With every new year comes moments of reflection and anticipation of what the future has in store. As companies trek forward into their business as usual routines, forecasting industry trends provide us a better understanding and agility for advancing design decisions. Our staff predictions from last year were largely spot on in their forecast. What would Overlanders predict for 2018? I was curious to know what possibilities they thought were on the horizon. Here’s what they had to share:

Architecture Industry

As the economy slowly glides forward, competition in the commercial market will lead to increased demand for projects with a real connection to place that enables authentic and equitable community. -Joel Albea, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Principal

Architecture firms will increasingly hire programmers. -Heath Henderson, Architect

The most celebrated commercial and mixed-use projects in 2018 will be ones in which the architects are getting more involved in the development of the project from a real estate perspective. -Emily Bowe, Sales Area Specialist

I think that Data will become increasingly important in the practice Architectural design. Integrating GIS planning information, drone photography, laser scanning, and other tools that give designers information will be more widely used. The information that we have will also begin to directly inform design through coding and generative design processes. And the data that we model will start being more directly leveraged in the building process through Virtual Building Design, through the increasing use of 3D printing and CNC machines, and eventually through robotic construction equipment. -Albert Condarco, RA, LEED AP

Design

An increased design investment in our urban centers, through creative infill, and the re-imagining of existing building stock. -Steven Kline, RA, LEED BD+C, Senior Architect

The undeniably tumultuous sociocultural and political landscape of the previous year will continue, forcing architects and designers to look further into their client, consultant, and community relationships to design with a heightened sense of empathy. A sense that sometimes goes undeveloped. -Tristan Andrews, Intern

As younger, more eco-conscious designers move into more leadership roles, new innovations to reuse and recycle waste (i.e. recycled plastics) will become more standardized building materials. -Sydney Aschbacher, Internal Communications Coordinator

Placemaking

Urban planners, architects, and interior designers will become increasingly concerned with activity. Based on our knowledge of motor function needs and ergonomics, designers will create spaces that engage our bodies in new ways. Having a standing desk will be the start, not the finish line. -Tristan Andrews, Intern

In our current socio-political climate, architects have the opportunity to impact communities more than ever. We have a social responsibility to design spaces for the betterment of society as a whole, not just for people who can afford it. I hope we continue to recognize the power we have and use it as a means to create positive change in neighborhoods, cities, and nations. -Madison Rogers, Urban Designer

People

I would love to see more of a spotlight on women in architecture – our history, our continued contributions, and an even more expansive dialogue on gender gap issues that persist in our profession. -Rebecca Sibley, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

A higher value will be placed on diversity and it’s necessity in Architecture, yielding a built environment that is more inclusive and identity building. -Greg Street, Designer

Technology

AR and VR will continue to be incorporated into the design process in meaningful ways. -Greg Street, Designer

The complicated relationship between architects and generative design will be both celebrated and decried. -Heath Henderson, Architect

Digital interface is vital to manifest contemporary ideas in a physical-digital form for the progress of art and wellbeing. -Italia Aguilera, Intern

Education

I think that architecture education is going to seek out more opportunities for hands-on experience and breaking out of academic molds. Design/builds, community work, and testing the waters with more obscure methods will increase. Next years designers will be carrying that mindset into firms across the United States. -Tristan Andrews, Intern

Sustainability

Architects will also need to fully take on true sustainable design with a new sense of urgency. Current public policy supporting carbon reduction goals exists on unsteady ground, and as a profession we should understand, accept, and leverage the responsibility to have real (and sometimes difficult) discussions with our clients and consultants on energy use and materials, and ensure execution of lofty goals into our projects. -Rebecca Sibley, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Technology is shaping environmental sustainability in the development of buildings. -Italia Aguilera, Intern

More people will realize that sustainable living is made up of surprisingly accessible and attainable little changes. -Tristan Andrews, Intern

I believe the focus for Architects in 2018 will be on Resilience, specifically related to climate change. There’s little time to debate whether climate change is real. Architects and designers in the profession of Architecture have to put the safety and welfare of the public first. In light of the many natural disasters this past year, we have an opportunity to incorporate Resilience in the rebuild. Buildings must be designed to better withstand events such as fire, flooding, earthquakes, heat waves, etc. We can reduce the injury, death, and economic loss from such events. We must work in collaboration with City Planners and Health and Safety Officials to develop more aggressive Emergency Action Plans so that we are better prepared for future crises and build stronger communities. -Sandra Montalbo, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, Sustainability Designer

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