After two years of unprecedented challenges faced by real estate, experts share their predictions for 2022.

Johnathan Crawley

Johnathan Crawley

UK managing director, MiddleCap

Last year proved the office and London are far from dead, despite doom-mongering predictions to the contrary. The combined effects of Brexit and the pandemic have not lessened the appetite of investors or occupiers – as we have seen with the market bouncing back strongly, particularly in the last quarter – and I expect it to continue to thrive in 2022.

The industry’s fixation on ESG will rightly continue and those who dismiss it as a passing trend will do so at their peril. Investors and developers are already making changes to their businesses and portfolios and we’ll see progress with occupiers being more demanding about the environmental credentials of their spaces in particular. However, greater collaboration between development, design and construction teams, as well as the wider real estate industry, will be required to meet such targets and optimise building performance (in all aspects of the word) if we are to truly make progress.

Steven Charlton

Steven Charlton

Managing director, Perkins&Will London

Contrary to earlier predictions, the flexible working model is here to stay, with office spaces that blur the lines between home, work and leisure reigning triumphant.

Wellbeing will emerge as a central tenet of office design, with incorporation of biophilia in aesthetics and drawing inspiration from the hospitality sector for operations. As evidenced by AstraZeneca’s unveiling of its Cambridge site, and with pharmaceutical companies now household names, the pandemic has also been pivotal in giving the UK’s life sciences sector the boost it needs to emerge as a global leader.

From the architect’s point of view, the sector’s rapid evolution will mean placing adaptability at the heart of life sciences design. This will ensure that new technologies and research priorities can be slotted into laboratories, continually adapting to society’s changing healthcare needs.

Gabriela Hersham

Co-founder and chief executive, Huckletree

In today’s climate, business employees, from entry-level right the way through to C-suite, place significant emphasis on the experience their workplace offers. While data is proving that most employees now want to return to the office at least 50% of the time, developers must still take a 360-degree perspective of what buildings provide for their tenants from the outset.

Whether it is a hotel-inspired front-of-house service or a forward-thinking wellness offering, great amenities are essential to attracting and adding value to companies, especially when it comes to retaining talent.

Developers will be investing increasingly in third-party hospitality operators, recognising that a high-quality, thought-through hospitality strategy is what will drive yields. Buildings positioned to capture a younger, more demanding audience through avant-garde, differentiated offerings will be even more celebrated in 2022.

Russell Pedley Assael

Russell Pedley

Co-founder and director, Assael Architecture

As the built environment continues to be revolutionised by digital processes such as parametric modelling, BIM and the likes, embracing this technology will be key to streamlining a better planning process. This will promote the adoption of digital twins and help identify sites in favour of more sustainable development – ultimately de-risking the process for architects, developers and operators.

This year, we will also see the evolution of BTR, with a greater number of co-living and later-living communities integrating themselves into that offer.

There are likely to be more shifts in residential design as working from home continues, but with a demand for autonomy as well as collaboration spaces. The flexibility and ergonomic design of our homes will need to reflect that change. A move towards the co-living and intergenerational sector will see this new way of living solidified in our built environment.


Continue to part 27 here

Predictions for 2022: Brace yourself…