Smart cities and the architecture of the future

09/03/2021

Smart cities and the architecture of the future

The term “smart cities” is cropping up more and more in the media and in conversations, but what does it actually mean? A “smart city” is defined as an interconnected system that applies new technologies to ensure the efficient use of energy resources in elements such as transport, public and private spaces, communication and the commercial fabric of cities. As the IESE Cities in Motion Index shows, nowadays cities need to develop strategic planning processes that enable them to adapt to new innovation pathways and the constantly changing environment. Architecture undoubtedly has a crucial role to play in the design of a smart city and is a driving force behind the emergence of new building techniques to meet the planned objectives. In today's post we tell you about some of the most interesting ones.

What will the architecture of the future look like?

The development of smart cities has been accompanied by the appearance of the related term “smart buildings”. These types of buildings aim to deliver complete energy efficiency through the integrated management and automated control of all their systems. 

One of the main challenges facing buildings today is the so-called eco-friendly technique. The primary objectives of this model are to save energy by recycling materials during the construction of the building and to integrate renewable energies in the design by installing solar panels on the roof, creating building-integrated wind turbines, using biogas, and fitting water treatment and reuse systems into the building itself.

Another technique that is becoming very widespread is steel framing, which consists in creating a structure of rolled steel to form the building skeleton. The reason for using this material is that the properties of steel – low corrosion and high durability – provide protection for the environment, and it is also easy to recycle.

Perhaps one of the best-known techniques is 3D printing. Although certain aspects of large-scale construction still need to be refined, this technique allows the use of sustainable materials like bioplastics in the creation of buildings, considerably reducing construction times.

Building information modelling is another technique that is rapidly gaining ground. This consists in creating digital simulations of designs to be able to exercise rigorous control over all the information that goes into executing an architectural project. The models obtained from this system may include the real products and materials that will be used in the buildings themselves, as well as details of the geometry, features, costs and contact information to acquire them once they have been approved. This working method allows architects, clients, builders, engineers and all the other key players to collaborate easily and quickly, helping to keep the project costs within budget.

What will the interior of buildings look like?

Most constructions will be managed through IoT (Internet of Things) systems, i.e. building and home automation tools. For example, electronic devices will control the air conditioning, lighting and security, delivering more safety and accessibility for users.

Smart buildings will certainly make everyday life both safer and easier, but it is undoubtedly their ability to reduce energy consumption that will be key to the development of smart cities.

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