Agenda Constructiilor – Metaverse brings new perspectives and possibilities for architects.

What projects do you have in progress? At what stage of implementation are they, and what are the execution deadlines? What other types of services does your company provide?
Over the past two years, we’ve primarily focused on residential projects—both collective housing and individual homes, both private and within residential complexes. There’s a consistent demand for new apartment-style residences within residential complexes that come with bold concepts and corresponding amenities. For individual homes, whether on private plots or within complexes, the demand has significantly increased amidst the pandemic, with a current emphasis on livable space and the demand for a peaceful oasis with greenery.

An investment trend we’re excited about is the resurgence of heritage properties and the transformation of iconic buildings into office spaces or residences. There’s still demand for office buildings and public functions, both in central areas and in those dominated by office buildings. Many of our projects are either recently completed or underway, slated to enter the market by 2023 at the latest. Some projects are in the authorization phase, but considering the necessary steps, execution for these is estimated to start in autumn 2023.

As a company, along with our in-house team and project partners, we offer comprehensive design services. As the general designer, Razvan Barsan + Partners provides specialized design services including Architecture, Structure, Installations, Fire Safety, Vertical Planning, Specific Studies such as NZEB Studies, Interior Design, and Project Management.

How did the office’s activity evolve in 2021, and what estimations do you have for 2022 and beyond?
2021 was a highly productive and profitable year for us; we initiated new projects with various concepts. It helped us develop creativity and offer a “green” architectural perspective to our clients. People increasingly desire safer, cleaner, and more modern environments, both in urban and suburban settings.

How do you see the evolution of design and construction activities at the beginning of 2022, and how do you think it will develop in the short and medium term, considering the new geopolitical context and recent price increases?
The beginning of the year continues to show potential for bold projects, with investors still studying the market and trying to anticipate which investments will become profitable. In the short term, based on our experience with clients, it’s a good period for research and design, even though a medium-term extension or delay in execution timelines is anticipated. The tension primarily arises from economic factors due to widespread price increases, but major players in the market are using this moment to better plan investments rather than retreat.

How have the pandemic-related effects of rising construction prices been felt within the company? Have you noticed a decrease in project demand in this context?
Since the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) regulations came into effect at the beginning of 2021, we’ve been discussing this topic with our engineering collaborators. With the rising costs of construction materials, we believe this issue is felt across society. These price increases have led to larger investment budgets, and some of our clients are integrating this into their business plans to ensure uninterrupted development. The first price increase was in electricity, contributing to increased execution budgets, followed by increases in wood and metal prices.

Have you noticed any changes in demand for high-energy-efficient constructions, one year after the NZEB standards came into force? How do you align with this trend?
Given the obligation to conduct studies mandated by Urbanism Certificates, most investors align with regulations regarding consumption optimization. We work closely with qualified specialists in this field, who study the performance of buildings for each project. Changes are seen in the use of high-performance or at least optimized installation equipment for reduced consumption and low pollution levels, as well as through the recommendation of different systems or suitable thermally efficient materials. The biggest impact is seen in residential complex investors with over 50 housing units, where implementing NZEB standards is already the norm.

What trends do you notice in architecture and design currently, given the current context?
We observe a diversity in the type of requests received, both from private clients and large investors. We certainly dedicate a significant portion of our time to the creative process, and the architecture we aim to materialize is modern, bold, and updated for the technology century. The aesthetic vision must impress without compromising functionality, user amenities, and without negatively impacting the surrounding area.

What impact do you think digitization and new technologies will have on the construction market and on the workforce and productivity in this sector? What investments do you have planned for digitalizing activities?
As a society, we’re in continuous development, with new software always emerging that can streamline our work, from architecture to project management. We’re debating a new working environment through the use of VR technologies that can complement traditional workflows and assist in a new universe—the virtual Metaverse.

In the Metaverse, architects will focus on 3D modeling and integrate their professional knowledge across multiple branches: user interface, content design, and even character design. But there are multiple challenges for us: Will there be limitations regarding architecture? Can we develop fantasies of the ideal city? What type of architecture will we use? The universe will be infinite.

We’re excited to implement this new-age architectural process!