What Now?
Photo © Jason Frank Rothenberg


Architecture at a Crossroads


Buffeted by economic uncertainty, globalization, and disruptive technologies, architects today have more questions than answers. Where are we headed? How can we position ourselves for future success? What are some of the innovative ideas that will shape the design landscape of tomorrow? Although the editors of Architectural Record don’t have definitive answers to these questions, we put together this special issue intending at least to wrestle with them.

To begin to understand what the future might look like, we peered in the rearview mirror and reflected on what has happened over the past 10 years. At a roundtable in our New York offices, the magazine’s editors discussed critical issues and key projects from the last decade and tried to figure out what they all meant. You can eavesdrop on that conversation by reading the story titled “What Was”. Then you can explore “What Next,” a feature bringing together interviews with experts in 10 different areas — from BIM and engineering to suburbia and sustainability — that will affect architecture over the next decade.

The present is always a precarious place, sitting between a past that’s only partially understood and a future that’s unknown. But the start of 2011 seems like a particularly confusing moment, with architects facing a crossroads in terms of social and professional priorities, economic concerns, and design approaches. With digital technologies compressing time and geography, and financial pressures raising the stakes, the choices architects make in the next few years will affect their profession well into the future.


— Clifford A. Pearson

What Was 2000 - 2010

What Was...2000-2010
Wretched excess. Sustainability and the rise of LEED. Architecture as spectacle. Architecture for Humanity. Buildings as collectibles and architects as brands. We take stock of the 21st century so far.

What Next

What Next?
Experts inside and outside the profession discuss some of the critical issues architects will face in the next 10 years—from reinventing suburbia and expanding urban infrastructure to exploring new materials and leveraging new technologies.

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