I absolutely LOVE what I do for a living. So much so that I do what I do ALL THE TIME. Even on Sundays, like now, and late at night, and early in the morning, and….you get the idea. What I love most about what I do is celebrating and encouraging other architects in my community and in communities around the world. I’ve been lucky over the last couple of years to have built relationships with some really great architects and recently I was even able to talk about the virtual studio business model which, at it’s core, is about architects collaborating and contributing to a larger community through expertise in design and construction. Not long after this interview I was even able to put this model into practice on a small scale with one of my fellow architects – Lee Calisti – on a residential project that will hopefully be moving forward soon.

And now I’m planning to take even more exciting steps in my quest to build better communities through design and collaboration. For too long architects have been in not-so quiet competition with each other. I saw this in Florida and Virginia where I started out as an intern and even after moving to Arkansas. I saw Arkansas as an interesting animal especially due to the small size of the state. So not only is there competition among architects in the same city, but among different regions of the state. It’s quite entertaining. But I’m hoping to change the dynamic in a big way in the coming year.

First by my new office. Yes, no more will I be battling for precious table real estate with my two children (they always win). I will be moving to a big boy office in downtown Little Rock and in the first high rise built in the state – The Pyramid Building. What makes this move an important step in my endeavors is the fact that I will be sharing this office with another small firm architect. We will not be partners and there will be two names on the door. So what makes this sound like a good idea, you wonder? Simple – we are of like mind that when one architect does well, others can and will also. He has his clients and I have mine. He has his strengths and I have mine. The hope is that we will be able to share ideas, share expertise and share workload and share overhead across the aisle in a collaborative and professional manner so that ultimately our clients get better service and our bottom line is a little lower.

Second, and just as importantly, I have a meeting this week with a pair of architects here in Little Rock that do some truly amazing and beautiful work. They are looking for someone to help with contract work. And I am beyond stoked about this possibility. Do I need or want to horn in on their clients? Not even a little bit. Why would I? I’d lose their contract work and I’d lose the ability to hopefully send work their way as well, which hurts both of us and also hurts the clients. Stupid and short sighted planning.

You see, I don’t need a big firm. I don’t need a big list of partner’s names on the door. I don’t need an army of interns under me to do my bidding. To be truly successful all I need are a few solid relationships with other talented architects who see this business and this profession as I do – as a community working together to build a better world…..and make money.

Image courtesy of under creative commons license.


Lisa Saldivar