What is architectural strategy? Examining the business of practice
Brozek Casey, Ann E.
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In a context of perpetually changing economies, politics, technology, material, regulations, and client demands, architects are constantly pressured to innovate, respond, and adapt to these influences while simultaneously producing excellent design. Design artifacts are the elements that win awards, appeal to clients, and physically exist as testimony to an architect's successful project execution. Unfortunately, the collective architectural catalogue of buildings and related design artifacts hardly relates all of the internal decisions, processes, compromises, and other tactics employed for their realization. These are the things that define architectural strategy and which enable firms to be resilient in an industrial landscape of fluctuation. This exploratory investigation details the data from a case study of interviews with practicing architects from five different firms in Buffalo, New York. The architects related a rich story of operational decisions, some deliberate and others more tentative, that point to the necessity of flexibility and incremental change in order to achieve stability in a historically volatile industry (Morea 26). Analysis of an array of unique decisions these case study firms have made over time revealed a strikingly large trend of focus on attaining clients and securing repeat work from the same clients. A second trend revealed a large portion of the case study firms' revenue was attained from non-traditional architectural work, or work outside of the five phases of basic services as defined by the American Institute of Architects. These include schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding or negotiation, and construction (Birx 464).