Architecture Trends for 2024

With the EU, US and many other countries aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, sustainability is not just a construction trend anymore, but it’s rather becoming a top priority.

Architects around the globe are focusing more on designing environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings and that strongly influences the architecture trends for 2024. Both renovating existing buildings and building new ones give wood as a sustainable construction material an excellent opportunity to shine.

Advancements in engineering and technology make it possible to build bigger and taller in timber, ensuring safety, durability, and even fire resistance. The latter has been a major concern and a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of tall timber structures.

Let’s take a closer look at the biggest architecture trends we expect to see this year.


EU aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Thermory Benchmark thermo-pine cladding

To limit the effects of climate change, nearly the whole EU and several other leading countries are targeting a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and have committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal from the atmosphere. One aspect of decarbonizing economies considers renovation as buildings still account for 40% of the EU’s total energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions.

The European Commission aims to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years. By 2030, the EU’s climate-related legislation aims to renovate 35 million buildings and by 2050, a further 220 million, thus making them more energy efficient.

Wood can play an important role in the transition to zero-carbon buildings as a 100% renewable, recyclable and nontoxic construction and renovation material. Wood can lock in the CO2 absorbed during its lifetime, acting as a temporary carbon sink. The longer the wood remains in use, the longer the CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, mitigating the global warming effect.


Today’s facade must be much more than just a protective layer against the weather. The facade of the building must be able to ensure a healthy indoor climate with minimal energy consumption, help mitigate climate change and help adapt to it. However, for the development of a sustainable urban space, the solutions must be primarily architectural and planning, not technological.

Thermory is supporting a project by PAKK, Timber Architecture Research Center at the Estonian Academy of Arts. sLender facade is a research project in and between the outer layers of the building, offering alternative solutions to protect the structure of new buildings and to reconstruct existing ones.


Improving technologies allow to aim higher

Thermory Benchmark thermo-ash cladding

Building big and tall with wood is a hot trend right now in many places around the world. This means wood is being used not only to build private houses but also apartment buildings, large-scale public buildings and even skyscrapers.

Using mass timber materials, charring mechanisms, and fire safety engineering makes building bigger and taller timber structures not only possible but also a better, greener and safer choice.

As mass timber components can be precision-engineered off-site, it minimizes construction waste and ensures faster assembly. Besides that, using timber reduces the need for heavy machinery during construction.

In recent years we have seen several examples of timber used for really tall buildings over the globe: Mjøstårnet in Norway (84 meters), Ascent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (86,6 meters), HoHo Vienna in Austria (will reach 84 meters upon completion).

Fire-retardant wood school building


Advanced technologies make building with wood a safer choice.

In recent years, the popularity of wood as a construction material has constantly increased. However, concerns about fire safety have been a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of tall timber structures.

The good news is that the use of advanced materials, charring mechanisms, fire retardant coatings and fire safety engineering, as well as advanced fire testing of timber products ensures that timber structures are a valid solution.


Using sustainable design approaches to mitigate the impacts of climate change

Thermory ash decking

When used in architectural landscaping, wood can transform large open areas e.g. public parks, plazas, seating areas, and shorelines into more intimate and welcoming spaces that invite people to interact with their environment.

The increasing recognition of the need for employing sustainable design approaches to mitigate the impacts of climate change is a direct outcome of the heightened visibility of these effects. Architects, particularly in the realm of crafting sustainable landscapes, bear a substantial responsibility in addressing this challenge.

Architects can contribute significantly to this cause by incorporating biophilic design and climate-neutral architecture, enabling the creation of landscapes that not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also promote human health and well-being.

Examples of sustainable landscape design include practices like collecting rainwater, utilizing native plant species and constructing green walls and roofs.


Sleek, monolith look for the facades

thermo-ash cladding

The monolith look, characterized by a seamless and continuous exterior appearance often achieved through the use of a single material or color, is preferred for private houses to enhance curb appeal.

This design creates a sense of unity and cohesiveness in the overall architectural composition. This can make a house appear more thoughtfully and intentionally designed, enhancing its visual impact. The simplicity of the monolith look often lends a timeless quality to the design. Homes with a timeless aesthetic can maintain their appeal over the years, avoiding trends that may quickly become outdated.


Combining the benefits of a natural material with enhanced durability

Modern farmhouse with Thermo-ash cladding

Architects may opt to use natural but long-lasting wood species for various reasons, as it combines the benefits of a natural material with enhanced durability.

Wood derived from responsibly managed forests aligns with the increasing focus on environmentally friendly materials. The wood retains a timeless and warm aesthetic, offering a desirable combination of visual appeal and performance.

For example, the thermal treatment of ash enhances the wood’s dimensional stability, reducing the risk of warping or twisting. With lower maintenance requirements and a longer lifespan compared to untreated wood, thermo-ash stands out as a reliable choice for architects seeking enduring, visually pleasing, and sustainable building materials.

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