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3 Ways to Capture the Genius loci in Your Architecture

Incorporate bold regional design elements to make your buildings sustainable, multi-functional, and beautiful.

The most memorable buildings meld innovation and distinction with a tangible expression of their region. This careful balance is imperative to success in the real estate development market. There's an important balance to strike to retain profitability and universal appeal for optimal resale value. You want to capture the essence of the region and still capture a broad range of buyers. 

3 Ways to Capture the Genius loci in Your Design

1. Consider the Climate 

This should sound obvious but start with the location itself. Throughout history different cultures have developed their architecture by responding to the climate and the challenges that ensue. Climate impacts nearly every decision you will make and will have an impact long after you make those decisions. The beautiful part of climate responsive design is that are often many ways to deal with the same issue. Cross ventilation, courtyards with fountains, and rooftop gardens are same simple examples of cultures' response to their surroundings. Rather than seeing architecture and the local climate as competing forces, take a lesson from history and blend them together in your design.

This may sound much more esoteric than it really is. Simple solutions are always best. For example, coastal regions allows for pleasant outdoor living; to integrate outdoor kitchens, fire pits, patios, and pools into the architecture itself. You can embrace the nature residents crave with floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights, and interior spaces that blend into exterior spaces seamlessly. With a little work, these elements won't just be aesthetically pleasing, they will also add value to the home and help it be a high-performance building.

2. Consider the Environment

Green living and sustainability are at the forefront of architectural demand. Regional elements will be crucial in this endeavor. Local, renewable sources — harvested in sustainable ways — reduce energy costs of transportation and waste. Fortunately, green design is so cutting-edge that it lends itself to stunning architectural imaginings. While your area may favor shingle or tile roofs, personalized homes are so popular that choices like reflective metal roofing and bamboo plywood won't make your next property unsellable.

Passive solar design is another perfect example. To meet the criteria, buildings should be elongated on an east-west axis, with the south receiving sunlight between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in the heating season. This is an excellent concept for Southwestern regions, where the landscape affords the opportunity for stunning ranch homes that fit the description.

3. Consider the People

The best architecture doesn't just look great from the outside, it beckons you inside to discover its intricacies and joys. Great designs unfold as you move through a building and uncover its many uses. Multi-functionality is particularly relevant to modern architecture. With remote working, co-working, and shared spaces on the rise, each room needs to serve many purposes.

Design should incorporate the regional attitude about dwelling preferences. In the Pacific Northwest, this means unpainted wood, asymmetrical floor plans, extensive use of windows, and low-pitched roofing. Office space and living space are often one and the same, so architects need to include regional preferences in commercial properties, not just residential ones.

To become a leader in the architectural industry, you have to think about the future. How will your buildings endure the elements, absorb the environment, and reflect the region in years to come? Do your structures showcase your own distinct solutions? Is your blueprint identifiable by the region, as well as your signature style? The best designs bear the essence of the region and the architect without locking the designer into a niche. Start your own innovative journey by taking our course, "Learn to Lead with Matthew Rosenberg." Learning the core tenets of leadership in the real estate and architecture markets will help fuel your career's development, so you can make bold, regional design choices.

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