NYTimes: Architects' views of the recession

A story in the Sunday edition of the New York Times checks in with how architecture firms, large and small, are coping with the construction slowdown. With the boom days behind us, architecture firms now have to be more creative in looking for work, looking to unconventional commercial sectors and competing for public works projects, according to the article.

Among the trends to watch for, the article forecasts a rise in adaptive-reuse projects:

Beyond specialty niches, some architecture firms are banking on commissions to refurbish or adapt existing properties, in lieu of new construction. During downturns, building owners might take advantage of vacancies to renovate their properties, for example, or companies that had planned to move to new offices might decide to make do with their current buildings. One potentially hot area is “adaptive reuse,” in which new uses are imagined for buildings that have outworn their original purpose or whose premise is no longer viable. (Think of all of those half-finished luxury condominium towers and retail centers.)

“There’s a great opportunity in the existing building stock,” said Paul Katz, the president of Kohn, Pedersen, Fox Associates in New York. “Walk up any avenue in New York,” Mr. Katz said. “In five to six years, most of the buildings will be owned by someone else and occupied by very different people. We’re about to see a big transformation.”

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