After the lurching halt of the building boom, how to survive and eventually recover is on the minds of just about every architect, designer, and builder. The design and building industries—commercial and residential alike—are being forced to take a hard look at the driving forces behind the work of the past several years and consider a new, more sensible and sustainable approach. These articles from around the web discuss these new possibilities.
The time of high-profile vanity projects and architecture fever appears to have waned. Of necessity, the focus is shifting away from grand artistic expressions to problem-solving design centered on climate change and resource conservation, urban planning, and new building methods and materials, reports The Boston Globe.
A similar report discusses the international architecture profession's "reality check," in the form of cancellations or suspensions of work on jaw-dropping projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and in Moscow. The global economic slump may allow sustainability to rise to the forefront, posits Der Spiegel's online news outlet, Spiegel Online.
The economic slump is spurring building owners to pursue energy-efficient upgrades and retrofits as an alternative to new construction, resulting in significant energy cost savings. It's more about the efficient management of processes than it is about radical changes to systems or structures, reports Engineering News-Record.
In many regions McMansions are falling out of fashion, and homeowners are passing up cookie-cutter luxury homes in the suburbs for neighborhoods with architectural character. The market is ripe for sensitively executed urban infill projects, The Christian Science Monitor reports.
The McMansion backlash also has homebuyers looking for smaller, more efficient, and yet more flexible homes with modest price tags. Designer Marianne Cusato, creator of the "Katrina Cottage," has developed a prototype that addresses the market's concerns over efficiency, cost, and flexibility: the "New Economy Home." BUILDER magazine reports.
The economic crisis is simply making things harder for homeowners who already were hit by the mortgage crisis, and many suburban neighborhoods around the country have become ghost towns. New York Times columnist and blogger Allison Arieff wonders, now that housing issues and priorities have shifted, is there a way to save the suburbs?.