As summer ebbed, many U.S. architecture firms were touting how their expansion into foreign markets, which had ramped up in earnest over the last few years, could hedge them against any domestic economic downturn. The reasons? Strong currencies. Non-reliance on foreign trade. Under-housed populations. Robust oil revenue.
How quickly predictions can change. As the financial crisis spreads like a contagion across the globe, markets that once seemed safe are very much less so. Banks’ refusal to lend, and investors’ unwillingness to commit, if they even have the wherewithal to do so, have delayed projects or resulted in their flat-out cancellation, often before architects have put pen to paper.