Buildings designed for an urban environment, particularly for large or growing cities, are referred to as urban architecture. Urban architecture has become a vital and thriving field of design, with nearly half of the world’s population now living in cities. The practicalities of city life, such as high-capacity housing and workplaces, harmony of form and function, and, more recently, energy-efficient design, are all important considerations in this field of design.
Apartments and businesses in high-rise buildings are classic examples of urban design. There is no need to construct a 20-story apartment complex that can house over a thousand people in a rural or suburban setting. Urban architecture creates the space and design principles that enable a large number of people to live and work in close quarters. As a result, effective space utilization is a critical component of this type of design.
Multi-use buildings are a new type of urban architecture that is gaining popularity in some cities. These multi-functional buildings can provide both living space and private offices for those who work from home in the age of telecommuting. Residents can live, work, and shop in the same building combining these types of buildings with ground-level commercial enterprises such as boutiques, restaurants, and grocery stores. Multi-use buildings exemplify space efficiency, and the proximity of necessities can provide residents with more time away from the hectic pace of city life.
With recent media attention on the planet’s dwindling natural resources, much of urban architecture is devoted to sustainable, environmentally friendly design and construction. Innovative techniques used to make urban architecture more green include the use of recycled materials as insulation, solar panels, rooftop gardens, and energy-saving appliances pre-installed. Because urban areas are notorious for high levels of pollution and smog, incorporating environmental advances into new construction is not only fashionable, but it can also be beneficial to a city’s residents’ health.
Despite the importance of practicality in urban architecture, style and artistry should not be overlooked. Many of the world’s most well-known structures are triumphs of urban design. Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers, Pisa’s Leaning Tower, New York’s Empire State Building, and Taipei’s Taipei 101 are all examples of urban architecture. Urban architecture, far from being austere and impersonal, can be a beacon of innovation and artistry.
This rapidly expanding field of architectural design is always in need of new visionaries, particularly those who are familiar with new technology that makes buildings safer and more environmentally friendly. Many top universities offer degrees in urban development and design that allow students to specialize. Experts predict that the urban population will continue to grow throughout the twenty-first century, so students interested in urban architecture may have a bright and busy future ahead of them.