Traditionally, the architecture industry has been centered around client-based projects. Architects design buildings and spaces, and their primary revenue stream has often been project-based fees. However, the ever-changing global economy and advancements in technology have begun to push some architects beyond the confines of their profession, prompting them to explore entrepreneurial ventures.
The Conventional Revenue Model
The mainstream revenue model for architects relies heavily on fees acquired from client-based projects. These fees cover everything from consultations and design work to project oversight. While technological advancements have led to more efficient design and communication methods, the basic structure of this revenue model has seen little change over the years.
Case Studies: Architects Branching Out
Eric Reinholdt – 30 x 40 Design Workshop
Eric Reinholdt’s 30 x 40 Design Workshop is an example of an architecture-based channel on YouTube with a considerable following. The channel provides general insights into architectural practices and trends. Reinholdt started his own firm after a salary reduction at his previous workplace. Through his channel and website, he sells drawing templates and floor plans, creating an alternative revenue stream. His book, “Architect + Entrepreneur,” sheds light on starting a design business.
Safia Qureshi – CupClub
Safia Qureshi, trained as an architect, took her design skills to tackle an environmental issue: single-use plastic. CupClub, founded in 2015, provides a service where reusable cups for hot and cold beverages can be returned at designated drop-off points. The cups are then cleaned and redistributed to coffee shops, reducing the use of single-use plastics in the process.
TestFit – Clifton Harness and
Clifton Harness, an architect, and Ryan Griege, a software developer, co-founded TestFit, a tool aimed at simplifying architectural design projects. The software provides real-world variables and helps architects design within the constraints of building codes. TestFit is an example of how technology can serve as a bridge between architecture and other fields.
Implications for Architectural Education
These examples pose a question: Should architectural education include entrepreneurial skills training? As the world changes and industries become increasingly interconnected, there is an argument to be made for a curriculum that prepares students for more diverse career opportunities.
Architects in Entrepreneurial Ventures
While the majority of architects continue to operate within the conventional parameters of the profession, there are those who are stepping beyond these boundaries to explore alternative revenue streams and business models. These ventures not only diversify the role of the architect but also raise questions about how future architects should be educated. As the world evolves, so too may the role of the architect, expanding beyond design to include entrepreneurial initiatives.