While the Australian architecture sector is diverse in many ways, there are clear and distinct trends and patterns that are shaping, inspiring and aiding in the continued excellence of Aussie design.
A number of specific focuses, techniques and industry trends have been cropping up in this sector, and these trends are giving a very clear indication of what we can expect to see throughout the year, how these trends could evolve, and what they say about both the industry and this country.
In terms of a trending focus for the Australian architecture community, there is no greater ‘uber-trend’ than Green Building. As the carbon tax is set to take effect, climate change naysayers are on thin ground, allowing green innovation to hit the mass public and the industry at large. So strong is the shift, it can hardly even be seen as a trend anymore; in fact, it is becoming an industry staple.
The reason for its strong reception in Australia – after a notably sluggish start – is that it makes logical sense, for both the climate and our pocketbooks. The industry sees the value of green building due to the ‘green premium’ which is bolstered by the strong investment quality of green properties. Furthermore, Australia’s extreme climate lends itself to taking to green measures such as water tanks naturally.
This is a trend that is not going away. It is valued by the Australian people almost as much as the Australian architecture sector itself.
Over the past five years, Australian has undergone an extraordinary facelift. Local and state governments have driven what are commonly known as the Australian precinct development phases, in which major cities Australia-wide have received, and are continuing to receive, architecture-focused upgrades.
From the Perth Waterfront Project, Cairns’ latest – and largest – major entertainment precinct development and the highly acclaimed Barangaroo, government forces are thinking bigger and focusing funding on major community-based architectural projects rather than on singular buildings.
With the success of Melbourne’s Federation Square and ongoing Southbank precinct extension, this architectural trend is infusing a spark into the different cities and reinforcing their varied cultures and values through design.
Collaborative design is a trending architectural ideology that is changing the form of educational and office buildings. Traditional architectural moulds have been broken this year as the Australian industry enters the realm of using design to enhance communication, collaboration and creativity.
While this has been a growing architectural ideology in Europe for some time, the Australian architecture sector is slowly evolving to understand the psychology of modern workforces and learners, and reaping the rewards of creating buildings that encourage interaction and community.
Some of this country’s greatest design innovations have come from building small. As our cities rise in popularity, they also increase in density with cities like Melbourne set to see a mass population explosion due to its high liveability standards over the next 10 years.
Australian metropolitan families are living smaller for a number of reasons, including high housing costs, high living costs and a change in lifestyle goals – gone is the picket fence replaced by an inner-city high rise. Australians are also decreasing their carbon footprints.
In any event, designers are becoming more responsive to the needs of the Australian public and more innovative in their designs for living small.
Going almost hand in hand with the Australian trend of downsizing, is the increased use of the rooftop as an architectural landscape.
Not only are architects lapping up the use of city rooftops as the density crush increases, but the concept of green roofing is changing the ways in which the tops of buildings are now treated. The rooftop is a lucrative and exciting space for designers, and this trend is only set to increase.
Overall, architecture in Australia is trending positively. With global acclaim for this sector increasing on an almost daily basis this year, Aussie architects are certainly on the map, leading the world by example.