Top Five Trends in Sustainable Architecture for 2014 S

Prefabricated Architecture

When architects such as Jean Prouvé and Charles Eames began experimenting with buildings made using off-the-shelf components following the Second World War, little did they know that technology would one day allow buildings to be created from kits cut by a computer anywhere in the world. The basic premise behind prefabricated construction is the capability to manufacture the parts needed to craft a building offsite and then assemble them swiftly, reducing the amount of labour and time required. There are many different methods and materials that can be used to attain this aim and digital technologies and modern engineering have released new opportunities in this area.


Despite globalisation which homogenises everything in its path, the intrinsic connection with materials still prevails in architecture. Furthermore, the forces of nature and the structural power of exotic plastics, timber, hybrid fibers and concrete dictate a unique approach to architecture, where the continued experimentation with materials will start to determine what we build with and, inevitably, how we build.

Moments and Experience in Space: exercises in marking the landscape

Small works of architecture are appearing across the planet on the basis of new experimental architectural design practices and attitudes. These ‘moments of experience’ are set to become points within space where new architectural technologies and practices are introduced and demonstrated going forward.

Pop Up’s: temporary contemporary architecture

Contemplating this range, from temporary stadia to miniature transitory event spaces, pop-up architecture realises many roles and happens in many guises. In some cases the very latest technologies are used to engineer complex structures, while in others, a ready-made approach using scavenged materials is more appropriate. This trend in temporary architecture will set the stage for a new way of looking at, inhabiting and appropriating space within the urban and rural spaces.

Greening of the Urban Landscape

With the increased urban densification and congestion, the issues of climate change, energy efficiency and sustainability are pushing for the urban regeneration agenda. Looking towards pedestrian friendly and walk-able streets and cities, there is an escalating move towards considered, integrated green spaces in towns and cities worldwide, and thus the form which these green spaces are taking is changing.

Philippa Tumubweinee is a senior lecturer at the Department of Architecture, the University of the Free State and a juror on the AfriSam-SAIA Award for Sustainable Architecture. Entry forms and further details on the Award can be found at and the closing date is 16 March 2014.

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