The Future of Buildings

This collaborative project, jointly managed by the FIT Chair and ARUP, and launched in spring 2021, aimed to identify new business opportunities in the building sector, leveraging the power of foresight and design tools, student creativity and co-creation to drive innovation.



This collaborative project launched in Spring 2021 was about co-creation, leveraging on the power of foresight & design tools, the creativity of students, and the strong partnership to drive innovation. Jointly managed by ARUP and the EDHEC FIT Chair, the project aimed at identifying novel business opportunities in buildings that require multiple parties to act together to develop their full potential.


For the 9 months of the project, partners were supported by 350 students working on identifying key trends and future development scenarios in order to develop innovative solutions to your problems that are desirable, technologically feasible, and financially viable.

Download the Future Of Building Executive Summary here.



According to the United Nations, over the next 35 years, 2.5 trillion ft² of buildings will be constructed or renovated in cities worldwide. Knowing that buildings produce about 40% of annual global GHG emissions, we must act now to meet emissions reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement.


The industry changes fast and is fueled by five drivers of change:


  • GREEN DEAL: Reducing the CO2 footprint of buildings, circularity, deconstruction industry. ​
  • HEALTH, WELLNESS, AND WELLBEING: Air filtration, purification, sensors, lighting
  • ECO-FRIENDLINESS: Zero-waste design, 3D printing, subscription-based short-term rentals​
  • FLEXIBILITY: Adjustable interior to convert into workspaces, etc.​
  • INDUSTRIALIZATION: Digitalization, breaking up of silos, co-planning, co-construction, digital twin



The building sector today suffers from fragmentation, complex regulation, low productivity growth, poor procurement and supply-chain management, and contractual frameworks that hinder collaboration across the value chain. At the same time, it faces big challenges, like reducing its carbon emissions, digitalisation and the difficulty to attract skilled workforces.

So is there hope? We believe, yes. There are many change drivers that may still create a perfect storm and revolutionize the industry. Let’s fastforward and explore 4 scenarios of how the building sector will change in 20 years time.


Imagine yourself in the year 2040.

In 2040


  • The increasing digitization of life has changed the way we interact with buildings.

  • Highly efficient and fully digitized typologies help achieve sustainability goals in Europe.

  • A comprehensive approach to open data has changed the entire construction industry.

  • Business opportunities continue to emerge for Big Tech and OEM companies in the built environment.

In 2040


  • 25 years after the first steps, Europe has reached maturity in terms of circular construction
  • This result was achieved through the joint efforts of policymakers, industry, and consumers.

  • Environmental and social responsibility goes hand in hand with economic growth.

  • New business opportunities are emerging along the value chain


In 2040


  • Europe has failed to meet climate targets.

  • Public governments are taking more control and actively regulating the AEC industry to meet new climate goals.

  • The private sector suffers from commercial uncertainty but still benefits from large-scale developments.

  • The construction sector is subject to strong constraints and cannot exploit its full potential.

In 2040


  • Innovation has made green energy abundantly available in Europe.

  • The intelligent network extends to vehicles and the IoT; households become electricity consumers.

  • With energy-related emissions becoming less important, embodied carbon dominates the agenda.

  • Renovation waves in Europe encourage the renewal of the existing building stock.






For 4 months, 350 students from 2 Master Programmes worked on multiple challenges inspired by our partners. The result is 50 innovative solutions developed with one main goal: to drive sustainable transformation in the building industry.



In this video, partners and students testify about "Future of Buildings" day, during which students developed sustainable solutions to multiple challenges and presented them to partners.





Somfy is supporting the work of the EDHEC FIT Chair in identifying novel business opportunities in the future of buildings.





In order to have access to the student teams and to share priorities and questions with the Chair, any company can become a partner. At the end of the project, a detailed report on foresight is given and a personalized workshop is organized to transfer the acquired knowledge to the partner company. To join this project, contact Alix LA COTTE [email protected]