The future of architecture – Rebecca Woffenden

We asked ten architects – each of whom joined Make in a different year since 2004 – to write about how they see architecture and the built environment changing over the next ten years. Here are their responses.

Rebecca Woffenden
Rebecca Woffenden
Make Partner since 2008

With the recent rise in Design and Build contracts and other forms of procurement, the role of architects in the construction industry has undergone a dramatic shift. Our emphasis is gradually becoming front-end and it’s becoming harder to retain control of the detail and final design of our buildings. Architects should start to look at the services we offer clients and try to maximise where we can add value to the process, and keep our involvement in schemes for as long as possible to ensure the outcome matches our expectations. We should offer a service that embraces the client’s broader aims and goes beyond just the ‘building’. By diversifying into areas such as branding, product design and interior design, we will be able to offer clients more for their money and have greater input into the final inhabited environment.

As technologies in both the construction and design industries rapidly develop and change, the way we work needs to adapt. The tools the architect employs in the future will be based much more in the digital world, with BIM (Building Information Modelling) featuring heavily. However, while these new technologies play a significant role in the detailed stages of a project, we must not lose the more traditional skills and methods of design – such as sketching and model-making – that help the initial designs develop.

From a woman’s point of view, the construction industry is slowly becoming less dominated by men and more projects have multiple women as key members of the design team, rather than just being on the periphery. With architectural practices gradually embracing flexible working hours, women can start to achieve greater balance in their family and professional lives and I’m optimistic that this can only get better in the future.Quote

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