Top Stories of 2021

The Top Built Stories of 2021

From managing volatile materials prices to discovering more sustainable ways to build, these were the top stories of the Built Blog in 2021.

If 2020 will be remembered as the year the COVID-19 pandemic spun the world on its head, 2021 will be marked as the year society became more accustomed to living with the virus.

The construction industry, much like it did in 2020, spent much of this year not only continuing to operate in the face of the immense challenges brought on by the pandemic, but carried on innovating as well. Such progress is reflected in the top stories we featured on Built, the Bluebeam Blog, this year.

From managing volatile building materials prices to planning to build for a more environmentally sustainable future, Built’s top stories from 2021 show just how proud the construction industry should be. Not only did this year’s top stories reflect the industry’s ability to overcome obstacles and create new opportunities, but they showcased the remarkable people making such developments reality.

Here are the top Built stories of 2021:  

Chicago Tunnel and Reservoir Plan

Why the World Is Closely Eyeing Chicago’s Decades-Long Mega Aquatic Infrastructure Project: The city’s Tunnel and Reservoir Plan, in progress for roughly half a century, promises to tackle unique water quality and flow challenges increasingly made more daunting by extreme weather brought on by climate change.

Brutalist Architecture

Brutalist Architecture: Dividing Observers Since the Mid-20th Century: The hulking, monolithic concrete structures are assailed by critics as grim and inhuman, while impassioned supporters say the style has been misunderstood.

Red Sea Airport

Is the Red Sea Airport in Saudi Arabia the Airport of the Future?: The Red Sea Airport set to open in 2022 in Saudi Arabia aims to be equal parts luxurious and environmentally sustainable.

smell in architecture

Designed for the Nose: The Art of Scent in Architecture: A building’s value comes from many factors, but what ultimately hits the nose can have a tremendous—and sneaky—influence on how people behave inside a structure.

Lashanna Lintamo welding

Meet Lashanna Lintamo, Welder-Turned-Social-Media-Mogul: The 35-year-old welder is using social media to inspire future generations to enter the trade—and promote her larger ambitions that aim to help the Black community across industries.

Brent Spence Bridge

Two Trucks Collided on a Kentucky Bridge—Then Construction Saved the Day. Here’s How: The 2020 repair of the Brent Spence Bridge in northern Kentucky demonstrates the vital role construction plays in emergency response building.

How to Build in 2030: Government environmental targets are reinforcing the need to build more sustainably and efficiently in the next decade. A group of construction sector experts discussed the issue.

Historic Chicago Architecture

3 Amazing Chicago Houses Not Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: The venerable architect’s creations are constantly praised and worth seeing—but so are these area architectural landmarks.

Bamboo Building

Can Bamboo Construction Replace Timber and Steel?: Bamboo checks many of the boxes of an eco-friendly material, so some researchers are testing the material’s commercial viability in construction.


This Architect Designs Stunning Treehouses. Here’s How He Does It: Forget the rickety backyard treehouses—these tree-based structures are lavishly designed and come packed with stunning structural and design features.

building materials prices

What Contractors Need to Know About Volatile Materials Prices: The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly spawned a topsy-turvy market for raw construction materials, but this Q&A reveals that pre-pandemic factors are also to blame.

lumber price drop covid-19

Once Sky High, Lumber Prices Tumble. Here’s Why: This essential construction material became a scarce commodity during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic, but prices recently plummeted—why?

Construction Technology Trends

10 Technology Trends Positioned to Disrupt Construction: From autonomous vehicles to digital collaboration, contractors who aren’t on top of these technologies are going to risk falling behind the rest of the industry.

Construction Social Media Influencers

Meet the builders-turned-influencers growing their businesses online through social media.