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How to Create Competitive Advantage and Win Clients with Designs You Are Proud Of

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

‍Image Credit: © mantinov | Fololia

There are a lot of architectural design firms out there, and everyone thinks their designs are unique. But clients are not just buying “good-looking” and unique designs that are functional; they care about building designs that bring value to their bottom line — helping their building occupants thrive.

Unfortunately, due to many factors like project complexity, time constraints, and a lack of expertise, firms do not think about their clients’ ultimate goal at a level that is deep enough.

Because of this, a ripple effect occurs. The firm’s designs do not reach their full potential, clients get sub-par architecture, and building occupants suffer. Furthermore, firms lose out on winning new building projects — all because they are not designing for their client’s most important goal.

The following are three ideas to give your architecture firm a competitive advantage to win new clients with designs that you can be truly proud of.

  • Building Potential: You want to design a building that meets your client’s big strategic goals — and not just building functions. For example, this is the difference between designing an office building for working versus a place for innovating, or between designing a hospital that houses healing versus one that fosters healing. Your clients care about the impact of your design upon their occupants. And you should design for this impact at a deep level.
  • Building Value: You want a building concept that easily conveys the value of your design to prospective clients so you win new projects. Your clients need to see the significant return on investment (ROI) that your building design will yield for them. Your firm needs to connect these dots, and it all begins during even the earliest design phase: concept design. Make sure your concept design conveys its value strategically.
  • Building Innovation: You want a method of design thinking that consistently sets you apart from the rest of the competition — giving you a competitive advantage. Clients care about innovation, as long as it gives them a high return on their investment in you and your architectural designs. Your firm needs to think deeply about how its building designs help occupants thrive. And to do this, your firm needs to innovate its own design process to take advantage of latest inter-disciplinary findings, trends, strategies, and methodologies. Doing this will equip you to make smarter design decisions that your clients will love.

This approach will lead to more business for you. Architects that take action on these ideas position their firm as leaders that raise the bar on what creating beautiful, meaningful, and truly functional design really means.

You will positively impact your client’s bottom line, and this will give you a significant edge over your competition.


what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is an award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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