Rapid changes are being made to the way our houses are designed to make them more energy efficient, adaptable, and sustainable.
The rate of technological advance is also changing their appearance, making it hard to predict what futuristic house design might look like. As well as visual changes, it’s exciting to think about where this will lead in terms of the materials chosen to build better homes in the future.
To investigate how things may be evolving, the home insurance team at Comparethemarket partnered with architect Chris Lawson, managing director of CK Architectural, to look at futuristic house designs and materials.
Keyword information was fed into the Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool MidJourney which produced images of how our homes may look in years to come. The research focused on five major UK cities: London, Manchester, Belfast, Edinburgh, and Cardiff, and five international cities: Paris, Dubai, Amsterdam, New York, and Toronto.
The findings highlight greater use of green architecture such as living walls, and building materials made from concentrated fungus which can store carbon, helping cities become more sustainable. Measures like these will ensure that new build homes can help us live more harmoniously with nature.
Let’s look at the futuristic designs that AI is coming up with.
In London, it seems we can expect houses to be built from fast-growing timber to prevent the use of 1,000-year-old trees in the construction industry. As demonstrated by the house above, green architecture is also expected to feature strongly.
This AI-generated modern house in Belfast included metal cladding in its sustainable design.
In the Edinburgh house above, solar panels which work without direct sunlight are a key feature.
AI predicts personal wind turbines becoming commonplace in Cardiff houses as we begin to harness wind power, as shown in this futuristic home.
Manchester’s AI-generated house featured large, mirrored panels acting as solar panels capturing and reflecting excess light energy to lower panels. Reflecting energy on different parts of the surrounding area can help promote more diverse surroundings by allowing sunlight to reach the darkest places.
Building in sympathy with the natural world
Chris Lawson commented that the AI findings predict a focus on creating homes that can `live more harmoniously with nature.’ The AI designs for London and Edinburgh feature living walls and concentrated fungus as a building component, which he added is likely due to cities needing to be more sustainable on a `monumental level.’
The research also investigated what a futuristic house in other countries could look like: these results also reflected the need to adapt to changing requirements and weather patterns. AI was instructed to work out how future homes in Toronto, Dubai, Amsterdam, Paris, and New York might be designed.
This image of a Toronto home envisages a carbon block construction: these have good thermal values and are made by scrubbing carbon out of the air.
Solar panels are a major feature of this house in Dubai that looks as if it’s landed from outer space. Chris commented that in the future, Dubai could become:
A giant crater in the desert area, meaning all buildings will cool naturally from being connected to the lower ground and have wind protection all at the same time.
The Amsterdam house is sympathetic to the city’s signature architecture. The design includes flower beds around the perimeter to help with flooding by absorbing water into the soil before it reaches the house.
One look at this futuristic home in Paris tells us that future high-rise homes are likely to be built with living walls to help replace biodiversity across the city.
This futuristic image of a house in New York lets light flood in through large windows and a curving roof to be captured by solar panels. Chris said that the sail-like shape could:
Rotate to capture sunlight, and also reflect said light to other panels, like a network on top of homes and buildings and massively increasing renewable energy capture.
Tailoring solutions to each city
When considering cities with traditional architectural styles and listed buildings, Chris said that retrofitting is a good option as well as building new, sustainable homes. He noted:
Retrofitting is one great way to utilise existing materials and products to create aesthetics that are well suited to their existing environment or traditional appearances. All retrofitting of traditional housing needs to be done internally and without damaging the original fabric and construction methods.
He added that high-rise buildings in densely populated cities such as New York and Dubai can be problematic as they block sunlight, and suggested that a solution could be to introduce light poles hundreds of metres high to help bring light to lower levels and streets.
Thinking of making your home more sustainable?
Government reports show nearly 20% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions come from energy used in our homes, meaning there is no time like the present to begin making our homes more sustainable and future-proof. There are several ways this can be done, from investing in solar panels, to ensuring your home is thoroughly insulated. It’s important to note these types of improvements will likely add value to the property, or even change the structure of your home, which could affect the cost of your home insurance premium. It’s always a good idea to get in touch with your insurance provider and tell them about your plans before making any changes, in order to avoid invalidating your home insurance.
The best eco-friendly renovations that you can make to your home include installing solar panels, which can work on cloudy days; improving insulation by looking at cavity wall insulation, floor insulation, and draught proofing, and installing a heat pump that uses geothermal energy: this may seem like a big initial cost but it will save money on energy bills into the future. Other effective measures include fitting energy efficient appliances such as water-saving taps which combine air with water, reducing useage, and creating a green roof to benefit wildlife and biodiversity.
The advances being made in house-building technology and materials are astounding and while it’s going to take a long time to turn around our housing stock, there’s a determined direction of travel driven by meeting net-zero targets. AI certainly has the power to inspire by providing a fascinating glimpse into the design of our future homes.