José Manuel Fernandes

José Manuel Fernandes

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Architecture: what has changed in 20 years

João de Sousa Rodolfo

Founder of Traçado Regulador

João de Sousa Rodolfo
The last 20 years have been marked by three factors that have strongly conditioned architecture and design in Portugal: the growing awareness of the need for sustainable construction, technological evolution and the level of demand with regard to the space we inhabit.
The impact of buildings on the environment is huge, both in their production and in their use. The construction industry represents around 10% of the world’s GDP and electricity consumption in residential, commercial and service buildings represents around 50% of total consumption.
The growing awareness of the need for sustainability has revealed itself in the management of energy and water, the use of natural resources in the manufacture of construction materials and the collateral production of polluting residues. But, despite the advances in this sector, there is still a long way to go.
Technological evolution has been reflected both in the project design and in the quality of the built environment. On the one hand, technology has enabled better projects, with the possibility of multiple endorsements, both from a creative and technical point of view. On the other hand, it enables a better compatibility between projects and an increase in the quantity and quality of information transmitted to the work. Technology has also been important in improving the spaces we inhabit, making them more energy efficient, more comfortable and more functional.
Finally, the new concept of «living» has introduced new functions into the residential space, in addition to the traditional ones, that is, eating, sleeping and socialising. The pandemic, with the long periods of lockdown to which it forced us and the emergence of telework, accelerated this trend. Examples of these new functionalities are, for example, the work space or physical exercise space. On the other hand, the relationship with space has also been reinforced, with an appreciation of fluidity and spatial intrigue and the relationship with outdoors.
All this has been possible thanks to a new and talented generation of Portuguese architects, who place our country among the first in terms of the quality of their production, which has been clear to see in the pages of Villas&Golfe over these 20 years.
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