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Covid19 has been tectonic in its impact-It has rocked all levels of society.
It has caused a shift that has changed the way humanity lives, works and socialises-emerging demographics dominated by highly connected and networked millennial’s and Gen Z are, as a result, more empowered and will be the agents for change, which will now occur at an accelerated rate.
Future generations will cite 2020 as the year when society transformed, facilitated by technology.
The millennials (currently 25 to 40 years of age) and Gen Z (now 19 to 24) are at the forefront of the mega-trends.
These mega-trends include; mindfulness, plant-based diets, minimalism, electric-powered vehicles, freelancing and workplace flexibility.
These generations, will by 2025, represent the most dominant part of the workforce. Significantly, they do not care for luxury goods, brands or creating the next edifice-preferring quality and social media presence.
The millennials generally did not follow their Boomer parents as far as making homeownership a priority.
Homeownership more likely became a consideration as a result of Government incentives. These incentives, introduced to stimulate the housing sector, moved the millennials from passive renters to active homeowners.
Gen Z, on the other hand, being more in tune with their grandparents, who likely would have been their primary carers, naturally gravitated towards homeownership.
With their homes, these generations have a strong bias towards sustainability and all its subsets which include; energy efficiency, thoughtful material choices and thermal massing.
With respect to work; offices-once central to production are becoming flexible workspaces that allow employees more time at home.
This results in a need for employees to have dedicated spaces at their homes that are uninterrupted and set up with the necessary IT to enable full connectivity to their employer.
Technology has been more than ready for this shift.
Workflow productivity applications, which include team; project and task managers, chat channels, conferencing and collaborative document development and sharing-abound, and have not missed a beat
The maturity and robustness of these applications will make the pandemic induced shift easier to implement.
Video communication apps even allow users to select virtual backgrounds so they can appear in a board room or at a workstation, this will create the continuum of the enterprise and a sense of business focus.
The future house will, as a result, become multifunctional and multigenerational.
House plan layouts will provide for multigenerational living, facilitating child care and recognising that older generations will be living longer and will be around to assist in providing the necessary equity in their children’s homes.
We will see operable walls, multifunctional cabinetry, connections to nature, more timber; with its proven benefits to health and wellbeing, with home office hubs.
Retreat areas that promote mindfulness and well-appointed gyms will increasingly become the norm. Home entertainment and media rooms will likely double as board rooms for presentations and conferences.
Kitchen and living room areas will become dining hubs with ambience, making going out for a date night a lessor experience. These areas connected to outdoor spaces will become favoured entertaining destinations for friends and family. External catering and visiting chefs will complete the experience.
The outdoor spaces of the home, landscaped with native plants, will include open fireplaces-to add a focus around family and friends-taking us back to our primal beginnings.
Space, once taken up by garages, will morph into more considered living areas.
Quite apart from the need to gain valuable space constrained by the ever-diminishing size of blocks-new generations will be motivated by more sustainable transportation.
The development of technologies around electric cars will continue at a rapid pace-leading to reliable autonomous vehicles. Rather than owning a car, a subscription approach will likely apply to future transportation needs.
Consumers and the younger generations, in particular, are pretty used to subscribing to services already.
We will program or call up our transportation needs via an app; meaning that we will not own a depreciating asset, which occupies precious space at home.
As a builder, our view of future has influenced the way we approach our work.
This approach, which emphasises thoughtful design; made accessible, makes us somewhat unique as a builder.
Consequently, our preference is to engage with our prospective clients as design and building practitioners rather than as salespeople.
We are passionate about providing our clients with optimum solutions, which not only meet with their budgets and lifestyles, but that also embrace the future house.
Dario Amara FIEAust, CPEng, NER, APEC Engineer, IntPE(Aus) is a second-generation builder, experienced construction, and engineering executive and chartered professional engineer with some 40 years' industry experience. He has also served as Chairman of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Chairman of the West Australian Opera Company and Chairman of Heritage Perth amongst other positions.