AIA Minnesota Convention 2015

Minneapolis, November 13, 2015


We as architects can learn much from developers about how to better serve our clients and how to better achieve our own design and business goals. Developers are a “professional clients” who, rather than building once every twenty or thirty years, are in the business of building all of the time. One part of their job is hiring and managing architects and they therefore understand better than many other clients what they want and need from architects and the design process. And unlike many clients, developers are a source of repeat business for those architects who choose to work with them and are successful at doing so.


This program was based on a panel discussion followed by audience Q&A. The panel was comprised of four experienced real estate developers who have worked at different scales, on different product types, and who have thoughtful and conscious approaches to the use of architects and design in making better buildings. The speakers included


• Peter Hendee Brown, AIA, AICP, Ph.D., Program leader and moderator

• Collin Barr, President, Ryan Companies

• Curt Gunsbury, Solhem

• Kit Richardson, Partner, Schafer Richardson

• Scott Tankenoff, Hillcrest Development


The objective of the program was to give audience members answers to the following types of questions:


• Do developers care about “good design” and if so, how do they define it?

• What is the developer’s creative vision and how can the architect help them achieve it?

• What do developers expect from an architect and how do they define a “good architect?”

• Where can you find the design opportunities within a real estate development project?

• Should I pursue developer work and if I do, what are the risks and rewards?