I was told by another architect recently that my approach to business was “not like his at all.” I will be the first to admit that his basis for measuring business success is certainly in line with the traditional basis. The goal of making as much money as you possibly can make, beating your competition, and getting the highest profile projects is certainly one very easy measure of success. My problem with this attitude is that it leads to what I consider an empty fulfillment of what is possible in an architectural career. I want more out of my career than just buildings, I want to build community.
Of course, I do want to make money designing architectural solutions, at least enough to live comfortably at the level my family and I are used to living. I just believe that I have an ethical obligation to do more. In my opinion, an architect has the best tool available at their disposal to create positive outcomes for their community – DESIGN. Sometimes this comes in the form of a paying client that allows you to design solutions for their buildings and homes. Done right, this will add to the energy-efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and healthy built environments for our community. However, architects should also give their time to worthy organizations that help build positive outcomes in the community. After all architects are trained problem solvers that are able to take complex issues and create solutions.
So while I may not approach business success in the traditional sense, I hope you will agree that I am working hard to build success in and for our community.