As 2013 draws to a close, we speak to seven practices around the world to find out how business has fared this year, what is predicted for the AEC industry in 2014 and what to gifts are most favoured by design professionals…
David Cole, BTI
What has been the highlight of the year for BTI?
We have been carrying out quite a bit of work in Cambodia this year looking at sustainable building materials on a range of built applications from health facilities and schools through to housing. The best moment of this year has to be working with families suffering from HIV who have had to move to Phnom Penh to get access to antiretroviral drugs where they are forced to live on the street. The strength and compassion that we encountered within these genuinely lovely people will stay with us forever.
What shifts/trends have you witnessed in the global market in 2013?
Housing has been one of our priorities for 2013 and we have seen the success of incremental housing schemes that we have both promoted and delivered. The incremental trend sees a return to small scale starter homes which are intended to be extended over time. This reduces build time and costs and speeds up the delivery of housing in times of shortage. It also ensures long term investment in local building trades over a longer period as families develop and grow. We would love to see similar projects take place in the UK where there is a real need to revise the speed and way in which homes are being delivered.
What are your predictions for 2014?
Ooo that's a tricky one. We would like to see more countries begin to commit to making substantial changes when the IPCC releases its final part to the Fifth Assessment report in 2014. We feel that materials may be one of the surest routes to more sustainable buildings. Aside from the resurgence in natural materials, fungi bricks and mortar burst on the scene in 2013 and we hope to see these quickly develop and come in to use at economical prices in 2014. Other than that there are many interesting developments in space in 2014 with India's first mission to Mars, the completion on the international space station and NASA's Sunjammer solar sail pushing nano technologies that will one day no doubt have an application in our built environment. Oh and Arsenal will win the league!
Where would your ultimate festive getaway be?
The Philippines. We spent a Christmas there three years ago and loved every minute of it. the sun, the sand and... the roast dinner! It would also be great to both try and help with the recovery work and boost what must be a suffering tourist industry which provides so many with employment.
What design present would you most like to receive this year?
An Ultimaker 2 (home 3D printer) would be lovely... thanks!
More industry insights…
David Cole, BTI
Daniel Safarik, CTBUH
Shaun Killa, Atkins
Elliot March, March & White
James Zheng, Goettsch Partners
Caroline Bos, UNStudio