The future of architecture – Alejandro Nieto

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 is Make partner Alejandro.

Alejandro Nieto
Alejandro Nieto
Make Partner since 2011

Ten years ago, I arrived in London from Venezuela – the country in which I grew up, studied and dreamt about becoming an architect. This is therefore a good time to look back and reflect both personally and collectively on all those years and what we have learned and achieved, but more importantly, on how we can make a positive impact on what we do next.

The contrast I experienced on my arrival in the UK and the juxtaposition of the two countries allowed me to develop a broader vision and a more pragmatic understanding. The fact that the Olympics were held in London made me think this was ‘the right place to be’ as an architect, as a developer and as a citizen. Everything was possible; London was not only ‘an Olympic city’ but also the model for a new type of architecture.

But sometimes too much is too much. We saw how the world economy collapsed. There was a deafening silence in the architectural discourse; fewer projects were getting built, while lots of people lost their jobs. We were in a situation similar to the place where I came from. This seemed to be a good moment to rethink creatively and act in a measured way, learning from architecture that good ideas always have limits.

I believe that these experiences have set the ground for an architecture which is more rational, collaborative and affordable. It is willing to explore new ways of solving problems and integrate new technologies with environmental issues to produce long-standing, more efficient and ultimately more beautiful buildings, like the ones we try to design at Make. So I am optimistic about what is to come – I expect that the next ten years will be even better and I hope to be part of it … so count me in!

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