The design of success

  • August 16, 2017

Egypt, France, India and the United States of America would not have been the same, (at least aesthetically), without the Great Pyramids, the Eiffel tower, the Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty respectively. These architectural geniuses are almost synonymous with the names of the country in which they are located. They are a lot more than what meets the eye, as there are rich historical anecdotes behind the construction of each one of these structures.

Interestingly, had the Statue of Liberty not been a gift from the people of France to the United States, the latter would have had to shell out about $10 million for the construction of the iconic beauty during the 19th century. And if an architecture firm in the US would have built the structure in the contemporary times, the total cost would have been more than $2,000,000, according to a report. Similarly, the Great Pyramids of Giza would have cost more than $800 million, had they been built in the present times.

Architecture as a business idea is a less-travelled territory. Today, with limited space and burgeoning population, there is a need for meaningful, functional and space-saving designs. Hence, an architecture firm that sketches its structures with innovation can build a million-dollar business enterprise with the right planning and of course, implementation.

Be a Master Builder

Architects are master builders. Though Imhotep, who designed the Pyramid of Djoser (the Step Pyramid) at Saqqara in Egypt during 2630-2611 BC, is regarded as the first-ever architect in recorded history, it was only during the 19th century that architecture began to be practised as a full-time profession. While American architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, is believed to be the first to have an established architectural office, it was America’s McKim, Mead and White whose name is registered as the most prominent architecture firm in recent history.

How to start an architecture firm?

Architecture is not just about brick and mortar. It is a conglomeration of science and innovation, art and aesthetics, technology and humanity. With increasing population, the demand is set to grow, making the prospect of an architecture firm, very lucrative for an entrepreneur. outline the services offered: If building the world is your dream, and you wish to begin an architecture firm, then the first step towards fulfilling that dream is identifying the types of services that you want to offer. They include interior design, expansion and commercial building design, sustainable and green building design, measurement survey and drawings, project management, urban design and master planning.

Network: The second step is networking. In this age, you have to be visible in order to be relevant. To make sure that your work gets enough exposure, you must participate in national and/ or international design competitions, attend design conclaves and other such networking events, where you can get enriched by the discussions and the stories of other nascent as well as established architecture-entrepreneurs. Having a prominent presence in the virtual world is tantamount to having a name in the real world. Since social media is the abode of almost every individual these days, the chances of fetching potential clients multiplies exponentially if you have a website for the firm with samples of the work. Invest in formal as well as informal networking strategies, for major corporates riding on big money or private clients who can bring small-scale residential projects respectively.

Registration: The most integral part of the relay event is getting your firm registered – either as a sole proprietorship firm or a partnership firm as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). In case of a sole proprietor, a single promoter is responsible for the entire operations. In case of a partnership or an LLP, all the partners must be registered with the concerned Government’s authority.

Is your firm in the top 100?

An architecture firm employs licensed architects for planning, designing and building the structures and / or provides other architectural services. Among the 100 largest architecture firms in the world, Gensler, AECOM, Perkins+Will, Jacobs and CallisonRTKL, all based in America, are ranked among the top five in the list, according to their total yearly revenue. While Perkins+Will and AECOM earned about $484.24 million and $7627.86 million respectively, Gensler recorded about $1181 million revenue in the year 2015-16. How have these firms managed to build their success stories, even in the face of recession and economic instability? According to co-Chief Executive Officer of Gensler, Andy Cohen, there are three factors responsible for standing tall as a skyscraper, amidst the clouds of economic uncertainty – ‘perceived market opportunity, strength of client relationship and depth of passion and expertise.’ “Since we are so focussed on our client-relationships, we have a very good understanding of how their industries are changing. This helps us to identify new market opportunities,” says Cohen.

Unplanned disasters

Africa is undergoing a metamorphosis, gradually transforming from a land of unending suffering to a place of unending opportunities. With falling poverty, an improving political scenario and a surge in young population, the continent has seen a rise in investments and infrastructure. However, if the towns and cities are not well-planned, the opportunity to build a better and beautiful Africa can turn into an urban dysfunctional disaster. Take for instance, Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, which has also been declared as one of the worst cities to live in the world, thanks to its drab infrastructure. However, lavish and ultramodern infrastructure, too, does not account for good architecture; the most suited example of this case being Dubai. The largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, with the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), did not make room for shared public spaces. The skyscrapers and residential estates lack a sense of togetherness, making the city look like a disarticulated nightmare. Hence, there is a need of architects, who can create designs that solve local problems and infuse functionality and aesthetic pleasure, all at once. For high-end luxury residences must go hand-in-hand with dignified civic constructions for a sustainable, liveable city.

Beginning with an empty space

It is human nature to constantly want something better than what he already has. If one was asked this question that if given a chance, would you want to change something about the place you have, the answer would be in the affirmative. Nobody wants to reside in a torn town. A good place to start would be an empty space in Africa.

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