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9 Entreprenurial Architects Who Developed Innovative Products and Services

Architects love innovation; they are usually on the lookout for the latest innovation in materials and products which they can incorporate into their inevitably innovative designs. And yet, there's one place where they rarely innovate: their own business. This article, originally posted on Archipreneur as "Branching Out: 9 Architects Who Created Innovative Products," explores the world of architects who are innovating in other ways.

For decades the architectural business model has remained unchanged. While other industries have taken cues from the increasingly popular start-up mentality seen in the technology sector, architects have stuck to the outmoded practice of trading time for dollars. In a competitive global economy, this model is highly susceptible to changes in the real estate market and has limited opportunities for growth. These realities have propelled some architecture graduates to consider alternative career paths in which their unique skillset offers them a competitive advantage.

In contrast to the current business model of most architecture firms, we’ve gathered nine examples of architects who have created innovative products and services. These endeavors offer numerous advantages when it comes to growing a business because unlike the consulting model, product creation is highly scalable and has the potential to provide a continuous passive income stream.

AIA Names 10 Most Impressive Houses of 2015

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) have announced the recipients of the 2015 Housing Awards. Currently in its 15th year, the awards are designed to “recognize the best in US housing design” and “promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource.” This year, the jury awarded ten designs in three categories. See them all, after the break. 

Marlboro Music: Five Cottages / HGA Architects and Engineers Broadway Affordable Housing / Kevin Daly Architects 160 Massachusetts Avenue Tower / William Rawn Associates. Image © Bruce T. Martin Photography Bayview Hill Gardens / David Baker Architects. Image © Matt Edge

Video: The Northparker / Jonathan Segal

"The beauty of [architecture] is the payoff. That building has created a better place for people to live and a better lifestyle for people." A mixed use building that brings together craft beer, street tacos and modern housing, California developer Jonathan Segal's "The Northparker" has helped transform the once blighted area Northpark into one of San Diego's most up-and-coming neighborhoods. Breadtruck Films shares just how a single building created community and changed a city in the video above. 

Video: the charmer / Jonathan Segal

Breadtruck Films shared with us their seven minute documentary on architect Jonathan Segal‘s ‘the charmer’. The project consists of a 19 unit residential complex in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood and recently won a 2012 project of the year award. By building on the tradition of the California courtyard apartments, he shows how architecture can create community and add a little charm to the neighborhood. The outdoor spaces at complex carry just as much importance with Segal as the buildings themselves. He believes that beauty and livability are crucial, and often overlooked, components of environmental design.

Jonathon Segal Documentary / Breadtruck Films

This past week, we’ve featured several of Jeffrey Durkin’s videos, such as Lindsay Brown’s ideas for the SD Waterfront and Miki Iwasaki’s philosophy on furniture design, architecture and society.  This video highlights Jonathan Segal, a San Diego developer and architect, who focuses on urban projects such as high-density residence, mixed use, and live/work units.

More about the video after the break.