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Architects are finding their way back towards the centre of the national conversation

Emily Booth
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Your problem-solving abilities and clear thinking will be vital as we prepare to combat climate change, writes Emily Booth

How to sum up 2018? Now there’s a challenge. In polite terms, it has been ‘political’ and ‘uncertain’. In less polite terms, it has been a creative list of punchy four-letter expletives. Piers Taylor’s widely circulated Christmas message – ‘Do we really want to be complicit in a culture where we can pretend that what we’re doing has any significance whatsoever in a world that’s so screwed, it’s making all of our eyes water’ – will surely resonate with much of the profession.

The fallout from the Grenfell Tower fire. The soul-sapping Brexit machinations. The IPCC report that told us we have 12 years to limit climate change. It is not a pretty picture.

And yet. Architects and architecture are finding their way – whether they like it or not, and for a variety of reasons – back towards the centre of the national conversation. Sometimes, as with Foster + Partners’ Bloomberg Stirling Prize win, and the debate about the nature and importance of sustainable design, they are the conversation.

In particular, the perils of climate change demand problem-solving abilities and clear thinking: qualities that are a professional strength. From a sustainable approach so many things can follow: safer homes, better learning and working environments, more flexible design. In 2019 the AJ will be looking at climate change – embodied carbon, energy performance and building adaptation – as one of its key topics.

Architects have a significant role to play in the future health of our built world. You don’t have to be complicit in a culture you don’t respect; you can challenge and help change it. And whatever the year ahead brings, we will continue to share the information and insight you need to do so. Our huge thanks to you, our subscribers, for your support, commitment and creativity. Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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