Larry Armstrong: Architecture During a Recession

The best way to survive a recession is to have a strategic plan firmly in place when the inevitable downturn happens.  That’s the opinion of Larry Armstrong, President of Ware Malcomb, an Irvine, CA-based international architectural firm with ongoing projects in the United States, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

In a recent interview for the Alter NOW Podcasts, Armstrong says “There is no question that we learned everything about saving a business and building a business during the 1990s downturn.”  In fact, Armstrong’s firm wrote a recession plan several years ago and determined exactly how they would react.  “You have to look at what revenue can support what level of staff and all the additional expenses and costs which, over time, become discretionary.  You have to look at those and decide what is necessary and what isn’t,” according to Armstrong.

The current environment does not support ego-driven, icon architecture.  Rather, there is a move towards thrift, because corporate users want to be seen as economical and functional — not as extravagant.  The recession also has impacted Corporate America’s attitude towards green design and LEED-certified buildings.  According to Armstrong, “We’re seeing a bit of a retreat – not major – and a vast majority of our projects are still LEED certified”.  Still, if the project is industrial, Armstrong is not hearing a desire for LEED certification anymore.

To listen to Larry Armstrong’s full interview on architecture during a recession, click here for the podcast.