Houses of the futureJuly 1st 1999
The New Millennium Housing
Picture the home of the future. Do you see a Jetson's-style. space needle model plopped on top of a chrome-plated pillar? Housing, like all things, changes with time. Consumers want homes that accommodate their lifestyles. And the pace at which we live has definitely gained momentum in the past decade. So how will housing evolve? What will the new millennium housing look like? According to MaryAnne Connor-Simpson, chair of the sales & Marketing Council of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association, some housing experts predict it will appear surprisingly un-futuristic. Homebuyers won't rush the market to purchase round, metallic-plated homes.
For the last couple centuries, builders have constructed homes that are variations on several basic architectural themes. Many of us will probably continue to live in colonial or other traditional style homes. And a few might live like kings in homes with enclosed courtyards and castle-like towers. Just like clothing, most housing styles eventually come back in vogue -- even if it takes several centuries. Size proportions in millennium housing will shift. For the past decade, common areas such as family rooms and kitchens have expanded at a steady pace. Housing experts predict this trend has staying power. The home's 'public' spaces will keep growing whereas 'private' spaces, such as bedrooms and baths will shrink. Some housing industry experts predict that 21st century homes will function as digitally controlled, robotic servants, catering to the homeowner's every want and need. How would you like a kitchen cupboard that noticed when the Frosted Flakes were gone and called in a restock order to a supermarket that delivers? And solar panels may shrink in size until they resemble shinglelike roof tiles. Even if they can't have computerized kitchen cabinets, homebuyers will still want convenience. The average Canadian home will come stocked with amenities. Housing experts can't predict exactly what convenience item will become commonplace in now homes. Fifty years ago, who would have guessed that every new home would one day come with a dishwasher? But they can make guesses by looking at current amenities featured in most new homes or reading surveys that ask homebuyers what features they consider essential.