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How to Find Your Uniqueness as an Architect and Gain a Competitive Advantage

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

‍Image Credit: © Geralt | Pixabay

THE FIRST STEP: AWARENESS & CONTRIBUTION

When designing, do you strive to design projects that look and function like other projects already built? Or do you strive to create a unique and original contribution to the discipline of architecture? If you concentrate on the latter, then you are a step ahead toward finding and leveraging your own uniqueness as an architect – and this uniqueness can give you a significant competitive advantage to help set you apart from your competition.

It is important to ask yourself what unique qualities or resources give you that extra edge when competing to win an ideal client or new project. You see, your design process can benefit greatly from those aspects that make you design in the way that only YOU can. For example, is there a certain knowledge, experience, or vision that you bring to the project? And how can you leverage these to enhance both your design results, and the way in which you present those results to prospective clients?

IDENTIFY YOUR DIFFERENCES & LEVERAGE THEM

Perhaps you have a unique personal experience with an environment that informs, influences, or inspires your work. Or perhaps you have education in a field that is seemingly unrelated to design, but it still frames the way you think about and design for people. Or perhaps you have a design vision that drives your body of architectural works. It is important for you to be aware of how your past experiences, both personally and professionally, influence the way you see the world and the way you design for that world. It is within that uniqueness that you can set yourself apart as an architect that pulls from a wide-range of resources (both internal and external).

Today, take a moment to think about what makes you unique as an architect. What do you offer through your design abilities that makes your work different (in a positive way)? Then leverage this to help your design process even further, so you stand uniquely and cannot be compared to the competition because they do not offer what you offer.

Find your unique competitive advantage, and leverage it to help you design and present architectural projects in ways that truly contribute to a better world – all because you incorporate what you have determined makes you unique as a designer. Your clients will notice.

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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 a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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A design process definition can be explained as the creative and iterative methods one goes through in order to solve for a particular challenge, need, or goal. Within architectural design, one’s design process goes through various stages that begin with an initial creative vision that ultimately gets built as a building that occupants can use. The goal for architects is to optimize their design process in order to create the highest quality architectural design in the shortest amount of time, and within budget. The following is an architect's guide to design process.