When I was an architecture student, we were often told we should pay no heed to realestate agents’ advice about market trends. Realestate agents only knew that which already existed, not that which might be in the future. As architects, we were told we would be visionaries, like Howard Roark. I no longer agree. Realestate agents, despite their cheap suits, relay feedback from everyday people, with whom many architects don’t normally associate. I mean, would I mingle with the unwashed? Certainly not!
In bike loving Portland, I recently learned, realestate agents are hearing people want houses with places to store and look after their bikes. We can imagine this request filtering through to architects and impacting the design of speculative apartment developments, could we not?
It is refreshing too, to see postmodern intellectuals’ leeriness with regards to hegemonic design processes, finally coming through in the words of a starchitect. I refer to my latest source of fascination and wonder, Bjarke Ingels, who speaks of turning pleasing into a radical agenda (go to 1.00min in this clip). It would be fair to assume the bike ramp access throughout his firm’s 8-House development, in Copenhagen, came about as a result of this ethos, especially given the huge numbers who ride bikes in that city. An agent tells a developer, who then tells Bjarke Ingels: "Make space for bikes!"