The future of architecture – Bill Webb

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.

Bill WebbBill Webb
Make Partner since 2009

China is a metaphor for what has happened to the world over the last 100 years. Hyper-growth economically, institutionally and in the population, has called for the hyper-consumption of resources to feed this demand.

For the Chinese this offers opportunity. Firstly, the scale and projected development of the country as a whole means that even slight increments of change with regards to energy consumption, water use, choice of fuel and material procurement will have a fundamental global impact on us all. Secondly, this is a populace who are highly adaptive and open to change. The urbanisation of the last 20 years has left few Chinese citizens untouched and created a culture where the new – whether this be electric bicycles or building technologies – is quickly embraced as the status quo.

The changes that will affect our profession are the same as those that will affect all professional and manufacturing businesses in China. As predicted by Jim O’Neill, originator of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) acronym, there will be a shift from quantity to quality over the next ten years that will impact the built environment from the user upwards. Proven expertise in delivering high-quality buildings will be valued over the ‘bigger is better’ business model, and the consumer will become more sophisticated in what they demand from their built environment.

As information becomes more freely shared and architects begin to understand how to capture, curate and harness ‘big data’ – the information generated by our daily lives – so our products will become more nuanced, which ultimately means less waste.

Bill Webb quote

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