Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Dot.commers can teach architects a trick or two

  • Comment

However galling it might be to watch dot.commers make their millions, it is worth considering the implications of their stratospheric success. Firstly, it marks a widespread acceptance of the fact that ideas are worth big money - a concept which architectural clients are often slow to grasp. Secondly, it demonstrates the extent to which a company can flourish given initial financial stability, and finally, it shows that investors are susceptible to self-promotion and hype.

Traditionally architects have been unwilling to turn to the City, labouring under the rather quaint illusion that any investment in the practice should come out of surplus fee income. The City, in turn, has not exactly courted architects. The market is uncertain, and the profits notoriously low. But a good dose of investment capital can help to counter both of these problems. By using the money to increase the range of specialisations, a practice can build up a degree of protection from the vagaries of the market place. And stability, in turn, irons out some of the problems which gnaw away at profits. How many architectural practices are currently on costly short-term leases, because they lack the confidence to take on long-term obligations, or the capital to invest in property of their own? How many architects are deprived of a decent contract because their employers do not know whether they will be able to sit out the next recession?

Architects are actually beginning to show the same ambition as the newer professions. hlm Architects is to be quoted on the stock market when it completes the takeover of communications and marketing company, Osprey Communications. The deal is expected to make each of the three directors worth an extra £4 million - a sum which seems extraordinary in the architectural world, but which wouldn't raise an eyebrow in cyberspace. By buying up other architectural practices and marketing agencies, the company plans to double in size within the next 18 months. Newly christened RockArchimedia, the company has even given itself a new-media style name. There are lessons to be learnt: project the right image, talk up your product and think big.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.