I think the positive development of the recent years will continue in most of the countries we operate in, especially in countries where cities keep growing and the demand for inner-city living is growing. The new generation is interested in the instant economy and wants to live in high dense places where private space becomes less important and the virtual world and public space take over. We as architects need to find new answers responding to these demands of the new generation now because most of our buildings are built for 50 to 100 years of use. To keep track of this development and anticipate a few years ahead is challenging and exciting. It means the younger generation in our profession gets a stronger voice and architectural offices become a place of exchange and debate about the right solution; a great prospect for OMA.
We are currently focusing on extending our work in the regions we are familiar with and to make sure that our portfolio still covers all typologies of buildings, from cultural to housing projects, from large to small projects, and from projects that are totally new to preservation projects. We have exciting prospects and we notice that the traditional architectural competition becomes less important, which is an attractive prospect. The personal relationship between the architect and the client is becoming more important again. The right proper procedure is pushed out of the way as people start understanding that great new developments only start becoming reality if the input of the client and the response of the architect demand the maximum. We are excited about 2019 and 2020!
In general, 2018 was a year in which architecture became of larger importance again within cities. In many cities in the world the real estate market has picked up again, but it is not about enlargement of cities any longer it is about densification. Therefore, most new projects are high dense projects that are planned on sites that have buildings on them already that will be replaced by or integrated in the new developments. Also, the program of most new projects is therefore a mixed program so a little 24hrs economy starts existing on the site. For architecture both developments mean that new forms of expression are possible again and need to address a history and a future; this to many architects, including myself, is interesting and challenging.
Besides these developments, you see that sustainability in architecture slowly transforms from a banal greening of projects to looking at its true social and economic impact long term. This means that sustainability becomes from a cheap advertisement a true source of connection with the place and a source of inspiration. More a responsibility than a slogan. I personally am very happy about this development.
2018 was for OMA an exciting project in which our portfolio was extended in all continents we work in. For me personally it is a year in which a manage a lot of building sites of projects that finish end of 2019 or the first half of 2020, such as the Taipei Performing Arts Center (TW), The new museum in Perth (AUS) and the Kataoma Resort in Bali (IND). And a year in which I got to design a few major new projects of which construction will start in 2019 or 2020. Therefore, my job has very conceptual moments, like the building designs for the Bajes Kwartier project in Amsterdam (NL), and detail design work, such as for the new stadium Feyenoord in Rotterdam (NL). This differentiation in the job is both exciting and challenging, especially because next to that I do the overall management of the global OMA company which also takes part of my time.