The world we live in is a busy place, and all signs point to it just getting busier. These days, it seems that everybody is on the run and on the list of priorities; careers seem to take a top position. As superior technology leads us into a revolution of seamless communication worldwide, human beings have never been more connected. Everything has become instantaneous and people expect their commute to run as seamless and expedient as the rest of their technology-driven lives.
For architects, this poses a number of big questions. How does one go about designing well for a mass of people always on the move? Architects inherently look towards structures that are built to last, but these days, people function in a world that moves and changes quickly. While these paradox situations can be tricky, they are far from impossible to combine—it just takes a little soul-searching and a lot of patience.
One of the biggest questions that has come up for architects in the modern world is how the question of commuting affects their work and designs. Movement changes everything, including the basic layout of cities and countries. As commuting continues to become a more common situation for the average household, it’s important that architects look at how this affects what they set out to do within their designs.
There is no doubt that urban spaces are on the rise and filling up and expanding quickly. As jobs and opportunities move people out of the country and into the city, commuting becomes an enormous issue. Many people choose to work in the city and live on the outskirts to save money…but definitely not time.
This is where commuting plays its biggest role. As commuting patterns become increased, more efficient and more common place, architects are going to have to revise their expectations. An increase in urban numbers and commuting patterns means more people in a smaller space with increased infrastructure and increased architectural competition. The winners in this race of urbanization will be the architects who not only know how to create a stunning structure, but also understands urban needs and how to make his or her building fit into a mass skyline.
This will take an architect with a vision for the future that is ready to dig into some major urbanization.
Building for Buses and Other Public Transportation
Commuting in and of itself presents some interesting facets. Public transportation plays a big role in this mass movement, as those who cannot afford to drive their own vehicles into cities or choose not to in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint take the bus, subway or other mass transit line.
For architects, this is going to be a test of incorporation. Future buildings, terminals or stations will have to work seamlessly into public transportation routes, or even cover their tracks. Grand Central station in New York City is an ideal example of the place where architecture and mass transit meet.
If an architect can create a building that stirs emotion in people, yet works efficiently as a mass transit depot, they’ve done their job well.
Don’t Forget About Nature
A society running on hyper-speed that commutes endlessly can easily cause an architect to turn away from the natural world and look exclusively towards the modern mode.
However, it’s going to be essential to hang onto those natural instincts and learn to incorporate nature into urban architecture. While people may flock to cities, at their core they still need contact with the open, natural world.
It’s for this reason that many skyscrapers are built entirely to reflect the earth and sky. In a city of commuters, it’s going to be much more important for architects to find ways to incorporate the beauty of nature into a building built for urban life. Many architects incorporate atriums into their designs, allowing for expansive views of the sky and creating a feeling of openness. With today’s modern technologies, there are endless options, but let’s not forget about our natural world and its ability to soothe us during our hectic lives.
It’s a fact: Urbanization is on the rise. Commuting will continue to increase in popularity, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy or fun task for anyone involved. As an architect, it’s important to take the population’s general experience and create something inspiring that fits into their world.
Commuting can be a daunting, crowded and stressful experience as a person inches towards their destination bombarded by advertising along their urban route. Architecture is going to have to become even more inspiring. A structure that reaches through the mundane and stressful commute and provokes emotion in someone passing by is worth creating.
Architecture is going to have to become more powerful than the advertising that litters a city street.
It’s hard to say just how far cities will expand, or how far the average person will commute in the next ten years.
What can be said is that those architects who set out to help design the very cities that are lived in and commuted to and from are charged with the very important job of keeping cities beautiful, efficient and inspiring.
Creating designs that provide beauty and functionality in a world that’s always moving might just get a few people to stop along the route and admire. That’s always a moment worth striving for.
What do you strive for in your architectural designs?