by Haril A. Pandya
As the built environment continues to rapidly evolve, responding to both market and generational demands, the design and architecture profession have reached a crossroads. Creating static, one-use destinations – meaning those singular residential buildings, retail malls, or office parks – is no longer a sustainable solution. The shifting demand is for more flexible, dynamic, market responsive, and experience-driven environments, those spaces that provide a foundation for multiple functionalities and add undeniable long-term value to a community. Consumer expectations have evolved from simple, large-scale buildings with one ideology, to a more authentic and meaningful revitalization, adaptive reuse, and repositioning of buildings, spaces, and experiences.
Design firms must embrace this call to action, not only strategically positioning teams for the future, but making sure we are providing fresh insight in rewriting it.
Today’s consumers are engaging with the public realm, buildings, and brands in a much more fluid manner, moving through experiences with no delineation in mind about format, location, or category. The traditional sectors of workplace, retail, restaurant, hospitality, healthcare, and even industrial have blurred, and their influence signifies a shift in function and utilization of spaces where consumers choose to work, heal, stay, shop, dine and play.
As the rate of vacant commercial space continues to increase in today’s economic climate, thousands of properties are waiting to be repurposed, reimagined, and reinvigorated. Whether ground up or an existing property, it will be critical for these environments to incorporate humanity, social equity, and experience-focused design.
At NELSON we are focusing our design solutions on this intersection of markets, leveraging these fluid elements to create more meaningful, hybrid environments across the country, including:
Industrial x Retail – As the rapid increase in e-commerce clashes with the steady rise in retail vacancy rates, developers are left trying to bridge the gap. A more innovative distribution center concept, that not only aides in last-mile delivery but also provides consumer-facing click-and-collect options, can offer a longer-lasting, versatile solution focusing on engagement, helping with supply chain, and better addressing today’s speed of transaction.