Just add water: architecture startups!

Being an Architect, but in a different setting
December 4, 2013, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Startup

It’s funny but the last three conversations, I’ve had with friends have been about being an architect, just not in an architectural office.  All of them were well into their architectural career (with over 20 years of experience each) but currently working on their own for clients as not the Architect of Record but were advising Owners.  Some were working for large corporations (like JP Morgan bank) and others were working for wealthy clients for both personal private projects (residences) and any other projects (private office) they are involved in.  Their work ranged from the nitty gritty of construction administration to actually shortlisting other architects to bid on the design work.  Being an Owner’s rep has a lot of great pros and cons–


  • Limited liability — the thing that makes most architects wince when starting out on their own
  • Potentially be involved in wider range of projects
  • Potentially higher budget (How many other people are able to fund a separate consultant?)
  • Potentially, financial stability with a longer term contract (instead of having to hustle for several smaller projects)
  • Independence: still being able to run your own gig without having to show up to someone else’s office


  • Potential ending up being at your boss’ beck-and-call 24/7
  • marginalized: might become a niche position and/or niche market

As freelancers/start-ups, it’s interesting to consider the options that are out there. Figuring out how utilize the skillsets we have and how to market them in a way that makes sense to the career we want or currently are leaning towards.


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