The architecture world is still buzzing over the firing last week of Frank Gehry. Developer Bruce Ratner dismissed the star designer from the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, N.Y., after months of Gehry's role in designing the project had been scaled back in an effort to curb construction costs. The move was startling because Gehry, designer of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, had long been the projects’ main selling point to investors.
Gerhy’s high profile dismissal underscores a trend now gaining traction in the post-property boom era. Architects who wouldn't even return phone calls during the boom are now hungry for business. Talented designers from South Beach to San Francisco are taking on projects ranging from designing houses from the ground up to small renovations.
Manhattan architect Erik Ajemian, principal at Ajemian Design, says he’s dug into several projects in recent months as other architects have been slow to get work. “I’ve always kept a level head about how much work to take on,” says Ajemian, who has created residential designs for projects in South Hampton. N.Y., and Manhattan. During the real estate boom architects “tended to take on more than they could handle and I think the work suffers when that happens,” he adds.
Design professionals say lower construction costs along with architects newfound availability means consumers are increasingly building the houses they've long wanted but couldn't in boom times.