Home Design Trends: Smaller, Closer, More Urban

Fifteen years ago the joke was "what do you say to an architect with a job?" answer: "Big Mac and fries, please." The AIA survey of residential architects is a good guide to where design is going, and on the design front, things are going in a positive green direction. On the business side, it's going into the tank.

-"Residential architects are reporting continued strong interest in mixed-use facilities within developments; that is, projects where residential uses are integrated with retail and other commercial activities. They also see increasing interest in infill housing to take advantage of more desirable locations." -people are sick of commuting.

-New urbanism is catching on- "households are looking for communities that offer more recreational opportunities integrated into the development, and better access to public transportation opportunities and alternative transportation systems, such as bikeways and walkways. Traditional neighborhood design—with smaller lots where homes are close to the street and typically emphasize porches and sidewalks—is also growing in popularity. With these smaller lots, there is growing interest in having more communal open space available."

People are getting into porches and new urbanist ideas, and modern is just barely creeping up."Respondents were about evenly split between those seeing contemporary (as opposed to more traditional) home styles and facades growing in popularity as those who saw them declining. There was a consensus that nontraditional window shapes and sizes in homes, as well as simpler detail of home exteriors, were not picking up momentum." I blew that one.

Roger Lewis writes in the Washington Post :"Of course, architects are experiencing little change in the market for custom-designed luxury homes: Such projects are designed for clients whose financial resources insulate them from the stresses and strains of the credit world."

Just wait. It is the trickle-up theory here; the foreclosure problems affect the middle class production home buyer first as that business shuts down; next go the bankers and lenders who invented the CDOs and ARMs and all the other acronyms that are folding. Those are the people buying the custom luxury homes. ::Washington Post and ::AIA

Tags: Housing Industry

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