by Matt Lee,
Outreach Coordinator, Kebony
To better improve the commercial and residential areas of St. Louis, it is important to look towards advancements in building design and construction. The world of architecture and design is constantly evolving, bringing with it certain trends. While not every trend is worthy of consideration, there are certainly new idea in design and manufacturing of alternative materials that positively shift the industry.
When considering the construction of new buildings and the renovation of old, looking towards the future will help ensure these buildings will stand strong and include technological advancements that allow for reduced maintenance costs. Providing safer, superior buildings and homes will only bring benefit to those in St. Louis.
Advancements in Material Technology
A solid blueprint for a building's design will ensure a stable structure, but the materials used in the building will truly dictate its durability and longevity. Material manufacturers are consistently trying to improve upon their current products by bringing in new advancements in design while new companies offering innovative materials are also popping up. While traditional building materials are tried-and-true, selecting smarter materials is highly recommended.
Passing up poured cement walls for insulated concrete block systems helps create a stronger building envelope. The use of wood alternatives in construction helps to eliminate weaknesses associated with traditional timber-framed buildings. Materials like fiber cement siding are taking over as a tougher yet beautiful siding option that can stand up to the worst storms. Advances in wood flooring has lead to incredible engineered wood flooring options that outlast typical wood flooring.
Designing More Sustainable Buildings
Sustainability is a phrase on every architect and building designer's tongues as of late. Commercial buildings in particular used a tremendous amount of energy and tend to have a negative impact on the environment. Green building design is quickly catching on here in the States, though it has been in effect for quite a while overseas. Urban areas are particularly good regions in which to practice sustainable building.
Sustainable buildings may feature unique designs like vegetative roof systems or carefully placed smart glass to aid in heat reflection. Sustainable buildings are often highly insulated, which allows for reduced HVAC costs throughout the year. Sustainable materials, like modified wood, are becoming more common across a variety of buildings as structure as well as siding.
Considering Evolution of Workspace Needs
The interior design of commercial buildings is also changing quite quickly, especially in larger cities. The traditional idea of closed of cubicles and walled-off offices is being replaced with more open floor plans. These function more as workspaces and invite vital collaboration. Individual desks may be replaced with sturdy, extended working surfaces, perhaps made of hardwood plywood for beauty and longevity. These types of buildings also benefit from smart thermostat systems to reduce heating and cooling needs. Expansive windows will allow for natural lighting while automated blind system will reduce glare without human intervention.
Bringing More Green Space to Urban Areas
Green space is a term used to describe planted areas on and around buildings that bring a positive benefit to both people and the environment. From an environmental perspective adding more green spaces will help local wildlife as well as reduce the urban heat island effect. From a human perspective, countless studies have shown a strong correlation between being in nature and an increased sense of wellness in people. Offices that offer outdoor green areas for employees to take a break often see an increase in productivity. Health centers also see faster healing in patients that spend some time in a natural, green space.
Reducing the amount of concrete and adding in more park-like settings, even if very simple, has tremendous benefit. If space around a building doesn't allow for this, green or living roofs are another option that also have many other advantages as well.
The future of building design and construction shows strong progression towards sustainability and energy-efficiency for obvious reasons. The United States as a whole is well-aware of changes in climate, but regardless of personal views on the matter, everyone can agree that reducing energy costs and negative effects on the environment is important. St. Louis can greatly benefit from looking into these types of construction and design ideas now in order to see excellent results in the future.