Location is often cited as being a decisive factor in determining a property’s market value. Certainly, in the domestic housing market, it drives property values, with factors such as local transportation, schools, shops, hospitals and amenities all contributing to a location’s desirability.
However, there is another location factor that makes a crucial difference in selling the concept of a building, and this is also applicable to commercial builds. This element is landscape architecture.
Here, Nichola Robinson, business development specialist for commercial builds, explains the importance of landscape architecture in selling building concepts to potential clients.
Leading with the Landscape
“You cannot build in isolation. Buildings only work if they relate to their surroundings, and they work better if they can demonstrably add value to their location.”
The landscape is a constantly evolving thing. The European Landscape Convention (ELC) defines landscape as ‘An area perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of human and/or natural factors.‘
“With careful design and planning, landscape architects can create developments that are sympathetic to their location, that benefit the community as well as the developer”
There is an argument that, reversing the accepted norm, landscape should drive the layout of buildings.
“Landscape-led masterplanning puts people first when considering a development. It’s a recognition that spaces outside buildings are just as important as the spaces inside them.”
What Gives a Building its Wow Factor?
“Obviously there are material properties, layout and the overall design.”
“There are other factors, such as how easy it is to use routes navigating its site, or what kind of views it will offer its occupants.”
“There are also environmental concerns to do with buildings in the landscape, including noise and light pollution, and what benefits a commercial build will bring to the local community in which it is to be situated.”
Future Trends in Landscape Architecture
“In the evolving landscape, new technologies and concerns are changing how people live and work. It is vital, therefore, that developers consider these changes when considering the space surrounding their projects.”
One aspect is adapting for climate change.
“Increasingly, design solutions will need to incorporate elements critical to coping with environmental pressures, especially extremes of weather such as heat, cold and flooding”
Another consideration is how transport will change.
“Commercial builds will need to allow for alternative transport modes, which will impact how people commute. Expect a need for more cycle access and storage capacity, for electric vehicle charging, and for pedestrian access to public transport links.”
Technology allows for more comprehensive data collection and analysis, which will help refine building maintenance and infrastructure services, including cleaning and waste systems to minimise environmental impact.
Increasingly, building information modelling, BIM, is making inroads into landscape architecture, helping architects, designers and developers anticipate productivity savings and better assess lifecycle and maintenance.
“As technologies improve, there are greater opportunities for joined-up strategies linking landscape architecture, masterplanning and BIM”
“Who benefits? Building developers, who can ensure that the bigger picture contributes to the marketability of their projects,” Nichola concludes. “But also, crucially, people and the local environment.”
For an accompanying read, please visit:
- Can Quality Materials Help to Market Building Projects?
- Are Architects’ Specs a Boost for Commercial Build?
Nichola Robinson is hosting The Commercial Build Show, in central Manchester, in association with Modu Exhibitions and Property Aspects Magazine.