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Office Organization

Firm Identity and Experties

Clients in all markets seek value from their
architects. A firm's distinctive expertise should
match what its ideal clients value most.
Large or small, experts build value.
In what field will a firm build its expertise?
How will the firm lead its market?
A commitment to a clear, well-crafted identity, a
consciously conceived business design, and a
profit model that works can rivet your attention
on making the firm the best it can be.
Possible Business Models to Choose From
Styles of expertise adapted to six archetypes for
the design professions:
Project-type specialists
Full-service client partners
Community contributors
Project management experts
Cost and quality leaders
Generate original ideas and new technologies.
In architecture, they are the high-profile design
firms with original styles or philosophies.
In engineering, they're the Ph.D.-owned firms
with a strong commitment to research and
This type of firm often receives research grants
or endowments, and its staff members love to
experiment as well as to teach and publish.
Sainsbury Centre
Its revolutionary
design features an
modular structure
that is cleverly
designed to allow
for subsequent
Norman Foster in 1970 gained recognition as a
key architect in the high-tech movement.
Project-Type Specialists
Dedicated to specific type of project or service
within a broader market.
They watch the experiments of the innovators
and adapt them to create state-of-the-art work.
They frequently team with a network of other
firms to provide full services for a given project
and are often national or international in scope
Innovator and Project-type experts invest less
effort in cultivating traditional, long-term client
Full-Service Client Partners
This firm lead in one or a few major markets,
such as health care, higher education, the food
and beverage industry, or airports.
Client partners are strong advocates for their
clients and their clients' industries- creating a
base of personal frienship.
Client partner characteristically incorporate
former client-side staff members into the firm.
Recruiting such seasoned veterans represents
a real commitment to the market of choice on
the part of the architecture firm.
Community Contributors
Aim for leadership role in their geographic area
set deep roots in community(social &
They seek premier local projects including
public buildings, police and fire stations,
recreattion centers, schools, shelters, public
works, and other municipal facilities.
For projects requiring significant technical
knowledge, they team with a network of project-
type specialist around the country.
Project Management Experts
Focus on outstanding project management,
bringing their skills to bear on large, complex
projects, including the best design-build jobs.
Emphasis is on speed and coordination
Many of these firms are know for their excellent
internal management systems and construction
management expertise.
Cost and Quality Leaders
These firms have a real cost advantage,
focusing on prototypes, site adaptations, and
multisite project rollouts for retail stores, health
maintenance organizations, branch banks,
service stations, and large government office
Office Location

One of the first questions that arises in starting any
type of business
In this chapter we will consider the major reasons
involved but since in every case, and every location
has advantages or disadvantages the owner must
evaluate himself. What will be acceptable or
satisfactory in one case, may not be in another.
Size of the office, type of work done, convenience
of access, parking, services, as well as rent and
utility costs, all contribute to consideration of any
Office Location
1. Before
2. The at home Office
3. Space Requirements
4. Your Office
5. The City Location
6. The Suburban Location
7. The Small Town Office
8. The Rural Office
9. Comparison
10. Personal Preference
11. The Other City
12. Your Own Building
1. Before
Most every architect or engineer, ready to open his
own office has work in another office before feeling
the urge to be on his own.
In addition, the budding architect probably has
visited other offices on one occasion or another and
can mentally note items that he thinks are
advantageous or disadvantageous.
Obtain feedback or gripe from people in their
office conditions like; the layout of drafting tables,
amount of drawer or shelf space desired, lighting
conditions, convenience of various office services,
and the desirability of conference rooms, library,
print room, and clerical area.
2. The At Home Office
Many young architects moonlight after office
hours, using a space room as an office. This
may be a temporary expendiency to make a
little extra money, but as a starting point for a
full-blown business it is not very good.
There may be some clients who will not object
to coming to the office in the rear bedroom at
a residence, but a great many more will
probably not be enthusiastic about it.
And even if all of these reasons may not be
sufficient, city regulations and business licenses
rules may prevent this type of operation.
3. Space Requirements
First, we should try to determine floor space
Depending upon the physical arrangement of
drafting table and layout board, the average
space is 2 x 3 meters (6 m).
Additional space for circulation, conference,
storage, and other desirable areas brings this up
to approximately 15m/ person.
A recent survey indicated that about of total
floor area is devoted to administration: about
20% to production, 12% to storage, and 10% to
55-60 m are minimum for one-man office and
about 100 m for average office of 7/8 persons.
The area requirements may vary but their functions
may be divided into the following groups:
Reception area and waiting room
Principal's office
Conference room. (room for at least a 6 person)
Secretarial space, bookkeeping
Production Area
Drafting space, project managers
Office space for specifications, engineers
Model making space (optional)
Library and sample room
Estimating (optional)
Storage area.
Dead project storage
Correspondence storage
Vault (optional)

