As we end a year like no other, where a world still shaken by a pandemic is now also feeling the effects of global supply chain problems and national shortages, where climate change is proving disastrous for structures whose Foundations put profits before safety and where our basic human rights to bodily choice and racial equality are challenged in our courts, it can seem impossible to escape the cycle of pessimistic news. However, what tragedies often spark are new ideas. And where new ideas affect us all is in the built environment.
It is impossible to disengage from architecture. Even in the most rural environment, structures and designs surround us; they are our most basic shelters and the places where we eat, work, play and worship. In the past two years since the discovery of the COVID-19 coronavirus, there have been several changes in construction practice: collectives like Design Advocates or WIP Collaborative have come together to help support under-represented communities and communities. each other, in turn; green design moves away from buzzword territory and turns to a more in-depth conversation about embedded carbon (especially as the benefits of local manufacturing, materials and labor have passed at the forefront of construction practices affected by the state of emergency); the global housing crisis has become a matter of concern to all, as stay-at-home mandates implied housing in which to stay.
Addressing social issues long pushed below the surface has brought architecture to a more thoughtful place. While their fixes are not yet full-fledged, our global crisis has sparked new curiosity about how the practice can help achieve them. Big problems call for big multidisciplinary solutions. These 14 inspiring designs help us envision such a future.