A new start
The first Built In event was organized in the fall of 2013. Adrian and I were working on our second venture together after a year out of graduate school. We quickly realized during that summer there was a vacuum. At the time, there was little conversation in the architecture industry about the business behind the design of the built environment. If there was, it felt detached from the reality on the ground -- 2013 was a year in which new technology-driven business models were taking off and many of them to do with space with little to zero participation from architects. Built In was born in that vacuum.
Formed as a meetup where architects could come together to discuss new business ideas, we held our first Built-In event at The Magician, a patina-tinged bar in the Lower East Side that offered drinks at a good price (still does!) with plenty of four person tables for us to take over with after-work conversation. The great turnout encouraged us to continue. And we did, year after year, moving from The Magician to other great venues like Grand Central Tech and WeWork Chelsea, organizing bigger and more thoughtful events with amazing speakers like Peggy Deamer (Architecture Lobby), Marc Kushner (Architizer, HWKN), and David Fano (WeWork).
Our organizing team also grew and contracted over the years. As a labor of love, Built In has depended heavily on the passions of volunteers who believe in the message and want to see industry-wide change. We've been thankful for all of our friends that have helped to steer the ship and continue to provide encouragement and support in the wings, especially Mike Zee, Fletcher Phillips and Mike Leach who were core to the team in the past couple of years.
2017 saw a slow down in events that was due in large part to life happening -- through it, we've been able to come together to re-evaluate what we feel is important about Built In and what we believe will be most helpful for the community moving forward. There are many pressing issues at large today that reverberate within the industry, from the architectural profession's agency and relevancy to equity to management and technological innovation. With the re-launch of our Built In website, we're looking to tackle all of these topics within our blog.
This past year, we've also had the incredible opportunity to join this year's cohort at the GSAPP Incubator, which is the only incubator of its kind in the AEC industry. With that in mind, this year and next we are evolving Built In to be:
1. Specific - Information and content should be specific enough to be implemented today or in weeks. We're looking to extract more insights from the top performers and innovators in the industry to understand the techniques and strategies that any firm can use to improve culture, moral, and revenue.
2. Shareable - Our events where one offs that never had the reach we would have liked, we'll be exploring new formats to make sure more people can provide feedback and engage in conversation.
3. Special - We always want to provide an avenue for conversation that does not exist anywhere else.
To accomplish this evolution, we'll be experimenting with new formats and will be providing regular addition of educational content to our channels. We've also joined forces with Superform, a new type of management consultancy, in order to offer workshops and services that can help firms design and implement innovation in operational management, business development and marketing.
As the year winds down to a contemplative close, we are encouraged by the continued support of the community and we hope to continue to provide a space where people can discuss the challenges plaguing this industry and the opportunities. We need to move forward and together we will.