New Building Trends Paving the Way for Innovation

As the holiday season kicks in and 2015 comes to a close, we’re taking a look at a few building trends that have emerged and sustained themselves so far this year. Engineers, architects, and construction professionals have become increasingly interested in sustainable designs and temporary structures that are resilient and often incorporate alternative materials.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the cutting-edge trends that have shaped the industry this year.

Eco-Friendly Towers

Buildings are getting taller, but not at the expense of the environment. For example, Vo Trong Nghia Architects in Vietnam proposed condos for Ho Chi Minh City that add green space to the crowded environment. The Diamond Lotus project would give residents relief from the sun and air pollution and provide homes for over 700 families.

MAD Architects proposed vertical-living ideas to create a high-density urban village in Los Angeles as well. Cloud Corridor is aimed at tackling LA’s urban sprawl and green space issues. These towers would allow residents to move between buildings without having to go down to the ground floor.


And urban planners at the University of Chicago have been developing sustainable towers to offset the effects of climate change. Green technology is driving new aesthetics, and more and more skyscrapers are taking an eco-friendly approach. “Increasing demand will shape the future,” says Kheir Al-Kodmany, professor of urban planning and policy. “Ultimately, the eco-tower that embraces the technology of an era, local culture and the environment while being cost-effective will set the path.”

These are some of the features of today’s eco-friendly towers:

  • Planters on facades
  • Bamboo for natural shade
  • Footpaths and sidewalks
  • Outdoor seating areas
  • Computerized mirrors to reflect light
  • Solar panels
  • Garden spaces
  • Viewing platforms

Pop-Up Shops

These days, more employees are working from home and adhering to flexible work schedules. To accommodate the needs of mobile and freelance-style businesses, many new commercial buildings require temporary workspaces and retail areas. One German agency, Dittel Architekten, created the Pop Up Box, which is a large cube that can be incorporated into empty spaces and easily transported.

This type of structure can be used in a variety of industries and meet the needs of the modern business. Key features include outside screens for digital presentations, spotlight mounting positions, and floor boxes to provide power to sections of the unit.

Alternative Building Materials

Wood and steel may always have their place in construction, but innovative companies are experimenting with some really interesting alternative materials to solve common problems these days. New York City-based Arnon Rosan created EverBlock, which is modeled after everyone’s favorite Lego toys…just in extra-large sizes.


EverBlocks can be used to build furniture, create dividing walls, and even build a full shelter without glue or special tools. They add color and whimsy to any living or office space and interlock with applied force when stacked together.

“We haven’t sold any blocks yet for military or relief use, but I think it’s only a matter of time until governments and aid agencies see the value in having a rapidly deployable building system that is so versatile and re-useable,” Rosan said. “It would be possible to add a simple corrugated metal roofing or even a tent/style roof.”

Photo credits: MAD Architects, EverBlock

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