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here is more than the usual sense of trepidation as we enter a new year as, added to the resigned sense of pessimism many in the industry are feeling about Brexit, there is also now the threat of east-west conflict flaring up in the Middle East. This was on the back of some of the worst examples of the effects of climate change we have yet seen, with the intense fires raging in Australia. All in all, not exactly reasons to be cheerful.

However, the one saving grace of what was a depressing General Election for pro-EU observers, was that it has forced a sense of closure, at least on the vexed question of whether or not the UK had a secret sense of wanting to turn the clock back and look at the Brexit question again. The clear majority wants to leave, so leave we must; the question is now how painful that process will be, and how long it will take.

We will be debating this for the foreseeable future. Even if Boris does manage to force through a trade deal this year as he promises, the aftermath will be long, probably lasting decades. If anyone thought that the winter Election was the end of this, they are sorely mistaken. It may however become so enmeshed with technical border issues and logistical wrangling that no-one ‘normal’ really cares anymore, only the ‘weirdos’ that Dominic Cummings says he wants to recruit to number 10. There is certainly going to be enough going on with Donald Trump’s warlike behaviour, our slowly imploding Royal Family, and the tragic global consequences of climate change to keep people’s attention away from the challenging realities of implementing Brexit over the next few months.

In the meantime, despite the regrettable national convulsion caused by the 2016 referendum, business must continue, and architects remain focused on doing a great job for their clients and buildings’ users, as well as maintaining healthy businesses themselves – businesses which are benefitting from a diverse international workforce. Our leading firms continue to deliver fantastic innovation and projects worldwide, with UK firms being world-leaders on many fronts, including on sustainability-focused architecture. This is absolutely a reason to celebrate.

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The most satisfying example I saw of this recently was ZHA – not a practice unaccustomed to receiving negative publicity recently – and its announcement that its 5000-seater all-timber stadium for famously vegan football club Forest Green Rovers in Gloucestershire has successfully won planning, at the second attempt. I feel that for the sake of everyone’s wellbeing, there will be a pressing need to focus even more than we normally would on such positive examples in coming months.

James Parker Editor


ON THE COVER... Andermatt Concert Hall designed by Studio Seilern Architects features three ‘cloud-like’ fibreglass acoustic sculptures suspended from the ceiling

ANDERMATT CONCERT HALL, SWITZERLAND Studio Seilern transforms a subterranean concert space to bring visual connections and acoustics fit for the world’s greatest orchestras

QEF CARE AND REHABILITATION CENTRE, LEATHERHEAD A new centre providing a highly specialised service in homely surroundings

Cover image © Roland Halbe For the full report on this project, go to page 40



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