The Knotel phenomenon is worth studying to see how safe you are.
The Knotel phenomenon.
Knotel provides office space for large companies. The way they do that is what is disruptive. Knotel provides brokers, property owners, lawyers, designer, architect, contractor, vendors, IT, and movers in addition to the office space.
Of course Knotel isn’t the first to disrupt the architectural profession. Design/Builders and Construction Managers have been displacing architects as the project team leader for about 40 years. The impact has been a commoditization of architecture. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Knotel is showing the whole world how to be the project leader even without a background in the construction industry.
For large office space leases in large cities there is a fundamental change taking place. Take a look at Knotel’s website. Knotel has a very attractive proposition for potential leasers of office space: (paraphrasing) “Knotel will help you develop the right solution for you, coordinate all the players for you, and save you money while increasing your flexibility”.
You can’t compete with that.
Sure, you say, “These are large projects in the office lease market in large cities. We don’t work in that arena.” But, it isn’t Knotel that you have to worry about. It is the paradigm shift that they represent. Just about every business needs physical space; and just about every business is terrible at developing that space. It isn’t their mission to be good at developing physical space, and so they aren’t. That is why the Knotels of the world have an attentive audience.
Will this disruption affect small projects?
How many more seasons of HGTV until everyone expects their new house to be just like an episode of the Property Brothers.
How long before every real estate broker and every banker is working on providing this kind of service?
Are public projects safe?
I am pretty sure that public schools are already part way there.
What can you do?
It wouldn’t be unusual for you to have done something similar in the past and called it 'special services'. I did, and it was exciting and profitable.
At the very least study Knotel’s website to see what is attractive to their clients and what you can adopt. This new paradigm is sure to trickle down to many other project types just like Construction Management (think Turner) is nowadays provided by everyone with a pickup and a laptop.
Architects aren’t going extinct, but you might be facing a new world where you work for the Owner’s “Project Manager” instead of the Owner.