Between August 29 and September 2, the city of São Paulo will be the scene of São Paulo Design Week, the largest urban design festival in Latin America. The event is in its 7th edition and has more than 300 events spread across 130 different venues to promote design culture and its connections with architecture, art, decoration, urbanism, social inclusion, business and technological innovation.
As an industry populated by creators, the business of design is continually reconsidered and reshaped by processes of reinvention and experimentation. Rarely content with yesterday’s innovations in anything from modeling software to building materials, architects naturally look for strategic ways to gain maximum advantage in both building and business. Taking just such a creative approach to the challenge of improving athletic venues within the stringent time frame of a team’s offseason, the dominant Kansas City-based sports architecture firm Populous recently launched a standalone service that employs the efficiency advantages of a design-build firm to simplify and expand the process of implementing stadium upgrades without any disruption to the fan experience.
There has been a recent trend to monetize design businesses online. Outside the world of architecture, digital marketing is growing exponentially, and every day more and more companies are taking advantage of the benefits that come from curating an online presence.
The traditional architectural business model is largely dominated by the fees associated with design and construction. The actual structure of the billing is perhaps another argument to have all on its own, but relying on this type of income has been (and likely will continue to be) an efficient and successful model for the majority in the design industry. But what if there was another market to leverage to supply your design business with passive, additional income?
There has long been an understandable stigma associated with spec-house plan sets. Most spec plans lack any response to site, personalization, and even quality design. There is a relatively saturated market for these spec-type plan sets, but the untapped potential lies in this model's intersection with architectural practice.
Here are three ways you can begin to reverse the stigma associated with selling plan sets online while providing your design business with an additional revenue stream.
Sketching is the best way to work through design problems. Since no designer is an island, sometimes sketching collaboratively is the best way of working through design problems together. Other times, you sketch a bit, create a proper drawing, and then present to colleagues, clients or stakeholders.
"Whether you're resolving a challenging condition by yourself, or helping a client to visualize, we all sketch it out first," explained Sophie Amini, Creative Director at Pooky. "With Archisketch, more often than not, even I prefer to put aside my paper and pencil and whip off a sketch on my iPad. At Pooky, we work very closely, both with each other and with the manufacturers. We talk through sketches and ideas at length before deciding which samples to get made up. Sketches are translated into technical drawings, from which the manufacturers can work."
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has recently released new data surveying the number of licensed architects in the United States. Conducted annually by NCARB, the 2017 Survey of Architectural Registration Boards provides exclusive insight into data from the architectural licensing boards of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At first glance, the numbers reflect promising growth for the architecture profession. The number of architects licensed in the U.S. rose to 113,554, according to the survey, which is a 3% increase from 2016 and a 10% increase from the numbers reported a decade ago.
Even more impressive, when you compare the increase in registered architects to the U.S. population, the number of architects licensed has risen over 10% since 2008; while the total U.S. population has risen 8%, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That equates to roughly 1 architect for every 2,900 people in the country. To put this into perspective, a medium-sized architecture firm of 50 people would theoretically have the potential to directly impact 145,000 people in the U.S.
Based on these statistics, one might assume that more architects naturally means more architecture, thus more influence from the profession in general. But that might not be the case. Read on for more data from NCARB's report and what it could mean for the profession as a whole.
Architecture's reliance on digital tools is rapidly advancing. Building Information Modeling (BIM) and augmented and virtual reality are quickly becoming the industry standard, along with more and more design businesses putting more effort and money into creating a stronger online presence. Because of this recent shift in focus, many firms have also begun experimenting with digital marketing strategies.
Content creation is at the heart of any successful online business, so what does that look like in the field of architecture? These 4 examples of content could help you begin to monetize your designs and/or practice online. By no means are these 4 examples the only means to grow a design business, but all 4 take advantage of the present trajectory of architectural practice, leveraging the possibilities of an increasingly digital world.
The way we consume long-form content has transformed drastically in recent years. More and more parts of our everyday lives are now transitioning to new digital mediums to save us time.
