Real estate/Developers & Architect


What could be the role of an architect be in a real-estate/developers office ??

What could be his/her contribution to the same?? 

Dec 19, 12 11:26 am

The role of the architect IMHO, would probably be to help the developer maximize his her profits by offering the built environment the minimum legally code compliant, zone compliant, structures the developer could build next to the Wal-mart d.i.y. kit, that would probably would come in a little to high in cost or else the developer would never have hired the architect to began with

Dec 19, 12 4:53 pm

Apart from designing/estimation/inputs of the local bye laws.. would there be any other specific contribution.

Dec 20, 12 12:01 am

speculative design thinking and planning

site and project analysis 

programming and area tabulations

code and zoning research

loan pitch presentations and sales packages, media packages

design and construction team building

bidding assistance and contract negociations

preliminary and all other phases of design, master planning assistance

representing the developer to design team(s)

project management

quality control

post construction follow ups, building commissioning


just a few comes to my mind...

Dec 20, 12 1:00 am

Perhaps my personal career experience might be of some interest here. I spent about 1/3 of my career working in commercial real estate development. After 4 years in professional practice, during which time I obtained my license, I went back to school for an MBA. I then was hired by a real estate developer as a construction manager. That role evolved to project management, with a broader set of responsibilities. After a while, I grew into a development management role, which encompassed almost the full spectrum of development activities, from land acquisition to major tenant procurement to procurement of financing, etc.

In my experience, architects who join RE firms - and do well - rarely, if ever, spend much time designing and drawing. Our experience with design and construction provides a perspective that is quite useful to the development process. However, development is a much, much broader endeavor than is architecture. I believe architects who want to have a successful career in RE probably need to relax, if not break, the confining shackles of architectural thinking in order to achieve significant success. However, YMMV.

Dec 20, 12 7:59 am

To put it simply, the role of the architect is:



Even with all the architect's expertise, to him we are simply a mild commodity needed to submit CD's to the building dept. We advise developers on building codes, zoning, ADA requirements, fire codes, life safety issues, design, and and the developer still feels the need to question our expertise/experience for the sake of saving a few bucks.

Jan 9, 13 10:22 am

Bullshit. Prove architecture's $$$ value (that's a real thing, I swear), take on better dev. clients, or be your own. Not everyone is just a stamping tool.

And there are women developers...

Jan 9, 13 3:32 pm

^ +1

Jan 9, 13 7:49 pm

the ROI on good design is very rarely much more than the ROI on bad design

Jan 9, 13 11:40 pm

mdler, you're wrong. There was a multi-decade study done a little while back that clearly demonstrated good design added an average of 25% to asset values in good real estate markets, and reduced vacancy rates by up to 50% during down markets. That's a big win for good design.

Jan 10, 13 12:21 pm


Vandell, Kerry D.; Riddiough, Timothy J.; and Lane, Jonathan S.
"Economics of Office Design"
Urban Land Institute Working Paper Series #602

The authors did produce a later paper, in 2003, that called the vacancy rate benefits into question, but market activity since the RE bust started has been supporting the vacancy rate impact findings.

Good design adds value to the bottom line. The difficulty for developers is in knowing what good design is and isn't. Regrettably, architects have really been dropping the ball on that. The architectural profession has been sliding further and further into solipsistic nonsense, producing a lot of self-indulgent crap and passing it off as "avante garde." That makes it difficult for developers to really judge the case for good design as added value.

Jan 10, 13 12:35 pm

Speaking dollars and cents mdler, more is more. I certainly agree that not everything is going to be a windfall, but that's not the point...

Jan 10, 13 3:13 pm

Are any of you interested in the Jonathan Segal architect as developer seminar?  I'm selling the videos and documents for $75 that I bought for $500 from  It's invaluable insight that is unavailable anywhere else.  Email me at if interested. 

May 22, 13 3:42 pm

Im an architect went back to school took Urban Design as a specialization- now contemplating whether RE firms would best suit me...

Jul 20, 13 5:54 pm

do you know anything about finance? like NPV and time value of money?

Jul 21, 13 1:02 am

I guess the architect can value the features and benefits of the properties for sale. I mean, with his/her expertise the saler and the buyer can get more accurate information about property. I know that it is more about selling than creating but don´t the engineers use to be good managers?

Jul 28, 13 6:04 pm

I think this is a very important question to answer. I would really recommend breaking into the real estate market as an architect-just for the sake of learning something new and having that added experience of being both a designer and developer.

From what I've seen as architects, we all do the same thing, graduate and become draftsmen. I understand that there is more to architecture, but I have seen this way too much.

I got accepted into Jones Lang and for weeks I contemplated it and was wondering where the hell I was going with this. I then met the technical team and they explained that I would just be adding to my skill set and that somehow this would make me a better designer.

My thoughts are, this isnt a permanent shift away from architecture, you can always return and with more insight actually!

Jul 29, 13 9:29 am

@nt13, which position title did  Jones Lang offer you?

Jul 30, 13 10:16 pm

superspace, I got accepted in the graduate program, it has 6 month rotations in different departments.

Aug 3, 13 3:33 pm

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