In the future, stats point to higher population densities as well as more widespread adoption of an open concept living situation in part spurred by diminishing personal spaces. This diminishing is going to cause situations where the shape of living spaces will become quite a bit more important in order to thwart the living in a cube lifestyle.
I think after a certain point, in order to achieve profitable densities of living spaces, individual living areas will reach a point of minimum size. I am not sure what that size is but there’ll also be a homogenization amongst builders, making certain location/price point spaces nearly identical in terms of square footage.
Some form of differentiation must occur and this will either be achieved through ornamentation or from a more ground-up attempt where architects will parse individuality from more interesting shapes of space. Trending suggests that ornamentation probably will not be the solution sought as it adds extra costs – and costs that could quickly be cut. The solution will come at the architectural stage, rather than at a finishing stage.
There will be interesting solutions being drawn up that will take into account some form of individuality as well as space efficiencies in future buildings. Being that open concept is seemingly the way of the future, I think we’ll initially see angularity in the shapes of living spaces. Probably subtly angled walls and hallways, any more than this and we’ll run into the situation where our square things just won’t fit, not to mention all of these spaces will have to nest into each other in the grand building plan.
The thought that I’m most excited about is that this angular period should give way to more curvilinear spaces. It will become just as easy to create a gracefully curved wall as would to create angular ones. Rooms will flow into the next, while still imbuing some hint of task spaces, in the culmination of a usable open concept situation.
Obviously, at this point in time, this idea can merely be my own pipe dream. There are a lot of sticky points about all this, not the least of which being the apparent difficulty of builders to create curved features easily. At the same time, there are other trends that seem to point us to that direction in the future.
Taking the pulse of concept architecture, there seems to be a lot of interest in a curved future. Many of the sky-scrapers on the boards today are stepping as far away from the monoliths and the wedges of modernism. Some of them are changing for stylistic reasons and others for the technological benefit, like improved aerodynamics for the winds in which these buildings live.
Aside from the easy future, the far more conceptual work of the generative architects points considerably more toward curvilinear thoughts. In this work, no one makes a Gropius rectangle.
I really don’t think it will lead us to the Karim Rashid or Luigi Colani bubble future – at least not in the next 60 years. I think though we’re going to be living in a far more organic space within 20 years and it’s very interesting to consider all of the subtle changes that will ad up when we transition between cube world to curved.