If you are the type of person who enjoys plugging into a good hard rock or soft jazz playlist while hammering out those 10 sheets of section details, why not simultaneously gain some knowledge about self-motivation or the latest business tactics? These 6 audiobooks could be just what you need to hear to fuel your inner entrepreneur.
There's an old, weary tune that people sing to caution against being an architect: the long years of academic training, the studio work that takes away from sleep, and the small job market in which too many people are vying for the same positions. When you finally get going, the work is trying as well. Many spend months or even years working on the computer and doing models before seeing any of the designs become concrete. If you're talking about the grind, architects know this well enough from their training, and this time of ceaseless endeavor in the workplace only adds to that despair.
Which is why more and more architects are branching out. Better hours, more interesting opportunities, and a chance to do more than just build models. Furthermore, the skills you learn as an architect, such as being sensitive to space, and being able to grasp the cultural and societal demands of a place, can be put to use in rather interesting ways. Here, 3 editors at ArchDaily talk about being an architect, why they stopped designing buildings, and what they do in their work now.
We live in a world that spends more time online than outside. And as architects and designers, we invest in creating a more engaging world by means of enhancing life through our buildings. However, through a perhaps unique form of tunnel vision, we are missing an incredible opportunity to leverage alternative mediums to impact more people through our design businesses.
Here are 5 ways to utilize your creativity to produce unique content that will help enhance your impact on the world of design, and in turn, push you and your design business forward:
When you’re talking about a total of 151 million Americans, it’s tricky to make sweeping but accurate generalizations. And yet, that’s how many Americans fit into just two widely-recognized demographic groups: Baby Boomers, the 75 million people born between 1946 and 1964 and Millennials, the 76 million who came along between 1981 and 1997. Just as we can tell an LP record from an iPod, we’ve likely recognized common differences between Boomers and Millennials: How they typically work, communicate, balance job tasks and personal life, and what they expect for mentoring and promotions.
How can Boomers and Millennials work together without driving each other nuts? We recently turned to two New York architects to discuss their experience, proposed solutions, and general observations. This discussion resonates far beyond the design industry as it is applicable to the workforce of today and has implications for the workplace of tomorrow.
The architecture profession is in a perpetual debate concerning the myriad issues that impact how we practice and how that work can and should impact the world around us. As the chair of the AIA’s Young Architects Forum, I am keenly aware of the problems facing the next generation of practice leaders: inefficient practice models that lead to overworked, underpaid, and highly unsatisfied staff. We hear repeatedly that a seismic shift in the way firms operate is necessary to successfully move the profession forward and retain talent.
In October, the AIA held their first ever Practice Innovation Lab, looking to develop new practice models to raise the value of architects and the services that they provide to their clients with the goal of sparking a new debate that could challenge the status quo in firm management.Ten teams of six were formed with the intent of creating 10 new innovative practice models which would be pitched, “Shark Tank” style, after a daylong hackathon. Attendees then voted on the best practice model for the People’s Choice Award. Among the 10 pitches, there were five major themes to come out of the Practice Innovation Lab, which are discussed in more detail below:
Even with tech like virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, computational design and robotics already reshaping architecture practice, the design community is just scratching the surface of the potential of new technologies. Designers who recognize this and invest in building skills and expertise to maximize the use of these tools in the future will inherently become better architects, and position themselves for entirely new career paths as our profession evolves. It is a uniquely exciting moment for architecture to advance through innovative use of technology. Even just a decade ago, designers with interests in both architecture and technology were essentially required to pursue one or the other. Now, with architecture beginning to harness the power of cutting-edge technologies, these fields are no longer mutually exclusive. Rather than choose a preferred path, today’s architects are encouraged to embrace technology to become sought-out talent.
With much written about how technology is changing the way architects work and the products we can deliver to clients during a project’s lifecycle, there has been less focus on how technology is changing career opportunities in the profession. Architecture companies are now hiring roles that didn’t exist even three years ago. Here’s a look at five emerging career paths design technology will make possible in 2018 and the immediate future.
