Does it pay to be nimble, light, and alone these days? As the reeling economy continues to wreak havoc on the design and construction industry (2,000 fewer people were working at architecture firms in the month of April alone) architects are being bounced from their jobs at traditional design firms and wondering where their skills fit into the economy’s seemingly willful refusal to build buildings. Experience from other sole practitioners and small firms that offer services to architects and architectural clients suggests that the best business model today allows architects to use their diverse skills wherever they see fit—plugging their expertise into hyper-specific micro markets that are too small for a large firm to work in, yet large enough to keep paying the bills. Four Bay Area architects have been doing just that, often after long and familiar experiences with large, traditional design firms. Though their practices are vastly different, they’ve all found that the freedom and flexibility of their consulting practices have allowed them to bob, duck, weave, and advance in a worsening design market.
About the author
Mark English, AIA, Founder and Principal of Mark English Architects, has been working in San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area since 1992. His designs reflect of resourcefulness and efficiency to create high-quality residential design.