Architect practice and community

As I continue on my journey to build a practice and move out on my own I have been looking around and thinking about what I want the future of my practice to look like. Do I want a big office with lots of interns and architects working under me or do I want a small modest office with one or two trusted partners working with me to produce quality work? Or even still does my practice more reflect a partnership with other architects that I can collaborate with on multiple project types that may or may not be in my wheelhouse but that I can lend and draw support from? In short is a big office better or worse than a community of professionals working together for the greater good of the community and city at large?

For ten years I have worked under some of the best and brightest and most talented architects in Jacksonville, Florida and Little Rock, Arkansas. I’ve watched and I’ve learned and I’ve asked questions. I haven’t wasted my time nor have I wasted the expertise and wealth of knowledge that has surrounded me for a decade. And what I see is a profession in desperate need of an overhaul. Not just a “repositioning” but a fundamental change to thinking about professional practice in architecture. The “good ole days” are gone. I don’t believe we will see a return of a time like the early 2000s where money flowed out of banks like milk and honey and everyone got fat and happy with too much work and firms grew to sizes in the hundreds of employees. There has been a shift in my generation. We have seen what huge overhead costs and fat office spaces can do to the profession. Hell, most of us have worked in those offices and seen them crumble.

I don’t want that. I don’t want to build a practice that can’t take on small projects because they aren’t profitable enough. I don’t want to build a practice that can’t adapt to an ever changing economic and social climate. I don’t want to be the only guy steering the ship either.

So what’s the answer? What does an architectural practice in the 21st century look like? Small. Agile. Collaborative. Focused on the clients. Focused on building communities.

r | one studio architecture will be a firm dedicated to reaching out to other architects, not in competition, but in collaboration to build a community of architects of like mind that can come together on specific projects to offer a broader and more experienced team of professionals to better serve our clients across markets and regions to provide superior service and design to shape the future of our cities.

And in this I’m looking for architects interested and of like mind to start building those partnerships. Not just in Arkansas but all over the United States. Contact me and let’s see how we can work to build a better world.

13 thoughts on “Architect practice and community

    • Ha! Yes sir. That’s one challenge I need to start tackling is the software nightmare. IFC has come a long way but we’ve still got a was to go.
      We need to get a skype conference with you, me and Neal to start talking!

      • If we stay in VW, we have it made. If this community expands, then we need to bow to the mighty Revit or learn the IFC language like we used to use .DWG.

        Another model (which is what I need more of) is to let others do all of the drawings. I don’t mean that to be demeaning, but others enjoy modeling in BIM better than we/I used to “draw” in CAD. It’s a bit different mentality since the operator must know more and be more involved in the making of the building.

        What do you think? Yes, we should talk…after July 16th.

      • IFC is the way to go. The programs talk to each other it’s just a matter of sharing the right information the right way. It’s come a very long way in the last two years. With juggernauts like revit, vectorworks and archicad all vying for presence in the market there has to be collaboration between.
        A struggle I have also is letting go control of the model. But that’s more my personality than anything and I need to work I that. 🙂
        Be ready I’ll be calling you July 17th at 8am. 😉

      • thanks…i think
        i would actually like to find architects who are interested in making the model, the drawings, perhaps more than the administrative parts or even the design parts.
        i’d be ok with making just red lines or comments most of the time.

      • That’s my problem. I love doing the details and making the model work. Hard for me to let go of the fun stuff. 🙂 getting better though. I have two interns at my disposal on two projects right now. I’m getting ok with letting go of the grunt work. 😛

  1. Great post! I think this is exactly where the future of architecture is going. My company, Kaaterskill Associates, is a small firm. We offer engineering, land surveying and architectural services because over the last 14 years in business we have discovered it is so helpful to have multiple disciplines under one roof to collaborate with but we are small enough that each department can also take on individual projects. We also have professionals in our area we call on when their expertise can better serve a client and ask them to join the team. We work with construction companies, realtors, a crew that specializes in lifting houses for historical architectural projects, a landscape architect and many more. We are located in the Hudson Valley just above NYC. If you are ever out this way we would love to partner with you.

    • Steve, I’m adding you to the list! It is a short list, but a distinguished one….or infamous….notorious….whatever. We’re awesome.
      I look forward to connecting soon!

  2. Pingback: the only guarantee in life | r | one studio architecture

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