This is a good read in the NYTimes about forward design in architecture, who is paying for it and some of the freedoms involved.
Architects Find Their Dream Client, in China
It was an unusual commission, unlike anything that Stuart Silk, a Seattle architect, had been offered in his quarter-century of practice: design three high-end custom homes for clients he would never meet. Although there were some specifications for functions and dimensions — total square feet, for example, and the number of bedrooms and baths — there wasn’t a clue as to style or a construction budget.
“A lot of emotions went through my head,” Mr. Silk says. “Disbelief was one of them. Then the anxiety that comes along with the responsibility to do something without direction. But ultimately it was very freeing and intellectually exciting.”
The commission came from Shanghai, where a Chinese developer was beginning work on a community of villas bearing stratospheric prices — 50 million to 100 million renminbi, or $7.5 million to $15 million.