What were the most popular stories of 2023 on Modus?

Profiles of RICS members, as well as topics related to climate change and architecture have made it into our top 10 most-read articles this year


  • Barnaby Row

19 December 2023

10 black and white article images with coloured zig zag lines behind on an orange background

Over the past year, Modus has published features on a variety of topics related to the work of RICS members and the built environment.

Ranging from Brutalism to biodiversity, and member profiles to the gender pay gap. And let’s not forget the importance of the humble toilet.

We crunched the numbers and found that these were the most popular stories of 2023.

Illustration of a group of people with money and benefits

Which real estate sector pays the most?

Back in August, we broke down the Macdonald & Company Salary, Rewards and Attitudes Report, to take a look at the financial data in the real estate sector. The report uncovered many eye-opening statistics which showed the highest earning areas of the real estate sector around the world. It also revealed that an enormous gender pay gap persists across the industry. On average, women earn a staggering 31.5% less than men.

Wooden office block filled with plants against blue sky

Future-proof: retrofitting commercial property

As the world transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, the commercial property sector needs to transition to accommodate this seismic shift. Modus delved into the difficulties of retrofitting commercial properties, which are often some of the most difficult types of property to adapt to meet net zero targets.

Looking down concrete walkway to residential building

Brutal or beautiful? The Barbican Estate

A grey monstrosity to some, and a concrete kaleidoscope to others, the Barbican Estate has divided opinion since its unveiling in 1969. Designed to breathe new life into central London, The Barbican Estate certainly achieved this, remaining an important cultural centre and one of the finest examples of Brutalist architecture in the world.

How has the Barbican Estate weathered the test of time, both in terms of its structural integrity and its current architectural cachet?

“The sheer scale and ambition of the Barbican makes it so unlike anything else to be found in the UK or even Europe” Jon Astbury, The Barbican

Woman sat on red ledge with backdrop of theatre seats

Alexandra Revell MRICS: renovating the Royal Albert Hall

Over the summer, we profiled Alexandra Revell MRICS, a 28-year-old chartered surveyor who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the Royal Albert Hall. She was able to take us up to the rafters and down to the archives, granting unique access to this iconic building.

Photo of The Tokyo Toilet by SAMURAI

At your convenience: the importance of good toilets

“We must eat, drink, sleep, breathe and go to the toilet: those five things are not negotiable,” says Raymond Martin, MD of the British Toilet Association. It is the fifth of these essential practices which was the focus of this Modus article, as we dive into the important and often overlooked topic of public lavatories.

From gender-neural bathrooms, to the prestigious Loo of the Year awards, Modus left no toilet lid unopened, and revealed the value of a good public convenience.

Silhouette cut out of soldier with city backdrop

From soldier to surveyor

From tank commander to owner of a successful surveying business, Ed Treliving MRICS is an ex-serviceman who, after leaving the military, began a career as a surveyor. More and more people leaving the armed forces are realising that the skills they gained in the military are ideally suited to the surveying industry.

We sat down with six people who became surveyors after leaving the armed forces, to learn their routes into the industry and to hear their unique stories.

“Veterans make good employees and are good people to be around” Ed Treliving MRICS, tank commander to surveyor

Alan Bainbridge

Alan Bainbridge FRICS: transforming the BBC’s estate

Running the BBC’s property estate of 150 different locations across the UK is no mean feat, but Alan Bainbridge FRICS is equal to the task. Under the scrutiny of the public eye, Bainbridge has been integral to the BBC’s decentralising strategy, with many offices being moved out of London to other parts of the UK.

“Everything we do has to be able to be scrutinised, so you do it properly, and you do it with integrity,” he says.

Aerial view of The Shard in the foreground and the Thames and London skyline

Buildings that elevated cities: The Shard, London

“The Shard was designed to be a beacon for modern London,” says Shard Quarter’s Derek Rossenrode. Since the landmark skyscraper’s construction in 2012, The Shard has made an instant impact on every area in its radius and immediately become an iconic part of the capital’s skyline. Based on a sketch that was scrawled on a paper napkin, Britain’s tallest building became a reality.

Floating hands solving a Rubik's cube made of parts of an office on a yellow background

What are the most important features of office design?

With the pandemic firmly in the rear-view mirror, hybrid working has become commonplace. Back in October, Modus analysed The Workplace Reset; a Leesman report that investigated how working habits have changed in recent years. Our infographics provide an insight into different employees’ priorities for a productive office environment.

Pool of water with reeds in foreground and housing development in background

How to ensure biodiversity net gain in new developments

This year saw the introduction of new legislation in the UK, to ensure that all new building projects must improve biodiversity by at least 10%. Over-development and the effects of climate change have led to a decrease in biodiversity, particularly in high density urban environments. Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is the government’s solution to this problem.


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