Hear about Everything Architecture from Esra Lemmens

by Editorial Staff

Compasses Magazine

You are the chairperson for the Architecture & Design Talks at Everything Architecture. What are your thoughts about this exclusive event dedicated to the architecture and design community?

Architecture and Design are a ubiquitous force that influences all areas of our lives, including ecological, social, political and cultural developments. Architecture and design are dynamic and are always in a state of flux, so it is of paramount importance to maintain an ongoing dialogue with industry peers and stakeholders. Together, we hold tremendous responsibility in positively shaping the future.

In order to ensure that the role is understood by the entire community and a means of addressing complex problems rather than just being pleasing to the eye, our industry continuously makes constructive contributions through innate lateral thinking, analysis, visualisation and open communication at platforms such as the Architecture & Design Talks at Everything Architecture.

There are a lot of futuristic discussions at the Talks. What, according to you, is the future of architecture and design? What are the innovations expected in the industry?

It’s imperative that architects and designers are responsive to the environment and their users. Innovation guides us to develop meaningful projects and allows us to explore physical and cultural contexts far from traditional and conventional processes and analysis of development in every aspect of design and construction. This will be a red thread thoughout the Talks but it will be given special attention in the conversation about “Reimagining electrified cities” and “Conservation, modernization, and adaptation of existing buildings”.

There are a select few ‘starchitects’ showered with praise; however, in reality, architecture falls at the bottom of 30 professions surveyed, well below civil servants. Dana Cuff recently illustrated in her book Architecture, The Story of Practice, that this is a Dubai and further world phenomenon. Architects are generally dismayed by the intangibility of success and its fading impact, working long hours at an increasingly rapid pace. Our product-obsessed society presents overwhelming problems since only some clients possess an understanding of the complexity surrounding the design and production of custom products and are willing to pay the often-high prices. Whilst digital technology offers designers and architects new solutions for creativity; they take precautious evolutionary steps relying on stayed traditional techniques.

Forward-thinking professions are muscling into the domain that was once solely for architects. Furniture system designers, sustainability consultants, construction managers, and engineers are pushing so hard that they may eventually eradicate the need for architects, except for those that are keen exterior designers. By ‘pulling the wool over their eyes’ and the refusal to embrace technological innovations are encouraging their extinction. Architects must embrace modern technology and satisfy consumer desires. There is hope if they seize revolutionary opportunities and enhance predictability, complexity, branding, feedback and world economies.

Since the start of the twentieth century, information has afforded the industry to connect through research, design and interpretation. Buildings of the future will bring together a union between digital design and automated rapid fabrication and no longer be limited to traditional forms and capable of proliferating complex shapes. Structures such as electrical and plumbing conduits, showers, shelving, and furniture will be ‘printed’, eliminating traditional outlets. Interestingly, over 90 per cent of building waste is the result of demolition and renovation so environmentalists will celebrate printed buildings because of their renewable nature and ease of disassembly. Architects will be able to analyse structural elements to understand a new comprehension of durability, materials and costs in advance. The inevitable introduction of digital modelling softwares, the metaverse, combined with 3D printing, will ensure bring lively design debates to this year’s program.

Architecture is at a tipping point in the light of unprecedented change as the world expects architectural perfection. The architectural model is burdened by centuries of outdated working methodologies and singular prototype creation. Industrial designers, engineers and manufacturers are already celebrating prototyping technology, but until now, it has been unnoticed by architects. Architects must consider increasingly accessible tools and uncover the benefits of artificial intelligence, the Metaverse and NFTs. People have huge expectations from their increasingly positive web ordering experiences, including digital architecture that is meaningful, useful and sustainable. Architects must rapidly consider substantive feedback, one-off productions and architecture that evokes status to succeed. The initiation of Building Information Management, BIM, automatically allows pre-visualisation before construction, parametric design, and prefabrication, diminishing ambiguity, reducing errors and generating client savings.

Which are some of the upcoming projects that excite you the most?

There is much excitement surrounding introducing the United Arab Emirate’s first gaming facility in Ras Al Khaimah. The forthcoming Wynn Resort has sparked a keen interest in local architectural, interior design and outdoor design industries.

The Metaverse, AI and virtual reality were hot topics this year. Much discussion was around the introduction of the gaming industry in Ras Al Khaimah and how the design and architectural industries will utilise these new trends in a built environment. Industry leaders highlighted that innovation, knowledge-sharing, and camaraderie have never seen a more critical time. The post-pandemic world has given the industry much food for thought and changed the trajectory forever.

Architecture is not the most environmentally friendly industry yet. Not only does it rely on unfavourable carbon-emission-heavy concrete, but it also has a severe waste problem from demolishing previous structures. Circular economy encourages the elimination of waste and the continual use and re-use of resources; satisfyingly, the architecture industry is beginning to provide support and take collective and personal responsibility as a profession by reducing waste and pollution.

Architects must incorporate a range of quantitative and qualitative health considerations. However, this can lead to ‘just good enough’ plans that increase diversity and adaptability for the planet rather than purely ‘perfect’ designs. There must be a future of balance to improve the well-being of the wider population. It is essential that architects design for humans and their well-being by providing sustainable buildings. It is necessary to consider the circular economy for the entire value chain, including the stakeholders and architects responsible for creating an infrastructure or a city.

The design of built environments profoundly affects our overall health and well-being and can have long-lasting implications for our quality of life through choice architecture. It’s evident that design-led innovations can encourage or constrain behaviours. By understanding the potential implications and opportunities in building design, architects can encourage positive well-being rather than merely removing the attributes of ill health. To enhance human well-being, architects need to consider holistic health-supporting human behaviour. It is essential to support optimal mental well-being, which in turn, has implications for physiological health. However, a relatively recent consideration, well-being within a built environment, is beginning to reveal consistent and widely accepted findings, particularly when a range of quantitative and qualitative health considerations are defined.

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