New York City
Head, Department of Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.
Credit: Courtesy Lynnette Widder
"I would hope that the current housing market developments will liberate people from 'resale value' thinking, and allow them to engage in a serious conversation with their architects and builders about what constitutes true quality. Quality of life is measured in many more years and much greater pleasure than how best to sell one's home as quickly as possible to the highest bidder. While reduced leverage among homeowners may make for smaller and fewer projects, it may also mean that those projects are more sincerely considered and more deeply appreciated."
—Lynnette Widder, aardvarchitecture, New York City, and head, Department of Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.
"There's likely to be an increased awareness of renewable energy standards and tax credits that motivate homeowners to make investments in their future power needs. Here in California, we have the strictest energy standards, and what we adopt is typically adopted by the rest of the country. One would hope we'd learn more from the auto and aerospace industries about delivering homes in faster time, but I think that will be slow in coming."
—David Hertz, FAIA, LEED AP, David Hertz Architects—Studio of Environmental Architecture, Santa Monica, Calif.
Ray Kappe, FAIA
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Credit: Jeff Corwin
"My experience with recoveries from recession is that in most cases, the housing market returns to its old ways. This time, sustainability will obviously be a new element in the next housing market. Whether smaller houses will prevail depends upon the employment market and what people can afford. Those of us who are involved in the prefab factory-built housing market hope inroads will be made, but this can only happen if there's the opportunity to develop large communities with enough quantity to drive the costs down."
—Ray Kappe, FAIA, Kappe Architects/Planners, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Director, Cranbrook Art Museum
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Credit: Mitch Carr, courtesy Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum
"Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to the architectural spaces that we call home. Hopefully one of the lessons of the 2008 housing crisis will be the realization that a smaller, custom-designed home can offer an environment that actually meets its residents' needs better than a generic big box."
—Gregory Wittkopp, director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
"What the bust will mean now, as it did in the 1970s and early '90s, is that architects can show we're useful in marshalling limited resources in construction and in mitigating the costs of heating and cooling created by fossil fuel price increases. Architects, who have always felt that value was the essential core of the service they offer, will have more value to people than they had during the boom.
Duo Dickinson, AIA
Duo Dickinson Architect
Credit: Courtesy Duo Dickinson Architect
Hopefully in the next five to 10 years there will be a grounding of what things cost. We're seeing that in our bidding now: Estimates range from 5 percent to 10 percent of each other, as opposed to the high bid being twice as high as the low bid, when contractors were just throwing out numbers because they were busy. When architects buy into the hype and don't question the cost of things, we end up agreeing with the go-with-the-flow attitude that screwed a lot of people who should have known better but had no advice of counsel. Does a kitchen have to be 30 feet by 40 feet? Does a house want to be 7,000 square feet? Is it really where your clients want to put the value?
People always want trophies, but unless we become the conscience of our clients, we lose moral credibility. Architects should be the ones who show constancy and perspective—and not sell out to hype."
—Duo Dickinson, AIA, Duo Dickinson Architect, Madison, Conn.
Richard Swett, FAIA
"The practice of handing out mortgages to those who cannot afford them will come to an end. The result of this will be a change in the overall size of homes. People will purchase homes they will be able to make a down payment on, and will most likely move into smaller homes rather than wait until they can afford larger ones. This will require us to put a lot more emphasis on sustainability and energy costs. We will also have to take a small-house approach to design and focus more on creating versatile spaces. Our basic objective will be to do more with less."
—Richard Swett, FAIA, Swett Associates, Concord, N.H.
Deputy Curatorial Director Cooper-Hewitt
National Design Museum
New York City
Credit: Ben Baker
"Those who already have houses, and had been thinking of purchasing a larger house, might opt for renovating what they have. I can see an escalation in interior work rather than new work from the ground up. I think that there will always be a market for McMansions, but the numbers will most likely decline as people become more focused on affordability and environmental responsibility."
—Matilda McQuaid, deputy curatorial director, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York City