The Potential of Architects in Entrepreneurship

In today’s globalised, ever-evolving world, the architectural field continues to re-invent itself. Innovation has seen the emergence of new building technologies and new methods of communicating with clients, however, in some ways, a large majority of the architecture industry is still outdated – architects relying on client fees received from projects to run their architecture firms. Perhaps as a consequence of the emergence of start-ups in the technology sector, and the increased competitiveness of the global economy, architects have more recently chosen not to confine themselves to within the world of architecture and use their unique skill-sets and abilities in entrepreneurial ways.

The following are examples of people who have trained and worked in architecture, yet have also forayed into entrepreneurship.  

Eric Reinholdt - 30 x 40 Design Workshop

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Eric Reinholdt's 30 x 40 Design Studio . Image © Trent Bell

One of the most well-known architecture YouTube channels, Eric Reinholdt’s 30 x 40 Design Workshop channel has grown to have over 800,000 subscribers. Founding his own practice after being forced to take a pay cut at his old firm, Reinholdt uses his YouTube channel to provide a general insight into the architectural world. As a sole business owner, Reinholdt is also able to experiment with alternative modes of practice – such as selling floor plans by the bundle or selling AUTOCAD and SketchUp drawing templates on his website. His book, Architect + Entrepreneur, provides an insight into starting a design business, backed by his personal experiences on his entrepreneurial journey.

Safia Qureshi - CupClub

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Courtesy of CupClub

Safia Qureshi, an award-winning architect, designer, and environmentalist, founded CupClub in 2015. A returnable packaging service designed to hold both hot and cold drinks, CupClub is a tailored, end-to-end service that helps to reduce single-use plastic packaging. With 16 billion single-use coffee cups being discarded daily, CupClub offers a circular economy alternative, with each of CupClub’s cups being able to be used 132 times before it is recycled by being left at allocated drop-off points. CupClub then collects these used cups, cleans them using industrial dishwashers, and redistributes them to coffee shops. Safia Qureshi’s training and line of thinking as an architect undoubtedly proved a catalyst to the creation of this business – venturing outside the world of architecture to create a product that the everyday person would use.

TestFit – Clifton Harness and Ryan Griege

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Courtesy of TestFit

Founded by architect Clifton Harness and Software Developer Ryan Griege, TestFit is a software tool that streamlines the design process of projects. The software is capable of providing site and urban configurations based on real-world variables, solving geometry based on constraints such as building codes. competing variables and constraints such as building codes. The hegemony of specific architectural software in architectural practice remains an ever-increasing discussion point, and the emergence of tools like TestFit is a challenge to that hegemony, displaying the potential of a wider collaboration between software and architecture.

There is a wider debate to be had, on whether architecture schools, for example, can provide better entrepreneurial education as students head out to the professional world. An underlying fact which remains, however, is the value of cross-disciplinary collaborations in architecture. The individuals and their entrepreneurial journeys outlined above highlight the distinctive expertise architects can bring when venturing into entrepreneurship.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 09, 2021.

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Collective Design. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.

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Cite: Matthew Maganga. "The Potential of Architects in Entrepreneurship" 13 Aug 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

Image Edited by Matthew Maganga - Eric Reinholdt's 30 x 40 Design Studio . Image © Trent Bell


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