25 Design Trends for 2012

Design Intelligence recently published their Design Trends Forecast for 2012 – 2015. None of the trends is surprising, but shifting an organizational culture and the structures that reinforce it is a significant challenge. Adjusting to new paradigms will be painful for some. But for those with eyes to see opportunities while they still look like obstacles, this should be a fascinating ride.

Working harder is no longer the solution. There is a revolution going on.

 Here’s my summary:

1. Potential customers live everywhere (especially in China, India, and Brazil).

2. There is an increasing domestic need for creatively rehabilitated urban development.

3. Mastering BIM technology is critical.

4. The demand for young talented architects will increase as baby boomers retire.

5. Architects need to deepen their expertise and broaden their scope of services to fend off competition from outside the AEC industry.

6. Sustainable design is becoming mandatory.

7. The demand for integrated project delivery and other collaborative models of project delivery will increase.

8. Alternative financing strategies (ex: public-private partnerships) are becoming more common.

9. Clients will expect more from Architects.

10. Architects will have to prove their value to escape commoditization.

11. Collaborative, interdisciplinary teams will lead innovation.

12. Firms with entrepreneurial mind sets will flourish.

13. Energy will increasingly drive design decisions.

14. Successful firms will be optimistic and far-sighted despite lingering economic challenges.

15. Buildings will be judged by information they collect about themselves.

16. The environmental impact of construction products will be increasingly accessible.

17. Architects need to revise their business models to resist the downward pressure on fees.

18. The age of mega firms is dawning.

19. Successful firms will harness rapidly evolving technology.

20. Asia’s influence will increase.

21. Evidence-based design and computational analysis will help architects demonstrate the value of their designs.

22. Architects will need to make a case to improve aging infrastructure.

23. The workplace (for our clients) will be increasingly mobile, flexible, and virtual.

24. The capacity to deliver great projects quickly will be a major strategic advantage.

25. Architectural education and practice still need a realignment.


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