How has architecture changed in the last ten years and how might it change in the next ten?
Shapeism was on the wane, we believed, a decade ago. Even before the hard knock of the financial crisis of 2007-8, there was a mood that the ‘Icon’ building had run its course. In the UK, much of this mood stemmed from the fact that we were still recovering from too many over-strident Millennium-tagged projects. In its place we were starting to get ‘hair shirt architecture’: rectilinear rather than swooshy, in brown or grey textured brick with punched windows most likely.
Swoosh no more went away, however, than did skyscrapers, post 9/11. It retreated a bit, but the problem – or maybe blessing – remains that we are in a time of no stylistic consensus. Anything goes. The post-modern revival will continue of course: as the world gets more troubled, architecture will get more playful. Expect new, darker utopias.
Hugh Pearman is Editor of the RIBA Journal and a leading architectural writer and critic. He was architecture critic of the Sunday Times for many years.