Pop-up shops will soon phase out big box shopping malls with people seeking out trendy alleys, market-style streets and similar dynamic spaces to shop and socialise. The latest architectural trends predicted for 2018 also include timber high-rises, the use of cross-laminated timber in building construction, and 2017’s go-to colour grey falling out of favour.

Brisbane-based architect Michael Rayner explains that people today prefer dynamic spaces over static environments for work as well as leisure; change is something that holds their interest, which is reflected in the popularity of the pop-up concept.

Observing that big box retail centres are on their way out, Rayner says street shopping is trending once again. Brisbane's Fish Lane, for instance, is a constantly changing alleyway with exposed brick facades decorated with vibrant street art, restaurants, bars and cafes, pop-up food events, street dining, and small boutiques, all combining to give the visitor an eclectic and memorable experience.

Developers are now reimagining their mall spaces by removing walls and ceilings for a more alfresco experience, merging the indoors and outdoors using gardens and green elements, and replacing a conditioned atmosphere with fresh air.

Even workplaces are being redesigned for occupants to engage better with the world outside. According to Rayner, the seamless connection between the inside and outside that symbolised the typical Queensland home is now being adapted into the commercial space.

In terms of materials, CLT (cross-laminated timber) panels are expected to become popular this year in building construction. Being lightweight, flexible and strong, CLT panels are being considered for timber high-rises, replacing steel and concrete used in conventional building.

Grey was a popular shade in 2017 with colours such as charcoal preferred by developers as an excellent leveller. Though the colour trended worldwide last year and was used everywhere from tropical to winter cities, Rayner said it was not suitable for Queensland's sub-tropical climate as it absorbed heat and faded over time.

Rayner also expressed concern over the rapid redevelopment of suburban areas around Brisbane CBD where shortcomings in urban planning have compromised the availability of public amenities. He additionally called for new developments to add to the appeal of the city, which he believes could be achieved through legislation.