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R o u n d t a b l e photo illustrations by julie pizzo; original photography by istock and shutterstock Outlook for a Downturn TA asks six architects to describe the effects of the recession and offer forecasts Just how troublesome are current economic conditions in Texas? To gain insight, Texas Architect invited six architects to join a roundtable discussion where they were asked to assess their local markets and offer near-term forecasts. The roundtable discussion took place in Austin on Jan. 19. The overall message is sobering, particularly coming so suddenly after several years of dizzying prosperity. According to most roundtable participants, the combined effects of the nation’s credit crisis and the near-collapse of the domestic oil industry hit their cities during the fourth quarter of 2008 with an impact more forceful and widespread than expected. Even those who saw it coming seem to have misread the complexity and severity of the financial cataclysm that has upset markets on a global scale. One bright spot on the horizon appears to be the federal government’s $789 billion stimulus package approved by lawmakers in February to fund a wide variety of public works. However, Washington has so far stumbled in its attempts to restart the flow of credit from the nation’s weakened financial institutions—the fundamental requirement for a vigorous economy. At this moment, many architects are busy with projects commissioned before the downturn. But now the chase begins for new work to remain productive into 2010. While the practice of architecture has never been for the fainthearted, the next 12 months will test even the most optimistic. S t e p h e n 30 t e x a s a r c h i t e c t S h a r p e 3 / 4 2 0 0 9

Texas Architect March/April 2009: Adaptive Reuse

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