Shelter is one of the most basic human concepts. We have been building permanent dwellings for around 10,000 years. Today, many of us visit a variety of different buildings, properties, and structures every single day, including our homes and workplaces. One thing that offices, schools, banks, restaurants, supermarkets, and libraries all have in common is their impact on the environment.

A future built environment is coming where 80% of the global population will live in densely packed cities. Global megatrends, including urbanization, an aging population, digital transformation, and, more recently, changing work patterns and behaviors, will place unprecedented demands on our buildings, cities, and infrastructure. Architecture and environmental design used to be about form, space layout, and sound design. They are now a complex, multi-disciplinary activity where health and wellbeing, energy resource consumption, digital transformation, and public health are inextricably connected.

Across the world, many innovative sustainable architecture projects have made an impact on the design world in recent years. New buildings should be designed utilizing recycled rainwater, integrating plants and green space into both indoor and outdoor spaces, and including in-built renewable energy alternatives.

Ecological design is filtering into just about every field of architecture, from public to private residences, and from office spaces to educational institutes. We’ve all heard of grass roofs, living walls and vertical planting, but these are just the initial steps on the road to sustainable architecture. Smart buildings regulate their own temperature, control the natural light in the building for heating and cooling, and direct natural ventilation from outside. Some buildings use pool or pond-like features to enhance cooling, and others recycle rainwater.

With cities constantly growing, the need for greenery is greater than ever. Regular access to nature is proven to have quantifiable benefits for mental and physical health, and to improve quality of life. Our buildings are becoming smarter, and they are adapting to a future world where climate change is a significant design consideration. From schools, hospitals, offices, retail, and transport infrastructure, every type of building has an evolving set of design parameters that need to be correctly understood, modeled, and fixed from the early design phase up to the technical detailing.