The keyword in selling to residential or commercial architects is Evolution. Too often building materials manufacturers, homebuilders, dealers, distributors, and contractor see their products and the marketplace as static or very slow to change. As the world evolves you will find architects at the forefront of these changes.
Architects Evolve in Two Ways
1. Styles Evolve:
Architects are always looking for opportunities to enhance their standing in their community and to make their designs stand out. As they seek new design inspiration, they are also searching for building materials with which to create their vision.
Manufacturers whose products either conform to new expectations or have the capacity for adaptability can offer the architect flexibility to either solve a unique problem or a solve a problem in a unique way. Perhaps your product can be used in a unique new application. Keep in mind that these new applications can be both aesthetic or performance based.
Architects are Global. They Draw Inspiration From All Over the World.
For example, trends in international design indicate that standard building materials are now being used in innovative ways. For example, screens are being used to cover skylights. Not only does this offer light blocking, it can also increase air flow where there was none before. Existing screen technology may be adaptable for this unique installation challenge.
Retractable Panels provide shade and light block capacity while offering a cutting-edge new look for the exterior of the home. Some look like barn doors and slide across the façade, others act like wings that open and close like casement windows.
Privacy walls are especially popular in crowded cities like Tokyo. A single wall placed between the dwelling and the neighboring street or walkway provides light, air and complete privacy. Some designers are incorporating geometric cut-outs in the walls for a dramatic flair.
Another example is how architects have been taking some products that are traditnally used in a horizontal application and using them vertically on walls.
Building materials manufacturers who can see how their products can be used for these unique design trends can both add to the Architects’ portfolio and their own sales growth. Expanding the uses of your product is also a great way to extend the life of a product.
Watch for style evolutions internationally and through the imagination of architects. These trends start small and create an opportunity for the manufacturer to share these ideas with architects to stimulate more sales.
2. Standards Evolve:
LEED: Like many other professional disciplines, architects are developing systems and designs that are environmentally responsible. LEED Certification has been around for a number of years. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings are certifiably sound in environmental practices and standards.
While it is definitely easier on the environment, attaining LEED certification remains optional. Architects with burgeoning businesses may want to seize the opportunity to advance their LEED certification by seeking materials that fit within the LEED standards.
Being LEED certified allows them to take advantage of a growing number of state and local incentives, which they can pass on to their clients. They can also use the certification to advance their name in the community.
Building materials manufacturers who offer environmentally sound products or services can aid the architect on this quest as well.
SEED: Recently, a new philosophy of building standard was introduced, the “SEED” standard. The acronym for “Social Economic Environmental Design,” the SEED standards seek to provide guidance, evaluation and certification for the social, economic, and environmental relevance of design projects. Announced at the recent “Structure for Inclusion” conference in Washington DC, the project is responding, partly at least, to the impact of the recession on the building community and the communities they build.
The SEED developers are a group of architects, designers, activists and community leaders. They have created the “Evaluator,” an online tool that guides architects and other building professionals through the process of creating a building or community that is socially, environmentally and economically sensitive.
Building materials manufacturers who are willing to create new materials or modify existing materials that respond to this turn of philosophy will have a whole new portfolio to present to their local, innovative, forward-thinking architect.
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