Every quarter the American Institute of Architects updates its Home Design Trends survey and the fourth quarter dramatically shows the effects of the housing slowdown. But it also shows some other very positive trends: people are beginning to think about sustainability and accessibility instead of having duplicate appliances or hot towel drawers.
As the graph above shows, use of renewables is up and appliances are down.
The number of bathrooms is going down slightly;
But, significantly, people are beginning to think about how they are going to live in their houses as they age, and are getting interested in design for accessibility. This is an important trend, as it means people are thinking about houses as places to stay rather than investments to flip.
Of course the interest in accessibility may also be increasing because the only people who are buying anything are retiring boomers cashing out and downsizing; the market is completely under water.
As for the profession, it is always ahead of the economic curve, since architects are the first people hired in a project, and residential work in the states appears to have vaporized. Lets use this time-out to rethink how and what we plan and build, and perhaps take that LEED accreditation course. ::AIA