The UK’s largest architecture practices gathered last night in London to witness the unveiling of the AJ100 league table - topped again by BDP
During the celebrations at the Grange Hotel near St Paul’s, the AJ asked architects to comment on the biggest issues facing the profession over the next 12 months.
Matt Brook, director of Broadway Malyan said: ‘[The looming issue] is the government’s perceived lack of commitment to design quality along with the breakdown of the regional design review panels.
‘Ultimately this could become an issue for the profession and the delivery of quality architecture.’
Terry Morley, a director at Holder Mathias Architects said: ‘The defining thing will be developer confidence and their willingness to commit to new projects. There is a fragile recovery but a hike in interest rates could knock that and have an impact on the number of scheme coming through. Practices are starting to build back up but [if this happens] they may have to drop staff numbers quite quickly.’
BDP chair Tony McGuirk said: ‘I don’t think the public sector will drop as far as we think it will. I don’t think healthcare will drop significantly. Education will wane but there will be still be architects working in that sector. There’s a big demand for housing and the thing that will sort housing out is that demand.
Richard Brindley from RIBA Professional Services, said: ‘Things are going to evolve. Where the work is will change and there is a great opportunity for practices to grow. The government has just confirmed low carbon targets, how are architects going to achieve them? That is where the business will be.’
Steve Toon from AKT II said: ‘In terms of industry I Imagine they will be cautious for a long time. There’s going to be a lot of caution from a commercial point of view, and from a client point of view. There is going to be a slow return to growth. People have realised that there was an orgy at the pig trough, and developers have woken up and smelled the coffee.’
Duncan Swinhoe, principal at Gensler: said: ‘We are currently seeing an increase in the demand for office space, but will the lack of new space brought to market over the last few years prompt an aggressive program of refurbishment, or will developers have the confidence and finance to start developing speculatively again?’