Ideas incubator

Here showcases gary chen's ideas, theories & etc on various aspect of architecture practice. Particularly on new business model for consultancy business.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Outdated issues in Architecture Practice

As a matter of fact, the issues discussing here are some outdated issues being debated by RIBA architects neon years ago. The main problem was lacking of a meaning outcome from that dialog and the solutions were never seriously adopted and implemented even amongst the participants.

At that juncture, the RIBA architects were concerned over the outdated business model of an architecture practice which is closely resemblance of Nomadic Lifestyle. Firstly, there is lacking of a continuous influx of workload into an architect firm even the top firms in Britain are hunting from job to job. This phenomena resulted in low utilization of company resources, high turnover of experienced staffs, lacking of capacity to lobby for bigger job at particular timeframe and architect firms size remain small. All these issues constraint architecture practice from adopting high end or latest technology in business management i.e. supply chain concept, Just-in-time & etc and limit architecture practice absorbing business management elites and grow the business exponentially.

Architect firms are never lacked of innovation instead architects tend to waste their innovation and new ideas. Even if requested by a client, an architect would never revisit his old, mature & fully developed ideas for a new project. Indeed, we like to explore new idea for every opportunity we have. As a result, our client could never capitalize on our experience to shorten the product development cycle but to invest and pay for our exploration of new ideas. The more well-known of a practice; the more serious of this problem is affecting their clients.

On the contrary, the design industry as in Automobile and Aviation i.e. Boeing or Airbus have aggressively adopted latest project management techniques via a realistic & comprehensive work-breakdown-structure that used for years. Basing on this working framework, automobile or aircraft designers could tremendously reduce the time spent on new product development. The recycling of existing technology on major components of a new product has also ensured the commercial viability, feasibility and marketability of this new product. Architects may be the only design profession that never bothers to master these new skills over the pass two decades.

Besides this, architecture practices tend to be highly local centric with low surviving rate when exploring oversea market. An architect indeed need to have knowledge about the legal framework of a particular job site and the whole submission process in order to develop a design that is suited to be implemented. Otherwise the clients would suffer and hamper by numerous of obstacles occurred along the line and usually resulting huge financial loses. The architects may like to argue that this characteristic of our business are the root to the primitive business model of architecture practice.

On the contrary, I hold a different perspective. Rules are made to be broken. We are creative in developing our idea than applying our creativity into our life and business. I will diagnose and analyze in detail the adoption of open source concept in architecture practice. You will see how this concept will alter the nature or architecture practice.