One of the rising conversations in the architecture world in recent years has been the issue of architects' salaries. But how much are you worth? When is it time to ask for that much-needed raise? Two key elements to successful salary negotiation are timing and asking for the right reasons.
First, what do you deserve? Raises are earned, but there is a certain amount of money you deserve. For US salary data, check the AIA Compensation Report, which is updated annually. If you live internationally, see if you can find a similar resource for your country or city. Unless you are performing below average (coming in late, not being productive, or worse, setting back the office’s productivity), you shouldn’t be making a below-average salary.
Once you have an equitable starting salary, how can you tell if you’ve earned a raise from there? You may have earned a raise if...
This article was originally published by Archpreneur as "Booming Cities: 6 European Startup Hubs for Architects."
Starting a company can be extremely stressful. Fresh graduates, freelancers and directly employed architects looking to create startups face various initial obstacles and need to have a clear view of the operating model for their businesses. They have to choose where to cut costs, which can relate to choice of location, office space and limited living expenses.
Following the guidelines of The Lean Startup method—popularized by author and entrepreneur Eric Ries—can be very beneficial for the early phase of a company’s development. This can mean focusing on budget-friendly setups, and creating businesses on the idea of developing products and productizing design services. Being part of an entrepreneurial community can also influence the way owners grow their businesses, as it provides opportunities to establish valuable contacts and partnerships.
We have compiled a list of 6 startup hubs in Europe, which includes established centers for entrepreneurship as well as cities emerging as exciting new places for experimentation at the intersection of digital technology and architecture.
Ah, clients. Sadly, we can't all be paper architects, dreaming up improbable futures (and even the members of Archigram eventually settled down to found studios that actually build stuff). As a result, we're forced to work with people who often think that just because they're paying for our services, they own us like slaves. They come in many different varieties, from the client that thinks that everything is an emergency to the client that obsesses over the design budget. The following infographic produced by "startup studio and accelerator" Coplex will help you diagnose your own clients—and more importantly, offers some tips on how best to deal with them to make your life easier.
Charles Thornton, one of the world’s preeminent structural engineers, once said that the greatest challenge facing the profession of structural engineering is that “I don’t think we have enough self-esteem and enough confidence in ourselves to believe that what we do is so important... Architects are trained to present, to communicate, to sell, to promote themselves, to promote their industry, and to take credit for what they do.”
As a structural engineer with over a decade of experience, I agree with Mr. Thornton—to an extent.
This article was originally published by Archipreneur as "The 10 Most Important Lessons Learned in 25 Years of Architecture Practice."
The article is an expansion on one part of Archipreneur's interview with Craig Applegath, Founding Principal of DIALOG’s Toronto Studio. The architect spoke from his experience of running a 150-person practice and listed 10 tips for archipreneurs interested in starting their own business. Archipreneur shares that list here.
When I first started my own practice I thought everyone wanted to run their own practice. It turns out not. Most people just want to work in a great practice run by someone else. But for those who are real archipreneurs – and you know who you are – there is nothing so thrilling and fun as starting your own business; and nothing so scary and anxiety producing as starting your own business! They are the flip side of the same coin. But in terms of general advice for people starting their own practice or business here are ten key lessons I have learned over the past twenty-five years of practice:
This article was originally published by Common Edge as "Building Madness: How the Boom and Bust Mentality Distorts Architecture."
Architects are economically bipolar; for us it is either the best or the worst of times. And it’s not just architects. The entire construction industry is tuned to these extremes, but only architects are psychologically validated by booms and crushed by busts. All professions have a larger source of dependency—medicine needs insurance, law needs the justice system—but the construction industry has a starker equation: building requires capital.
Contractors tend to react to market flows in purely transactional ways. Booms mean more work, more workers, more estimates, business expansion. For architects, a boom means life validation. Every architect wants to make a difference, and many want to offer salvation, like the architect Richard Rogers, who once said, “My passion and great enjoyment for architecture, and the reason the older I get the more I enjoy it is because I believe we—architects—can affect the quality of life of the people.” But salvation can only be earned if buildings are created.