and democratization of knowledge than Johannes Gutenberg's printing press.

Why open innovation is modern concept explain in detail? ›

Open innovation is the practice of businesses and organizations sourcing ideas from external sources as well as internal ones. This means sharing knowledge and information about problems and looking to people outside the business for solutions and suggestions.

What is radically innovative change? ›

Radical innovation is an invention that destroys or supplants an existing business model. Unlike architectural or incremental innovation, radical innovation blows up the existing system or process and replaces it with something entirely new.

What is modular innovation example? ›

A perfect example of modular Innovation is Tesla's Model X. It uses both management and engineering approaches to develop and modify its products and services. Tesla Model X comes with an autopilot driver assistance system and is an all-electric vehicle.

What are the examples of process innovation? ›

Process innovation can include changes in the equipment and technology used in manufacturing (including the software used in product design and development), improvement in the tools, techniques, and software solutions used to help in supply chain and delivery system, changes in the tools used to sell and maintain your ...

Why is innovation important in architecture? ›

Innovation must ensure that architecture is constantly evolving – functionally and aesthetically. Most people spend 80-90 per cent of their time indoors, and when function and design complement one another, it can make a big difference to people's daily lives and well-being.

What are the advantages of architectural innovation? ›

The main advantage of architectural innovation is that it comes with limited risks compared to other forms of innovation. As architectural innovation depends on existing technology, the costs are reduced. Companies are not researching and developing new technologies.

What is modular and architectural innovation? ›

While architectural innovations alter the connecting components of the product and thus the architecture, modular innovations do not change the architecture but they alter the entire concept on which the product is built, without changing the purpose of the product itself.

What are some innovative ideas that we can use in our daily life? ›

25 Innovative Ideas That Would Make Our Lives A Whole Lot Easier
  • Incredible water fountain design so that even dogs can drink some.
  • Swinging park benches depending on what view you want to soak in.
  • Notches in chairs to ensure that your bag does not slip off.
  • A phone-charging station where you pedal to get power.
9 Mar 2018

What are the seven steps in the innovation process? ›

Campbell breaks down the innovation process into a sequence of seven steps: preparation, exploration, incubation, insight, prototype and trial, planning and execution, and reflection and evaluation.

What are the 3 types of innovations? ›

Often, innovating involves approaching an existing idea or product from a new perspective with the goal of improving it. Although experts hardly agree on a definitive set of innovation types, there are generally three categories: product, process, and business model innovation.

Why open innovation is modern concept explain in detail? ›

Open innovation is the practice of businesses and organizations sourcing ideas from external sources as well as internal ones. This means sharing knowledge and information about problems and looking to people outside the business for solutions and suggestions.

What is the full meaning of architecture? ›

architecture, the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. The practice of architecture is employed to fulfill both practical and expressive requirements, and thus it serves both utilitarian and aesthetic ends.

What is radically innovative change? ›

Radical innovation is an invention that destroys or supplants an existing business model. Unlike architectural or incremental innovation, radical innovation blows up the existing system or process and replaces it with something entirely new.

What are the types of innovation in strategic management? ›

Innovation strategies can be classed as proactive, active, reactive and passive (Dodgson et al.

What is a modular innovation give 1 example? ›

A perfect example of modular Innovation is Tesla's Model X. It uses both management and engineering approaches to develop and modify its products and services. Tesla Model X comes with an autopilot driver assistance system and is an all-electric vehicle.

What is process innovation in business? ›

A process innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software.

What is an example of disruptive innovation? ›

People using smartphones instead of laptops and desktops for their computing needs, including web browsing and streaming, is another example of disruptive innovation. Technological enhancements have enabled cell phones to be equipped with small processors, chips, and software applications that support these functions.

What is routine innovation? ›

Routine innovation “builds on a company's existing technological competences and fits with its existing business model – and hence its customer base”. In other words, it's when companies play to their strengths. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is one of the most famous routine innovators.

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