In conversation with: Dicky Lewis, Co-Founder of White Red Architects

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Cityscape Intelligence’s Lucy Whittaker caught up with Dicky Lewis, Co-Founder and Director of White Red Architects to discuss the top trends moving the needle in the architecture industry in 2022.

At the Cityscape Global Summit 2021, you were described as the ‘cool kid’ of the architecture world. What are you doing at White Red Architects to disrupt the traditional architecture industry?

Yes, that was a surprise to me too! I’m pretty sure that was just a very kind way of introducing me as the youngest on such an esteemed panel …

At White Red we put innovation as a priority and that has helped us to position ourselves as a refreshing alternative to other architecture practices. We rely a lot on collaboration as it helps us to learn and make the most progress on the important issues. In fact, we have also previously collaborated with the likes of Marco Abdallah from Drees + Sommer (and fellow Cityscape Global Summit panelist!) who has some really forward-thinking insights into topics such as sustainability in design.

What exciting projects are you working on currently, and what do you have in the pipeline? 

We’re designing some great office refurbishment projects which are currently underway, and it’s been really exciting to work with clients who are so keen to integrate circular economy principles into their designs.

An upcoming project that we are super excited about is for a new business park development in the U.A.E. The client requested that an element of the construction process should integrate 3D printed components, so we’ll have some exciting updates on that to share very soon!

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A White Red Architects design for a ecologically sensitive tourist facility in Guangdong. 
 

The building and construction industry is responsible for approximately 40% of the world’s carbon emissions. To what extent do you believe that it is the responsibility of architects to drive forward the sustainability agenda, and how can they do this?

As designers we have a great opportunity to step up to the challenge ahead of us. I personally think that architecture requires a lot of problem-solving, so in that respect, we can have a great impact on the challenges of sustainability.

The most crucial part is ensuring that collaboration occurs across parties within the construction industry. It’s important to share knowledge around the collective goal of reducing the impact that construction has on the climate. We’re always on the lookout for fellow collaborators to work with and learn from.

During the Summit, we spoke a lot about sustainability, the rising demand for green spaces, and the potential emergence of the 15-minute city. What would you say the top three trends driving the architecture industry over the next year will be?

The next trends in architecture will mostly be related to the use of technology in design and construction.

Smart buildings are slowly being recognized as an important step in storing the data which will allow for the futureproofing of buildings within cities. 

In the coming months, I hope that 3D printing can make a step forward in being implemented in wider applications within construction. 

Lastly, I would like to see progress in the adoption of material and structural component re-use. I believe that there should be a better way of reusing and sharing the standardized components that form buildings. I’d love to see components handed down through time … a bit like Lego!

 

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The White Red team outside their office in Shoreditch, London. 
 

What would your advice be to young architects looking to forge a successful career in the industry? Where do the greatest opportunities lie in terms of segments of the real estate market, locations, consumers, and so on?

My advice to a young architect would be to connect with the community, attend events and talk to fellow professionals. I always find that you can learn so much from conversations and it’s also a great way to seek out opportunities by getting to know people in the industry.

The greatest opportunities lie in adopting the use of technologies, so for young architects, this could be an advantage over the older generations.

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