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Top 10 Most Likely Architectural Advancements in Next 50 Years

 Floating city

A list of the top 10 Most Likely Architectural Advancements of the next fifty years has been offered by a panel of experts including award-winning architects Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess; urbanist Linda Aitken; and Dr Rhys Morgan, director of engineering and education, the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The expansion of cities will continue, with humans both burrowing deep down to carve out more living space and launching floating cities linked by floating roads to the shoreline to adapt to rising sea levels due to climate change.

To feed themselves, high-rise vertical indoor farms and roof top gardens and pastures will be built, confirming the predictions of experts in our recent webinar on the topic.

Space travel and 3-D printed homes also feature in the list, which has been compiled for a television series about the future of architecture and engineering that premiered this week called Impossible Engineering.

Top 10 Most Likely Architectural Advancements

Top 10 Most Likely Architectural Advancements





Super deep basements



Floating sea cities



High-rise or rooftop farms



3D printed homes



Buildings with their own micro climates



Huge bridges that span entire cities



Spaceports with easy access to the Moon / Mars



Super high buildings – cities in the sky



Underwater cities



Collapsible / stackable living pods


"We may build downwards, creating additional space through super deep basements, or we may need to create floating conurbations on major rivers or even out to sea. And how we grow and access food, incorporating urban farming into the built environment, as well as harnessing natural energy sources, will result in dramatically different streetscapes and skylines," commented Linda Aitken.

"There is rarely a 'eureka' moment," when it comes to advances, according to Dr Morgan. "Engineering feats which are currently out of reach require time for the pieces to fit together and the minds responsible for developing the ideas to work through all the wrong avenues before achieving what is currently impossible," he added.

TV channel Yesterday's General Manager Adrian Wills said: "Rapid technological advances coupled with increases in population and global warming will have a huge influence on how we live, with underground, super high rise and even floating homes likely to feature in our future cityscapes. Impossible Engineering shows how a series of seemingly unconnected breakthroughs can be put together to create amazing feats of engineering, but anything could happen in the next 50 years."

Topping the poll was super deep basements. The idea of multi-layered basement extensions is already beginning to materialise, particularly in high-value, densely-populated areas of London, and future homes look likely to have as many floors below ground as they do above.

Floating sea cities that may harness solar and tidal energy were voted the next most likely development (30%), followed by urban high rise farms where crops and animals are kept in tall, layered structures that combat space shortages (28%). 3D printed homes that can be bought 'off the shelf' (22%) and buildings with their own micro-climates that mean we can live in previously uninhabitable areas (21%) complete the top five.

House of Commons

The program explores a super-deep basement below London's Houses of Parliament, with six levels of living and functional spaces including: gardens, parks, swimming pools, gyms, hotels, a football pitch and a secure bunker – designed to meet the future needs of MPs offering them a place where they can work late into the night, keep healthy with gym, pool and food outlets on site as well as accommodating offices for their staff teams and accommodation for those attending votes late at night. Also a glass pyramid atrium which sits under the Palace of Westminster itself, functioning as a light well for the pyramid.

urban farm

One in three (30%) UK citizens apparently believe that floating cities would be a viable option for the future, with 10% preferring the idea of developing underwater cities and 19% thinking floating living pods on major rivers would solve the problem of inner-city crowding, according to the channel.

A flooating city would have a reef-like structure formed on the water, with interlinking pods allowing for living space. The use of glass and bone structures would reflect sea-life and help to set the floating city within its environment.

The likely increasing global population will catalyse the development of structures such as high-rise farms (15% would like to see these) and cities in the sky that build upwards in levels on top of each other (preferred by 13%).