Value as an Architect
Value is an interesting word because it has so many meanings. Value can mean cheaper or at a lesser price. Value can mean that you're getting a really good deal for the price that you are paying. Value can mean that what you provide has good worth to an end consumer whether they are buying a new software system, a new app for their iPhone, or architectural services for a new facility. Value is different based upon what you are providing and how your value is perceived.
As architects, we should be thinking of ourselves as providers of great value because we create places for people, and for the most part the places we create will out live our lifespan. So why should we not consider ourselves as professionals with great value? After all, think about a school, a hospital, a destination center or even a grocery store or restaurant. How many people are affected by the places we create?
So many people see and experience the things we draw every day, and while we see this as normal because it's what we do, we also need to step back and reflect on what we do for people and what we contribute to our environments. In the past, architects were held in high regard as specialized professionals with creative skills and ingenuity. Today we sometimes struggle to be seen as someone with any value, sometimes it seems that we are only involved because of the necessity to obtain a permit for construction.
The struggle comes from what owners and developers perceive our worth or cost to be relative to what we are providing them. The necessity comes from the simple need of having a licensed professional take responsibility for what it is that's being created. But in either case, and in any project, we as architects have value that we can contribute.
As the economy still continues to be difficult on our industry, that sense of value gets challenged even more, and in these times we as architects should be speaking the same language and hold to our sense of value because of what we provide and how we contribute to our society and our built environment. We do have value that can be added at any level and this is something that we should be proud of, because without great designers and specialized people that can create on paper what people construct out in the field, what we would have? Certainly not any of the great structures that have been built over time all over the world.
The sense of value is important to all of us and it's something that we need to express in all aspects of our business. Value added, value in the services provided, and long term value to the client is what we should be speaking as professional architects.
by John Eymann
John is a principal and offers over three decades of architectural experience at M+A. When he's not hard at work in the office, there's a good chance you can find John doing anything outdoors.