Through The Eyes Of An Architect
As the atmosphere of the homebuilding industry changes in response to the current market correction, architects must examine and retool their design principles accordingly.
It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to recognize that the homebuilding climate has changed. The industry’s evolution is palpable and ubiquitous. Marketing strategies have dramatically shifted, the inventory surplus remains formidable, and we are left with the undeniable realization that suburban no longer sells.
But is it really hard to understand why?
Civilizations have always thrived when concentrated in bustling urban epicenters. The birth and subsequent proliferation of suburbia in the aftermath of World War II and the passing of the GI Bill was an unnatural phenomenon. Likewise, our return to higher-density projects in culturally diverse urban locales is not simply the result of land shortages and the increase in material costs; it’s a return to our natural habitat.
However, as the industry alters to accommodate the desire to go urban, our design expectations must change with it. After all, as director of operations for Danielian Associates Architecture + Planning Mike Boyd points out, “As we increase housing densities, the ‘American Dream’ must evolve.”
Mixed-use and minimum densities
In a world where privacy can no longer be afforded by the vast expanses of suburbia, the architect must look to design for solutions. Boyd identifies the careful positioning of interior spaces, unit orientation, window and door placement, strategic landscape design and thoughtful building composition as key components when balancing the need for privacy with the move toward higher-density necessitated by land scarcity and the often prohibitive costs of new-home construction.