Architects as Developers: Five Portraits

From smaller residential projects to vast mixed-use developments, more and more architects are crossing over into development work, bringing a fresh perspective to the process.

"Architects usually engage in the development side of the business to control their own design, to integrate their design and project management skills into the development operations at big firms, or to combine development and design skills under the same roof to better handle the complexity of the projects they find most relevant.

At the same time, many developers increasingly see value in bringing design professionals on board as part of the development process. As projects become more complex and more oriented toward creating a special sense of place, designers become more valuable in all stages of development.

The following five architects have shown a strong interest in design, and each in his own way has brought that passion into the heart of the development process, either by becoming his own client or by putting his design expertise to work in a development-oriented firm."

This Urban Land Magazine article profiles the following five architect developers:

Laurin Askew-the Pioneer: Askew taught the development world that architects need to be paid and not strung along, because they are the first people approval agencies deal with.

Jonathan Segal-the Entrepreneur: Over the past 18 years, Segal has designed more than 150 residential units in San Diego, most of them part of infill projects in the downtown area.

John Tindall-the Diplomat: "I feel like a diplomat," says John Tindall, vice president of commercial development at Shea Properties, mediating among design, community, and development priorities in projects.

Rob Paulus-the Cowboy: In the wild west of Sunbelt sprawl, architect Rob Paulus, along with his development partners, saw before many others that even Tucson, Arizona, would have to urbanize. Combining design and development has allowed him to complete some of the most exciting projects in the U.S. Southwest.

Eric Fang-the New Kid: Street-Works focuses on mixed-use developments, which Eric Fang, the firm's director of urban planning and design, says are notoriously complicated propositions.

[Editor's Note: This article is available to the public for 7 days. After this time, the article is only available to ULI members, or for a fee.]

Thanks to Urban Land Institute

Full Story: Architects as Developers: Five Portraits

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