Chairman, New London Architecture Centre; London Mayor’s Design Advocate
In the last 50 years society has witnessed an exponential rise in technology fundamentally changing the way we live, work and play. Mankind is now at a critical point on this exponential curve, with recent technological developments providing only a tantalising glimpse of what is to come. In juxtaposition, whilst the previous half-century has delivered some impressive feats of high-rise engineering, the evidence suggests our current paradigms are delivering diminishing returns in many areas of design and construction, including materials science, engineering mechanics, logistics, data management and construction technology.
With technology expected to drive further transformation of our society, smart, self-sufficient, sustainable buildings, that are both virtually and physically connected to communities, will be at the heart of our urban infrastructure. The influence of such shifting societal patterns on the underlying demand for high-rise in the next 50 years, including occupancies, economics and architecture, remains uncertain. This presentation will argue that, whilst a demand exists for urban densification, the exponential pace of technological change will drive forward new paradigms in our industry and give rise to a new era in the design and construction of tall buildings; offering significant returns in terms of performance, design efficiency and construction cost. This new world of integrated high-rise design and construction will be completely digitised, featuring virtual collaborative environments, the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across the full project life-cycle, combined additive and modular construction methods utilising nano-engineered materials, the merging of permanent and temporary works systems, self-assembling structures and fully autonomous robotic construction. The future of high-rise construction will be limited only by our ability to imagine and wonder.