Architects have the skills and tools to create more content than any other profession…yet we seem to produce the least when distracted with the chase for more billable hours.


This article is a call to action for ALL Architects… But a little preamble before we get there.

Once described as the “noblest of the arts,” Architecture has for the most part remained a prestigious or respectable profession in the eyes of the public. Yet, there is no denying that over the years, the profession and the general expectation from Architects has shifted. Talk to any Architect who has been practicing long enough and they can surely tell you at length how they are always asked to resolve and design more, to do it faster, to oversee more, and to do it all with less mistakes…all for much lower fees.

Despite this though, the profession remains. This is for a simple reason, Architects are creative, thrive under pressure and are born problem solvers. MOST Architects love the creative process, thoroughly enjoy interacting with others and do find legitimate satisfaction from tackling an issue and resolving it.

YET, the biggest obstacle to our profession can easily be resolved with the skillset I described above, but somehow Architects tend to shy away from the solution. This is not done out of lack of interest, instead many don’t even realize the potential they have to address this “problem.” Nor may they even be cognizant of what this looming issue is.

What is this large obstacle I keep referring to? Simply put, it’s the fact that the public is not aware of what we do and what value we bring. If you work in established firms long enough, this problem may be completely unknown to you. You may often work with repeat clients and others in the field, all of whom understand the process and the value of each team member.

However, I can speak with personal experience that the INSTANT you step out of this sphere of influence, it’s very clear that a large majority of the world does not have this intrinsic knowledge of Architects and their craft. Ill avoid using this entire article ranting about the public lack of knowledge regarding Architects, but it is safe to say that almost everyone I meet falls into one of the categories below. (None of which are ideal)

  1. Not entirely sure if they even “need” an Architect. (They always do.)  
  2. Those who are convinced they DO NOT need an Architect but are LEGALLY forced to, yet somehow are still begrudgingly considering it. (Some truly scary scenarios come to mind.) 
  3. The small number of people who do want an Architect’s help but are unaware of the time and cost required.

I should clarify that while the above examples may convey a sense of irritation on my part, I do not harbor those feelings. While it certainly leads to some unenjoyable conversations, it is not the fault of the clients that they are not experts in our field. If any irritation is had on my part, its mainly with Architecture as a whole. The biggest problem we face (the public being unaware of what we do) is sadly because Architecture and Construction is a very small and inclusive “world.”

Either you live in it, or you are completely ignorant of its inner workings.

So, what is the easy solution to this issue that I hinted at a few paragraphs earlier?

Simple…Architects need to educate the world on our profession.

Clearly, this may not sound as simple as a one-word sentence, but the steps needed to accomplish this are simple compared to the MANY others issues we as a profession deal with daily. In fact, it requires us to use some of our most valuable skillsets; creativity, willingness to present and engage with others, and the need to resolve issues.

Now we come to the call to action I started this article with what it is that we ALL need to start doing immediately.

CREATE content and SHARE it.

Hopefully by the end of this article it will seem so obvious, but many Architects despite their skillset to create and present information, often do not do either. Regardless of how long you’ve practiced, almost every project an Architect undertakes requires extensive research and personal education on the part of an Architect. Whether it be new materials, building science, codes and regulations, and millions of other facets, every Architect is constantly learning and becoming a subject matter expert every day. Sadly, what happens to all this knowledge? Maybe I am speaking with too much generalization, but it often seems like when the project finally ends, all this knowledge and research is tucked away into a drawer and then is forever archived in that Architect’s memory, lying dormant except for the occasional water cooler discussion. 

You’ve already done the work, you’re enough of an expert to explain it to others…so DO SO! But share that with others outside your firm. (Most of them probably don’t need to be educated on how much you do and what goes into our profession.)

Now this would not be the first time I’ve made this argument, and I often have counterpoints to why it hasn’t been done more. These reasons may be justified, but it doesn’t change the necessity of doing it. In fact, Ill argue that every reason you’re not sharing more would be helped if we all did start sharing. There are countless examples, but below are a few of the things I hear the most.

