A reader recently shared with me an interesting article from Crain’s New York (2013) profiling three “architects as developers.” The three firms are DDG Partners (which I’ve mentioned before here on ATC), FLAnk, and Alloy.
I’ve written a lot about these emerging business models and I continue to think that we’re going to see more of them in the coming years. As evidence for that claim, I thought it was really interesting to read in the article that Vishaan Chakrabarti – who is director of the real estate program at Columbia University – made specific mention that there’s growing interest among his students to wear multiple hats. In other words, they don’t want to be just an architect or just a developer. They want do it all.
In a lot of cases, these firms are made up of partners who have those diverse skill sets. There’s only so much that one person can do. But that doesn’t negate the fact that vertically integrated companies are being formed that handle everything from design and construction to property management and development.
And if an increasing number of students today are interested and thinking about those models, then I think it’s a pretty safe bet that many of them will get out into the workforce and eventually create those companies in the future.
Ultimately, I think that’s a great thing for cities. Developers tend to have a bad reputation for thinking only about money. But when you bring design and other disciplines in-house, you create tensions in the process. And tension can be a great thing for innovation and creativity.
Image: 385 West 12th by Flank