Buildings of the future may not be quite what you expect

Updated 6th November 2015
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world architecture festival cloud city
Buildings of the future may not be quite what you expect
Written by Zahra Jamshed, CNN
In the run up to this year's 8th annual World Architecture Festival in Singapore, we preview buildings shortlisted in some of the more unusual categories.
What will buildings look like in the future? If this week's World Architecture Festival (WAF) is any indicator, the built environment will become more modular, multi-purpose and sustainable.
This week over 100 shortlisted designs will compete in WAF's 12 future categories, covering sectors like housing, office spaces, cultural buildings and health centers.

Looking to nature

Many design practices are looking to nature for inspiration. "Cloud City" for example, is a 65-story multi-purpose complex that emulates cloud formations.
The building, conceived by the Union of Architects of Kazakhstan, consists of "cloud blocks" that separate housing, offices, hotels and shopping spaces. The blocks are purposely arranged to allow direct sunlight to pass into an interior atrium space.
The ISSA Grotto Hill House by PROARH is a holiday home located on the island of Vis in Greece. The building, which is set for completion in July 2016, takes design cues from caves and grottoes, and is intended to function as a holiday home as well as an agricultural space for growing olives.
The house is to be built into the side of a very steep hill meaning space is limited. As a response, architects at PROARH conceived the home as a man-made grotto using stone and concrete.
They revived traditional Mediterranean architecture techniques, such as the use of dry stone walls, used commonly in Greek architecture, as a way to cut and create space.

Notes from the past

The Reservoir by Sanjay Puri Architects is an office building that looks like a brick recreation of India's ancient stepwells. The building is designed to fit around an existing body of water, and collects rainwater into the reservoir through the township's harvesting system. It can hold enough water for 40 days' worth of requirements for the entire township.
Besides being a source of water, stepwells were once places for social gatherings.
This modern take, which uses its natural collection of water to run the building, also encourages community interaction, with open-stepped platforms along the site's contours.
Architects are also looking to reduce the cost of running buildings. The China Green Canal Museum, a cultural building located on China's Great Canal, is one example. The structure, designed by Singapore-based Archiland Consultant International company, is partially suspended over the canal.
This allows for light to bounce off the water and be directed indoors. This natural lighting is intended to help reduce energy costs.
Naturally lit buildings and the addition of solar panels are just some architectural trends we're seeing incorporated into future designs.
To see more highlights from the World Architecture Festival future categories, scroll through the gallery above.