Can architects be strategic partners in real estate portfolio management?

Traditionally, architects follow age-old practices, representing the owner while providing solutions that serve the occupant. But what if an architect could not only envision a new building but also contemplate serving employees without constructing additional facilities? What if an architect could reimagine existing spaces, allowing users to move and live more effectively while saving valuable resources, time, and money? 

With new technologies, speedier communication, and near-instant document transmission, architects must expand beyond projects to strategic services. We’ve seen this happen with accounting firms morphing into consulting firms; real estate and leasing companies moving into client services and maintenance management; banks expanding into financial services experts; and hospitals focusing on wellness centers. These expansions focus on what benefits and sustains our lives and resources, as opposed to pure transactional consumerism. As a result, consumers receive more meaningful services, while the professionals who provide those services expand their practice and provide more value.  

AIA’s new B210-2017 document, Standard Form of Architect’s Services: Facility Support, provides architects and owners with the ability to speak this new language of non-traditional architecture. No longer are owners beginning with a traditional project in mind. The first step is to evaluate the existing environment, better understand what works and what prevents employees from performing at their highest potential. Then, architects make strategic decisions to repurpose existing spaces or create new ones, all with the employees’ needs truly in mind.