By 2050, Buildings Of The Future Could Defend Human Life During Extreme Conditions
The world is changing.
Terrorist attacks and devastating weather conditions are topping headlines as climate change and rising sea levels lead to high death tolls and millions in damage to commercial buildings. As a result, industry professionals are working to position their real estate holdings to withstand future conditions.
“The building industry will change significantly over the next few decades as advances in technologies create the ability to better monitor and build resilient buildings and infrastructure,” Radical Galaxy Studio founder Matthew Shaffer said.
One study in particular conducted by the Infuture Hatalska Foresight Institute in Poland predicts that by 2050, eco-friendly and self-sufficient buildings that can sustain human life in any future scenario will emerge as a potentially viable solution.
"The future is the unknown and it always will be. What we can know are the scenarios of the future," Infuture Hatalska Foresight Institute CEO and Head of Foresight Natalia Hatalska said. "We have to remember that the future is never singular — there are different versions of it."
Buildings of the future are expected to be fluid and able to transform themselves by using sensors and artificial intelligence to detect changing conditions outside of the structure, including significant weather events, terrorist attacks and asteroid events. Structures will also be able to create energy from within to provide residents with a safe and comfortable interior if the need comes.
While this concept may seem far-fetched, there are already technological advances in place that could eventually facilitate such architecture.
“By using technologies such as advanced Building Information Modeling techniques and IoT technologies, real estate developers, engineers, architects and city planners can simulate how different structures perform under extreme scenarios during the planning and development phase, along with using sensors to monitor current infrastructures’ structural integrity," Shaffer said.
The Next 50 Years – Autonomous Buildings Defend Residents
Taking such a scenario into account, Gdansk University of Technology in Poland created a blueprint for the design of a massive seed-like structure that would act as a self-sufficient unit.
Built with a highly flexible and durable shield, the building, coined Seedizen, would even be able to withstand an apocalypse.
The structure would be able to breathe, digest, feed and defend itself by being built with raw materials that would allow it to create its own living cell system.
"Self-sufficiency is driven not only by a trend, but also by more and more rigorous eco-requirements and people’s awareness about limited resources," Skanska Property Poland Innovation Manager Renata Nowakowska said.
Seedizen would collect solar and wind energy in order to power itself, and clean water would be obtained through its own underground roots, which would grow naturally in order to secure it firmly to the ground.
Both food and rainwater would be recovered from the top of the building as that area would get the most sunlight.
Should a disaster occur and potentially damage the exterior, Seedizen would be created to ensure those inside would be able to live in the building indefinitely.
Atlantis 2100: A Self-Sufficient Building Atop Water
In the case of an extreme flooding incident, Gdansk University of Technology also imagined a self-sufficient building that would be on the water.
Dubbed Atlantis 2100, the building was designed to replicate the shape of a tree with a core that extends out from the water. The top portion of the structure would filter carbon dioxide and purify air for residents on the interior. A control room in the bottom would cool the building by using the water surrounding it, while energy would be collected and powered by the sun, wind and sea waves.
Apartment units, offices, public institutions, recreational space, an eco-farm and technical facilities would all be contained within Atlantis 2100, ensuring people could live freely and safely inside if it were no longer feasible to live on Earth's surface.
Like many futuristic designs, the building would be eco-friendly and would use natural resources to fuel itself — an element that is becoming increasingly essential.
"If we know [the scenarios] beforehand, we can get prepared. Knowing the scenarios [allows us to] ignite the discussion about the future we desire, about the future we don't know and the one that we are afraid of," Hatalska said.