Toilet area
Staff lounge (optional)
In trying to layout the office, however, it may be
necessary to fully consider separation of noise
sources in order to have best operation.
Physical space may be such that the addition of
the client's body prevents desired circulation or
interfers with other draftsmen.
A majority of offices prefer that the client does
not circulate in the drafting room but instead all
reviews of documents are made in an office or
conference room.
4. Your Office
Most influential public relations devices- reflects
his interest and feeling toward certain types of
architecture or materials.
Employees react to this- warm atmosphere
reflects interest in a project.
In most cases the architect will have generated
a particular channel or design concept that he
likes, and this should be a major factor in
selection of new office location.
5. The City Location
The best location for new office but a number of
disadvantages to be considered:
Square meter cost higher than other areas
Availability and cost of parking (personnel &
Access to nearby suppliers and blueprinting firms.
Offices in the central business district are
expected to somehow have better offices,
knowledge, employees, projects, and jobe
These accumulated factors do not in
themselves make better office but location just
may be a help.
6. The Suburban Location
Suburban location doesn't mean that the
office is out in the sticks
Fair-sized office buildings
Lower rental rates
More spaces available
More, less expensive and convenient parking
Accessible office related stores
May relate better to residential work and
clients may be less reluctant to come into a
less busy area.

7. The Small Town Office
Due to crowing, higher costs, ecological problems,
and inconveniences of the city, a great mny
people, including architects, are leaving the
urban sprawl for the smaller towns.
If the architect is fairly confident of success in
his move, he may want to design and build
perhaps even with a rental space of two.
His residence will be nearer the office
Parking nearby is usually readily available at a
low cost/free
Supplies may be a bit of a problem, particularly
reproduction of work.
Additional expense for duplicating equipment may be
necessary and supply may have to be oredered in
larger quantities.
A move to a smaller town most often means that any
earlier contacts probably are lost.
Local clientele will develop as the architect takes part
in the communit activities and demonstrate is ability
in the design of his office/building.

Practice may include considerable residential
work, some smal commercial work, a bit of
government work, and considerable promotional
Promotiona work includes reworking of run-down
areas, new or remodeling work, retail stores,
and occasional school bond-determined work.
Chances to be selected for a multi-million dollar
project will be very remote as this work will go to
the city firm nearest the owner.
8. The Rural Office
Not very practical for a full-time architectural office and
even less so far an engineer's office.
Office spaces as such may be nonexistent, so remodeled
barns or addition to residences may be the answer.
Parking will usually be plentiful and free.
Supplies must be carefully purchased in quantity, and
duplicating equipment must be part of office
Work comint to the office will be small and probably
Rural office must be considered as part-time operation in
most cases.
9. Comparison
City office has all advantage for large office
Suburban-type location is more desirable for
beginning small office
Some very succesful operations are carried on in
small town situation and even a few in rural areas.
10. Personal Preference
The location of an office depends a great deal
upon the individual.
After working in a city office, many young
architects want to get away from the hustle and
bustle when they get on their own. This means
they will migrate to the suburbs or smaller
towns. On the other hand, some people like the
feeling of being in the manstream of city
business or have some initial project which is
best processed in a downtown location. A
similar preference seems to be prevalent in
suburban and small town offices.
11. The Other City
Relocation to a new city is a big step, since, in
most cases, It means practically starting over.
The architect loses all previous contacts, both
with prospective clients and with contractors,
suppliers and even manufacturers'
Survey of the proposed new area should be made
and if possible congenial contacts formed with
some of the firms operating in the area.
Search for proper housing, markets, schools, and
other living facilities.
12. Your Own Building
If the general location is right, the next question is
to buy and remodel an existing building, or to
design and build a new building from scratch.
Remodeling work on old houses can be risky but if
a good result, it can also be one of the best
advertisments of public relations items possible.
A new building is really a challenge. It must be
within the budget and must function 100% for its
intended operation.
Must be aesthetically pleasing to the public.
If this appearance is pleasing to the general
public, it is likely that business may be a bit
easier to obtain, if the building is outstanding
either as a great building or as a monstrosity,
the public will also know about it and will have
varied opinions.
Under these circumstances, it is probably good to
keep in mind the possibility of future expansion.
Your own building is a major investment and a
visible advertisment that should be carefully
considered from all angles.