Architect and Developer
Report #04

Architect and Developer:
A Case Study Handbook to Getting Started

What is the Value of Design?

Today, a majority of architects work solely on the design end of the development process. It follows that the cost of architectural services in a project’s total value amounts to a very small percentage –often even less than 10%– which positions architects near the bottom of the financial structure in the AEC industry.

As an architect, you are compensated for design and planning services, but it’s often the client who controls the process and determines the design brief.

In your professional life, have you experienced one of the following scenarios?

  • Your client completely changed your original design brief during the project.
  • Your final building is the result of many compromises and the original design intent wasn’t delivered.
  • For any number of reasons, you did not earn as much as you deserve for your work on the project.

If you answered ‘Yes’, be sure to read on.

There is another way…

Architect and Developer: Build it Yourself

What if you were able to design and build your own ideas as an architect without seeking constant compromises with the client? As an “Architect and Developer” you could take over the role of the client, contractor and property manager of your projects, and reap the benefits from each of these functions.

Architects are usually in a role that implies great responsibility but disproportionally low compensation. When one considers the grievance of not having full control of a project, the value of transforming a design office into a design + development office becomes clear.

With the “Architect and Developer” model you are in complete control to design and develop your own projects. As an added bonus, being your own boss will give you greater financial satisfaction. It sounds like a great way of doing architecture – but we should also be aware of the risks it entails.

Acting as the developer also means taking on board all the risks that can arise from a project. As an “Architect and Developer” you should have a certain degree of knowledge in real estate development in order to understand the whole scope of a project – from specific market knowledge to finding and acquiring land, and how to get project funding.

But how should one start?

Learn from Those Who Have Done It Before

Successfully completing a new project typically involves facing a lot of unknowns, especially in architecture and real estate development where projects are very capital intensive. In our report we have compiled a case study series of “Architect and Developer” practitioners who all developed their own projects.

These architects all share one common trait which differentiates them from traditional developers: they all used their architectural skillset, meaning their deep understanding of cities, space, light and texture to develop beautiful, well-planned and creative buildings which add imaginative, innovative and creative value to the urban environment.

By eliminating the clients and contractors from the design and building process, these architects became the owners and directors of their projects. And, by learning and applying the skillset and tools of developers, they took initiative and created their projects exactly how they want them.

In our report you can read 10 interviews of practicing Architect and Developers who share their stories and how they got started with the first projects. Learn from their first-hand experiences and be inspired to start with your own project.

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Report Topics

Architect as DeveloperEntrepreneurshipReal Estate Development

Featured Architect and Developer Case Studies

Learn from these practicing “Architect and Developer” and how their started to get their first projects of the ground.

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Architect and Developer
Architect and Developer

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  • DIGITAL REPORT (PDF) – Instant download of the digital only report as a pdf file.
  • BUSINESS INSIGHTS – and learnings from “Architect and Developer” practitioners.
  • CASE STUDIES – 10 In-depth interview case studies from around the globe.
  • [BONUS] – Bonus content on architecture & development.
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