The times they are a-changin'

When Bob Dylan recorded his epic anthem in 1964, the world around him was in chaos.


When Bob Dylan recorded his epic anthem in 1964, the world around him was in chaos.

The Vietnam War, the American Civil Rights Movement, the Panama Canal and the Cold War all raged. The Beatles invaded America, the Rolling Stones debuted and Lenny Bruce was convicted and sent to prison.

Dylan wrote: The line it is drawn / The curse it is cast / The slow one now / Will later be fast / And the present now / Will later be past / The order is rapidly fadin' / The first one now / Will later be last / For the times they are a-changin'.

It was a testament to the inevitability of change and the only way he knew how to articulate the social and political divide the world was witnessing. As it turns out, his words are as pertinent today as they were then.

As the Olympics drew to a close and the torch was passed from Beijing to London, people around the world are, perhaps, still torn between nostalgia and anticipation.

The Bird's Nest Stadium and Water Cube of Beijing will give way to, perhaps, the Tea Cup Stadium and Fish n' Chips Aqua Centre. Regardless of their actual monikers, you can bet architects the world over have completely closed the book on Beijing and are looking forward to showcasing their projects on the next Olympic-sized stage. You can be sure we'll be profiling those projects as soon as they're announced.

Middle East Architect is also turning an inevitable page: This is the final issue of our first year in existence. Much like the Dylan-esque 1960s, it has been equal parts chaotic, demanding and rewarding. We've seen our share of divisive conflicts and enjoyed our share of successes.

Our editorial, design, production and sales teams have worked to make MEA the most popular and well-read architecture publication in the region and for that, I thank them.

Speaking on behalf of the editorial team, I hope we've also created the most well-respected architecture publication in the region. Dylan also warned listeners that they'd better start swimming lest they sink like a stone, and it's with this sage advice that I welcome our new designer, Lucy McMurray. Make no mistake about it though, like a female Michael Phelps, she's the strongest of swimmers.

I am a keen believer in the inevitability of change and with the Olympics, MEA's second year and our new staff, I welcome it. I recognise and acknowledge that the innovative display of architecture and engineering in Beijing was a world-first.

And, while I rarely 'prophesize with my pen', I am both a writer and a critic. So, I'll be sure to keep my eyes clearly focused on the projects planned for London; for I know the chance to duplicate the masterpieces from Beijing may not come again.

Jeff Roberts is the editor of Middle East Architect.

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Construction Week - Issue 767
Sep 01, 2020