The business of architecture is not as straightforward as it seems. Like any other profession, there are a lot of hurdles to get over before you can truly call yourself a seasoned professional. Of course, graduating and getting your license is already a feat in itself, but you need to plan out the next ten years of your career if you want to survive in this competitive industry.
The fun part is planning out your future. The hard part is actually committing to it. Lots of social and financial hardships
to overcome, and you are not the only one looking to succeed.
1. Know the risks and workarounds of starting your own firm
You can either work your way up to the top or start an entire business independently. While the latter may seem more tempting, it is far better for a fresh graduate to learn the ins and outs of an architecture firm before starting one. You may have the required skills for the job, but as a firm owner, you need to take into consideration certain troublesome factors. This includes dealing with problematic clients, financial stress, or any unforeseen legal repercussions from vaguely written contracts.
The business world can bring a person to their knees. They often come back stronger than ever after years of sacrifice.
For instance, you will need substantial financial backing to launch a firm. The source can come from investors or borrowed cash, but be wary of its advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, it is better to fund the firm yourself. The cheapest option would be to rent out an office or even work from home, and then improve your reputation from there. However, note that it will take a long time, perhaps years before you can even start seeing a return on your venture.
2. Look out for risks and legal liabilities
Even renowned architects have gotten into legal battles in spite of their reputation in the architectural industry.
A contract, if written properly, can protect both the client and the architect from legal dilemmas. These are the top four legal liabilities you need to be wary of:
Leasing (if renting)
Beware of ominous contracts. Faustian deals are a dime-a-dozen in the business world.
You can check with a lawyer, a legal representative, or an architectural board on how to deal with the legalities of contract work.
3. Get a mentor or a partner
Do not confuse a mentor with a friend that answers your queries with what they know. If you are getting a mentor or a partner, it is best to clarify if that person will be with you every step of the way. That means taking the time to train you, giving you well-thought advice, and being there to assist you if things go wrong.
Get a business partner. Maybe later, they’ll become a life partner…
Two heads are definitely better than one. If you can’t get a veteran in the industry, it’s better to have a partner with varying skills that you can both learn from and look out for.
4. Look for inspiration, or let it find you instead
Visual references are a necessity for creatives like architects. While the internet has made it easy for one to search for particular designs, one should never forget that the best inspiration comes when they least expect it. Go outside, walk around the streets, or even take a trip out of town.
Movies have been providing people with limitless inspiration for countless years. If you want something fresh and dreary all at once, go for science fiction. Photo source unknown, likely from Blade Runner 2047.
Heck, even a movie binge might get those gears grinding if you go for science fiction entertainment. Titles like Star Wars, Blade Runner, Inception, and Control might give you something to work on. Exploring everything around you can help freshen your perspective and provide a new angle for you to experiment with during the drafting process.
(Of course, world exploration should only be done after the pandemic dissipates.)
5. Opt for sustainable designs
The art of sustainable architecture requires the use of renewable construction materials, energy-efficient methods, and thoughtful designs. The effects of using green building techniques are subtle. Property owners often realize this after managing to save on their monthly bills because of eco-friendly building layouts and green technologies. There are hardly any disadvantages to utilizing sustainable construction, so feel free to use it in both advertising and your practice.
Never underestimate the power of sunlight.
6. Understand the World of Construction
The work of architects differs greatly from that of its engineering brethren. However, it is advantageous for both sides to understand how their world works. This includes becoming aware of trending events that can overtly affect their sectors. The responsibilities of architects and engineers frequently overlap. This makes learning each other’s roles vital when it comes to creating complex structures.
Understand the industry. You may be an architect, but it’s still nice to know how the construction world goes outside of your commission.
All professions are a learning process, even for those who have been in the business for half a decade. Times change. A few experiences you’ve had difficulty dealing with in the past may be easier now due to technology or new-age policies. After all, success does not come in a single montage. It’s better to be prepared to face the hardships when the time comes.