Five Big Design Ideas for 2019

Disruptive technologies and a new relevance for sustainability will drive architecture and design

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With the economy holding steady and construction starts climbing up three percent, 2018 was a good year of business for the A&D industry. By all accounts this broad trend of growth will continue into early 2019, but it’s a different matter altogether where political and cultural currents are concerned. Stern warnings around climate change and weather incidents like the heat waves and floods of this past summer have made architects and designers pay more attention than ever to sustainable design. Meanwhile, changing lifestyles and workstyles, especially around technology, have generated innumerable conversations around data, artificial intelligence, driverless cars, and smart cities. All of this indicates some key shifts for architecture and design next year:

Watchcase Factory in the Hamptons, NY; a commercial/residential historical replacement project featuring Andersen Windows

Reuse and renovation are the need of the hour

While we all love sustainable new buildings, we cannot hope to make a positive impact on our planet if we don’t update existing building stock to make it perform better. AIA president Carl Elefante has said that adaptive reuse will soon represent a third of all architectural practice in the United States, as renovation starts to make more economic as well as ecological sense. In hospitality, residential, and workplace design, architects and interior designers will take on the creative challenge of transforming historic buildings to suit contemporary needs.

Watchcase Factory utilizes Andersen’s E-Series; Double-hung windows with Colonial grilles; custom interior color; custom exterior color

Sustainability gets personal

Against the backdrop of ominous tidings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the cause-driven Millennial generation is beginning to realize that green architecture goes beyond energy efficiency and carbon accounting—it’s also about creating spaces that are healthy for the inhabitants and do good for society at large. Wellness initiatives in offices, hospitals, or hotels will become integrated with sustainability efforts, and rightly so.

New, net-zero home construction in Roseville, MN, utilizing Andersen Architectural Collection A-Series Casement and Picture Windows

Image Courtesy of Andersen Windows

Data transforms the design process

Corporations and institutions might be investing in sophisticated data gathering technologies for their own interests—evaluating employee needs or exploiting market opportunities—but the proliferation of sensors and wearables is putting more information at the disposal of architects and designers than ever before. When the behaviors and preferences of users become observable and quantifiable, design will have to respond. Expect to see data analysts become even more integral to design teams everywhere.

Image Courtesy of Steelcase

Connected Living goes mainstream

Smart technologies have now been part of the home for half a decade, especially in HVAC, lighting systems, and security systems. In the coming year, we will hear more about people getting comfortable with sensors and wearables in other scenarios—at work, in senior living facilities, and in hospitality spaces—opening up new possibilities for technology, but also debates around privacy and accessibility to data.

Image Courtesy of Kevin Gaunt

Plastics like you’ve never seen before

For some time now, organic and natural materials have been designers’ first choices. The reputation of plastics and synthetic composites fell—some might say deservedly—with images of ocean plastic strangling marine life haunting us, and the toxicity of several widely-used chemicals becoming well known. But in the past year, we have seen a spate of interest in bioplastics and other sustainable synthetics in student projects and corporate initiatives around the world. It seems safe to bet that manmade materials will make a comeback.

Image Courtesy of Charlotte Kidger


To learn more about how to apply some of 2019’s most innovative trends to window design and applications, visit our partner, Andersen Windows and Doors, and see how the company is interpreting and applying these design trends. 

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