New collaborations, sustainable solutions, and industry innovation are subtly changing the architecture of communities everywhere. And the dynamics of the Canadian home are changing, too—trending deeper into city centres where shifting climates and populations shape design demand.

The future is bright for students pursuing architectural design careers. Modern training and trends keep the architecture industry moving forward. The right training will give you the skills and knowledge you need to secure your place.

If you’re planning to enroll in architectural design courses, or you’ve recently started your program, read on to learn more about 5 architectural design trends that are taking the industry by storm.

1. Prefabricated Buildings: Back to the Architectural Future

Prefabricated buildings are structures made of factory-produced pieces that are designed, manufactured, shipped out, fit together, and built upon again and again. Once you earn your diploma, you might find yourself using this prefabrication technology to design a space that can be replicated worldwide.

The idea of prefabricated buildings isn’t new—it’s an architectural mainstay of some early communist eastern European countries who used it as a way to quickly and cheaply rebuild after WWII.

But the method has merits to it, and today’s architectural designers are exploring its sunnier side. Prefabricated architectural pieces can now be modern and complex, making it easy for builders to install quality premade elements just like puzzle pieces.

2. Collaboration in Architectural Design

Graduates of architecture training work with a variety of people, from construction labourers to architects to electricians and beyond. And the current architectural design scene is adding science and policy specialists to the mix.

Experts say collaboration with system leaders is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for meeting complex structural needs.

“We are already seeing today broad design teams that include social anthropologists and environmental scientists who are creating nurturing, sustainable and meaningful environments,” says Connecticut-based architect Jay Brotman. “In the future we will see policy makers joining these teams which will

[create] a more holistic perspective.”


3. Architectural Innovation Reshapes Existing Space

Architectural CAD programs teach students to use state-of-the-art digital processes in creating their architectural designs. CAD technology is paving the way for architectural designers to optimize existing spaces to serve brand new functions.

Rustic industrial spaces, churches, factories, and buildings with historical character all have features that are difficult to recreate in modern design. Architectural designers are the experts who use technology to give old buildings a new spin. It’s a widespread trend, mainly as it allows companies to produce cost-effective yet visually interesting offices, businesses, and homes.

4. Architectural Design Meets the “Shop-Top” Trend

As more and more people want to live in city centres, urban architecture is sprawling upwards as well as outwards. Because prime downtown real estate is usually occupied by downtown social hotspots, shopping districts, and cultural centres, the emerging solution is to design quality spaces on the floors above such shops. Industry insiders have dubbed this “shop-top” living.

“It’s the biggest revival I’ve seen,” says Malcom Gunning, leading Australian real estate analyst.

He says over the next few years, design professionals must adapt to the idea of permanent housing on a “higher level.”  A shop-top focus is the best way forward for “providing access to great locations in the heart of everything.”

5. Promoting Sustainability through Architecture

One of the biggest design trends today is a shift away from energy overconsumption, carbon emissions, and excess waste creation. Studies show that a home’s heating cost and ecological footprint can be reduced by innovative architectural designers.

Green materials are also on the rise, with recycled and biodegradable materials appealing to eco-conscious clients. In fact, this summer, Canadian architectural experts even designed the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper.

With your own architecture design training, you can make your mark on the world and take communities to new heights.