Each year, we help Building Design magazine collect and analyse the data that informs its World Architecture 100 survey.  We gather data for BD from more than 1,000 architectural practices worldwide, to develop a ranking of the top 100 architectural firms, underpinned by detailed statistics for industry outlook and investment.

Now in its 17th year, the 2021 survey is well underway and will shine a light on how firms around the globe are shaping up against the backdrop of a global pandemic.

Last year’s results – published in December 2019 – revealed a pessimistic outlook among architects with only 55 per cent of firms surveyed predicting the global construction economy would grow in 2020. This was the bleakest outlook since 2015.

Since then of course we’ve had a global pandemic, which no one could see coming when they provided their views in 2019. While it’s too early to draw conclusions on the overall effect of Covid-19, we know project delays and cancellations throughout the world are having a profound impact on the sector. Uncertainty, cost cutting and whether the pandemic will force a long-term change in working practices are all likely to be causing concern and prompting reflection.

We’ve seen much written about how the pandemic is making us re-evaluate how we use spaces and what we might require in the long term. All of us would do well to gather the insight and assess the data before jumping to any conclusions.  However, in the short-term we’ve seen a drop off in projects for the education sector, as teaching moves online, and the office sector as more are forced to embrace working remotely.

When published in January, this year’s World Architecture results will cast a light on what trends are likely to dominate the headlines in 2021 and be an indicator of the confidence – or lack of it – in the construction industry in the coming year.

They also have the potential to provide a fascinating insight into the actual impacts of the pandemic on the construction economy. How hard has the bottom line been hit?  Have commissions in sectors such as logistics, distribution and health offset the decline in office commissions? How has the impact differed across jurisdictions, and are there any signs of recovery?

Watch this space.

World Architecture 2021 will be published by Building Design in January.

Luke Aldridge headshot

Luke Aldridge is an account manager at Camargue