  1. Not paid for this effort.
    1. No, you are not, but the more this is done the more money we can ask for. Not to mention all of this is great marketing material, and most firms don’t balk at marketing expenses. 
  2. I would be putting myself “out there.:
    1. Yes, and while that’s terrifying its also a huge boost for work. Plenty of data exists that shows clients hire people they know, and what better way to know you beforehand then by reading or watching something you’ve done.
  3. Too much client and billable work to focus on.
    1. There’s no denying that Architects juggle a lot. But without sounding like a doomsayer, if we all don’t start getting others to understand our value and our field, we are only going to be taking on more and more work at lower pay, just to stay afloat financially.
  4. I’m not an expert.
    1. Yes, you are. Even if you truly are not reinventing the wheel, there is always value in explaining or packaging information in a new or different way. Go online and search how many books there are about self-help or finances. They all say the same thing and yet millions exist and keep coming out.
  5. This would involve giving away knowledge and expertise for free.
    1. If a client’s problems can be easily solved by reading or watching a small piece of content you produced, then they were not going to hire you or anyone for THOUSANDS of dollars.
  6. Our firm is already sharing project photos
    1. The people have spoken, and they want more than just blatant marketing, they want educational content. A final rendering of a new building may make someone stop for a second and look at it, but an in-depth discourse on how the building façade was designed or what material science required it will draw significantly more attention.

If we let others glimpse into what we must do every day, slowly but surely, they will come to understand what it is we provide, what we do, and why we are an added value to a project, NOT an extravagant expense.

The amount of mediums available to us to share our knowledge is only growing; videos, blogs, podcasting, writing, presenting, lecturing and countless other methods exist. So many so that the biggest challenge should not be IF you should be creating and sharing, but HOW. The democratization of knowledge has truly expanded the realm of possibility for many professions, yet Architecture has barely even begun to take advantage. If you need proof, go to YouTube, and count how many Architecture channels there are…its not many.

I need to clarify that this call to action is for EVERYONE in Architecture, regardless of rank or experience level. If you read this and at any point nodded your head in agreement, this call to action was for you. If you own your firm, or if you just graduated school, this all still applies to you.

We all have our expertise, our specialties, some iota of knowledge that others in the field want to know…and I will guarantee there are many outside the profession who want to know it, even if they don’t know it yet.


I need to clarify that this call to action is for EVERYONE in Architecture, regardless of rank or experience level. If you read this and at any point nodded your head in agreement, this call to action was for you. If you own your firm, or if you just graduated school, this all still applies to you.

We all have our expertise, our specialties, some iota of knowledge that others in the field want to know…and I will guarantee there are many outside the profession who want to know it, even if they don’t know it yet.

Simply put…CREATE CONTENT. It’ll help others, and it will absolutely help you. An easy win-win situation.

If you feel I missed the mark or am misinformed on any aspect of what I wrote, please let me know. If you completely disagree, or have some harsh counterarguments to anything I say, I want to hear that too.

If you did enjoy the post or have any ideas or questions you would like to see or hear about in the upcoming posts and videos in this series, please let me know that as well.

Thank you for taking the time to listen and have a great day.

  • Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM
  • Principal – Architect

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Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM

Bryan Toepfer is the Principal Architect and founder of TOEPFER Architecture, PLLC, an Architecture firm specializing in Residential Design, Construction and Virtual Reality modeling.

Taking his philosophy of the importance of education to heart, he guide clients through the process of Design and Construction with each project. He runs a blog titled “What the Hell is Architecture?” with the goal of sharing with others the many aspects of Architecture, as well as hosting the New Books Network-Architecture podcast.

He also coaches Intern Architects studying for their Architectural License exams, is an NCARB Licensing Advisor, a former Architecture professor at Alfred State College, and served as the Director of Education for the AIA Board of Directors in Rochester.

He lives in Rochester, New York with his wife and children, as well as their dog, fish, hamster and any other animals soon to come.

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