How will the future of architecture change the way we live?

The future of architecture? Hmm, maybe not. See more home design pictures.
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I watched a lot of "The Jetsons" when I was growing up, so I had pretty big expectations for the future, including its homes. George Jetson and his family lived in a bubble-shaped, high-rise apartment building set on tall, thin columns, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and lots of metal beams.

Although the show took place in 2062 (set 100 years in the future from the year of its premiere), the style of architecture was very much a product of its time. Known as Googie, it was a flashy style that showcased our fascination with rockets and space travel.

You'll encounter a certain nostalgia for Googie and similar architectural styles, but they haven't become the standard for housing today (although we do still have 50 years to go). So when I see really unusual building designs and concepts that claim to be the future of architecture, I have to wonder exactly how likely it is that us "regular people" will be living in some of those types of buildings.

The future of architecture seems to have two main prongs: sustainable design and the sleek, high-tech look. At first glance, these two directions may seem to be mutually exclusive. For some people, green living conjures up visions of existing close to the Earth -- houses built out of straw by their owners, with rain barrels to water organic gardens and turbines to harness wind power. Crunchy, hippie, granola-eating stuff, and very low-tech.

On the other hand, a high-tech home brings to mind geeks who are big into electronics -- more like "The Jetsons" in a lot of ways. The truth is that the future of architecture incorporates both types of elements -- the minimalist, modern, sleek aesthetic and the environmentally friendly, money-saving practicality. And while homes will probably always have the same basic features (a roof, windows, a kitchen, a bathroom, a room with a sofa and TV in it), the future of architecture has the power to change the way that we live -- for the better.