Why The Field Of Architecture Needs A New Business Model

Architecture is a challenging field of work. Over the years, it has moved in leaps and bounds and has become a central part of many industries. Despite its success, one question remains: why has the business model of the profession failed to keep up with its growth?

The current business model of architecture is based on volume. Big architectural firms make their money by cranking out plans for buildings, remodels and restorations. There is no guarantee of quality and the client is often left dissatisfied. This leads to an increase in errors and mistakes, reducing the efficiency and effectiveness of a project, and ultimately leading to unsatisfied clients and lost profits.

As the field of architecture grows more complex and specialized, the current business model of pursuing volume has become increasingly maladaptive. The same model cannot be used to tackle today’s complex design challenges. In order to survive and prosper, architecture firms need to shift their focus away from volume and towards quality.

This means focusing on creating unique and innovative designs that fulfill the needs of the client. Architects need to focus their energy on understanding the client’s needs and creating designs that meet these needs as accurately and efficiently as possible. This shift in focus also requires an increased emphasis on research and development. Many firms are now investing in new technologies to develop better designs faster and more efficiently.

A new business model for architecture should also be more transparent. Architecture firms should be more open and honest about their fees and the services they offer. Clients should be able to gain a better understanding of the process and their expected outcome without needing to go back and forth with expensive consults. Transparency will help to build trust with clients and ensure that they have a better understanding of what they can expect throughout the project.

Finally, a new business model should also consider the impact of architecture on the environment. Sustainable practices need to be encouraged, as well as a focus on reducing waste and utilizing recycled materials wherever possible. By considering the wider implications of their work, architecture firms can both reduce their own operating costs and create a more sustainable future for the profession.

Social Impact

The new business model should also take into account the social and economic impact of architecture. Architects should strive to attend to the needs of the community and develop designs that improve the quality of life. Architectural projects should be built with the intent of improving the lives of the community and being a positive force for change. Architects should also consider the economic impact of their designs and how this can benefit not only the community, but also the economy.

Architecture can also be used to address social issues in an innovative way. For example, by designing buildings that are accessible and welcoming to the disabled and the elderly, architects can help to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment. Similarly, designing buildings that are environmentally friendly can help to reduce harmful emissions and preserve the planet’s resources. Architects should be aware of the impact they can have on the environment and consider this when making decisions.

Architects should also strive to collaborate with local businesses and craftspeople. By working together, architects can create innovative and high quality designs that benefit the entire community. By working alongside local businesses, architects can also help to create a thriving local economy.

Client Relations

The new business model of architecture should also focus on creating better client relations. Architects should strive to become more approachable and friendly towards clients. Realizing that clients are the lifeblood of the business is key to being successful. Architects should make an effort to communicate regularly with clients, explain their decisions and provide them with creative solutions to any problems or issues they are facing.

By establishing a good relationship with clients, architecture firms can build trust and loyalty. Clients that understand the process and their expected outcome are more likely to be satisfied with the final product and come back for more work down the line. This helps to create a stable client base that allows the firm to survive and thrive.

Developing a good relationship with clients also involves understanding their needs and requirements and tailoring the project to meet these needs. Architects should focus on creating designs that are tailored to the client’s preferences and needs, rather than just churning out generic designs. This will help to create a unique and innovative design that is tailored specifically to the client’s requirements and one which they will be happy with.

Economic Implications

Finally, the new business model should also take into account the economic implications of architecture. As the field of architecture grows and develops, so too does the economic impact it has on communities and the wider economy. By creating designs that are efficient, durable and cost-effective, architecture firms can contribute to a growing and vibrant economy.

Architecture firms should also strive to become more competitive and cost-effective. This involves leveraging innovation, technology and expertise to create efficient and effective designs that meet the needs of the clients while keeping the costs low. By investing in new technologies and techniques, architecture firms can reduce their own operating costs while still delivering high quality services.

By considering the economic implications of their work, architects can both reduce their own costs and contribute to the economic prosperity of their communities. This helps to create a sustainable future for the profession, as well as providing a better future for the businesses and communities that rely on their services.

Marketing Strategies

The new business model of architecture should also take into account the need for effective marketing strategies. Architects need to consider how they can market and promote their services to potential clients in an effective manner.

Social media has become an invaluable tool for marketing and promoting the services of an architecture firm, as well as the projects they have designed. By establishing an online presence and creating engaging content, architects can reach potential clients more easily and effectively. Additionally, by engaging with their audience, architects can create a community of passionate fans and clients who are more likely to be happy with their services.

Architects should also look to partner with other businesses, such as developers and contractors. By forming partnerships and alliances, architects can leverage the marketing and promotional efforts of these other businesses and expand their reach to new clients. This can be a cost effective way of marketing the services of an architecture firm.

Finally, architects should also focus on creating an engaging and compelling portfolio to showcase the projects they have designed. This portfolio should be visually appealing and showcase the best work of the firm. By showcasing their work in this manner, architects can engage with potential clients and make a much more compelling argument as to why they should choose their services.

Incentive Structures

The new business model of architecture should also consider incentive structures that reward creativity and innovation. Architects should focus on creating designs that are interesting and unique, rather than just producing generic designs. By giving architects more freedom and flexibility to experiment and create innovative designs, they are more likely to produce interesting results. This can lead to increased satisfaction among clients and, in turn, lead to more work and greater profits.

Incentives can also be used to reward architects for their hard work and dedication. By recognizing the accomplishments of architects, firms can both reward outstanding performance and inspire greater creativity and innovation. This can help to create a more engaged and passionate workforce, one that is dedicated to creating the most innovative designs and solutions possible.

Incentives can also be used to reward collaboration and partnership between architects and other professionals. By rewarding architects for working together and collaborating, firms can create a more effective and efficient team of professionals who are working towards a common goal. This can help to create a collaborative and supportive environment that leads to better results.


Overall, the current business model of architecture is no longer suitable for the ever-changing needs of the profession. In order to survive and prosper in today’s market, architecture firms need to look towards creating a new business model that focuses on quality rather than quantity. This new model should focus on transparency, sustainability, client relations, economic implications and effective marketing strategies. Additionally, incentives should be used to reward creativity and collaboration among professionals. By embracing and implementing these changes, architecture firms can ensure their future success and prosperity.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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