A Data-Driven Look at the Architecture and Design Industry


Firms balance work between the tension of innovating their practice and finding their footing in the changes of the industry. Simultaneously, firms are advising clients on the future work, ESG metrics, and more. What are people paying the most attention to in the current industry?

Welcome to the second season of Architecture 5 10 20! I’m your host, Guy Geier, Managing Partner of FXCollaborative Architects in New York. Guests from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences related to the built environment will come to share their thought leadership. Our conversations will start with understanding how they arrived at what they’re doing now. More importantly, we will focus on discussing their vision for the future, looking out 5, 10, and 20 years.

Today, we’re joined by Amanda Schneider, researcher, writer and founder of ThinkLab, the intelligence division of SANDOW. She is also the host of Design Nerds Anonymous, the interiors industry focused podcast that sparks curiosity at the intersection of business and design. She started as a product designer, noticed an industrial design and product design gap, and worked towards closing that gap since then.

Listen to Amanda speak about the finding of ThinkLab’s recent research and where the data has indicated opportunities in the architecture and design industry. She discusses the healthy tensions of evolving as a firm. Firms can leverage data to recognize opportunities where design should push the envelope, such as digitization, sustainability, and DEI. Later on, Amanda explores where most architect firms may land on the spectrum of creativity vs efficiency, tradition vs futurism, and in person work vs hybrid work.

Amanda’s research findings around digitization, sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion, show measured progress in the architecture and design industry, as well as opportunities for action that are backed by data. Understanding these important topics and emerging tensions through the lens of current research can help firms, as well as our clients, make informed decisions that will benefit the future of our industry.

Time stamps: [01:13] – Amanda Schneider feels audio is uncharted territory. How can this boost business?

[03:29] – Amanda explains how she found her way to the design industry for the built environment.

[06:25] – What are people paying attention to in the current industry?

[08:54] – Amanda suggests three topics A&D firms could proactively discuss.

[10:42] – How does architecture differ in the metaverse?

[12:38] – Amanda talks about leveraging virtual spaces while keeping real life experiences.

[14:35] – What are the early innovations happening at the intersection of architecture and AI?

[16:12] – Amanda shares the sustainability results of the building industry during recent years.

[18:09] – Why does the life cycle of a building matter in sustainability conversations?

[19:30] – Here are questions to ask when deciding on sustainability approaches in the built environment.

[21:43] – How many clients are asking for ESG related measures? How much does it depend on which generation you’re interacting with?

[24:23] – Amanda shares the data that surrounds DEI awareness in firms.

[26:13] – How do firms choose when to innovate or when to refine an idea?

[28:57] – Relate to generations as prototypes and clues to the future, rather than stereotypes.

[30:43] – In the current market, do most designers see themselves as early adopters, fast followers, or traditionalists?

[33:35] – What is the office of the future?

[36:21] – “The rebirth of the office.”

[38:08] – Thank you Amanda for reminding us to use research findings to make informed decisions that will benefit the future of our industry.

Links / Resources:

Guy Geier

Instagram | Twitter

Amanda Schneider

Design Nerds Anonymous Podcast


The Learning Objective

Design Nerds Anonymous episode with Guy


Guy Geier

Guy Geier FAIA, FIIDA, LEED is Managing Partner of FXCollaborative and host of the architecture 5 10 20 podcast.

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