Have you ever looked at something for years and one day noticed something new? One slight shift in perspective and everything changes. A business you never noticed before on a street, the way the light hits a building or sometimes something much bigger.

We accept things like long taxi lines at the Las Vegas airport, working in the same cubicle for years because we think it's just part of life. But people--with the benefit of changed perspective--are looking to change all of that and create buildings that work for us and not the other way around. Architecture is everywhere and it's important because bad architecture is actually proven to make us miserable.

Change takes time in architecture. As the saying goes, Des Moines wasn't built in a day. Change is slow. But when it happens--like it's starting to now--you look back years and years later and wonder how people ever did things that way.

A generation ago the major trend in architecture was mixed-use. Building off that the new trend is to add green space, eliminate travel times and make things even more efficient.

"Society can access everything now so quickly. You then physically want to have the same experience. You want to have things very close to you. Millennials are shaping these new building types," said architectural designer Luca Maffey.


The Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta is adding a 440 room hotel and conference center that is literally steps from the terminal. Walk out and your hotel, office or meeting is a one-minute walk away. Designed by John Portman & Associates, it expands upon mixed-use to a point where a paramount is put on accessibility and efficiency.

People may not think to have an office right next to an airport but if they travel a lot or host others a lot it makes perfect sense. Understanding both design and what people need is a crucial element that goes in to architecture.

"We started in 1953. My father created the Atlanta Hyatt Regency, the first atrium hotel. Several hotels of that nature around the country and around the world. Uniquely he became the first architect to become a developer," said Jack Portman. "In the late 50s it was condemned as a conflict of interest. Coincidentally now they teach architects to be developers to have more control of the process."

Sense of home

This same airport design focuses on adding green space to the airport. Instead of seeing a parking garage roof, there is a garden, trees, 360 degrees of green space. Millennials are looking for something more than concrete and walls. Why is that important? Because every business/building is competing against the desire to work from home and create work-life balance.

The more you can make work feel like home, the more competitive you are in attracting millennial talent. If your culture is inviting but you have fluorescent lights and cubicles it doesn't work. This is a challenge many top companies are facing. Culture sometimes changes before buildings but both take time.


Expect parking garages to be smaller as we use more ride-sharing. Larger drop-off zones will be created to accomodate for our change in habits.


Integrating IoT, video conferencing, these are all things that can be done after a building is created. But what if it's built with modern tech in mind. Allowing people to have their groceries waiting for them as they leave the office so they can head home--the possibilities are endless especially in mixed-use buildings.

Downtown Renaissance

We are seeing trends to maximize small spaces. Large houses and SUVs aren't status symbols for this generation. They would rather take an Uber and live somewhere with plenty of things to do. You can't park a tiny house in a downtown but you can understand that concept and create budget-conscious options for people, under 1000 square feet that make living downtown affordable. This then helps cities and downtown areas grow and reverse urban sprawl.