The value of design

What is the “value” of good design? Everyone reading this understands that you pay more for a BMW than a Ford. This is the value of a good design. The design can be an engineering innovation or the visual impact of the car.

What is the ECONOMIC “value” of good ARCHITECTURAL design? At the most primitive level, a good architectural design will have “engineering innovation.” A building that has an effective layout and efficient operation serves the building owners and occupants at an optimum level; hence providing good economic value.

The visual impact of good architectural design also returns value to the building owner and occupants. The good design of the Register Star Tower has provided the newspaper with a visual symbol and identity that can be likened on a local level to the Nike swish. A few extra dollars invested in good architectural design can return hundreds of thousands of dollars in market recognition.

Good design can increase the physical value, desirability, and continued use of a building. Stewart Square has been occupied by rent-paying tenants for years. The good design continues to attract investment and continues to retain tenants. North Towne Mall is no longer a mall. I seriously doubt Forest Plaza will exist for many years.

Finally, good architectural design can attract and impress customers, clients, or tourists. Sears built (at the time) the tallest building in the world to impress and attract the world to the Sears name. Locally, the Coronado continues to impress and attract stars like BB King–and his audience.

Good ARCHITECTURAL design does have ECONOMIC value. If you use a building, select the BMW, not the Yugo; select the Coronado, not Showplace. If you are a building owner, remember to invest in the BMW, not the Yugo; build another Register Star, not another metal box.

Rob C. Belles’ architecture office is at 101 E. Jefferson St. in Rockford.

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