Luísa Teixeira takes a brief look at 2021 and the perspectives for 2022 in Architecture
When reflecting about the last (new) times we can’t help thinking that we live in uncertain moments, because if in 2020 we were still, most of us, with healthy and growing companies, the year 2021 arrived (and remained) with insecurity affected by the dragging of a health crisis that still has no end in sight. These times, new for all of us, threw the architecture sector to a second plan in which the economy was immediately affected with the postponement of larger projects. And the year 2021 was more difficult for most companies, even though the second semester has already shown some signs of recovery, still fragile in the face of uncertainty. We are in a waiting mode with our eyes set on the future: we all want to overcome this impasse so that we can resume normal operations in our business. For 2022 some trends (and challenges) are foreseen that include accepting (and following) that artificial intelligence will gain ground and architecture has to follow this evolution. Sustainability is also increasingly intricate to architecture and we need to move towards fully sustainable projects and create mechanisms that do not drive clients away from healthy options because they require expensive means. Flexibility is also going to be very important in the near future, so architects have to think about spaces that can have multiple functions, from the need to create living spaces where people feel happy and comfortable to work, to creating innovative work spaces that allow for social distance. Finally, I would elect creativity as a challenge in this new year: we need to find innovative solutions that at every moment challenge us in our profession and surprise our clients! From a management perspective these times have been very challenging because of the speed with which they have led us to create new working methods combined with the need for continuous improvement, the challenge of keeping teams together at a distance, and the need to keep corporate responsibility active in our companies. On the other hand, it is in scarcity and uncertainty that managers are called upon to think “outside the box,” to reflect on how to turn difficulties into new opportunities. All this is asked of managers who still have to maintain resilience in order to prepare ourselves for the next phase, when the economy takes off in the aftermath of Covid in which investment, whether Portuguese or foreign, is expected to keep our area awake and allow us to develop what we love most – ever better architecture so that it can be lived by people.