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Architect as Developer: Taking Control of Design and Getting Paid for it, with Jonathan Segal FAIA

Jonathan Segal, FAIA is an architect who practices in a different reality from most architects. He creates his own reality. Since his first project, 7 on Kettner, hit downtown San Diego in 1991, Segal has been a champion of an alternate practice paradigm for architects: he develops, designs, and builds his own projects. Developing his own projects is like “pushing boulders uphill…but worth it” he remarks. Over the past 20 years he has fine tuned his architect as developer model into a well-oiled machine, which he outlines for us in this interview.

In this episode of Business of Architecture, Jonathan Segal shares with us his motives and the advantages of developing his own projects. He gives suggestions for how architects who wish to develop their own projects can get started. “Just do it”, he says. He also discusses three project types that beginning architect as developers should consider. We also discuss his work as a co-founder and professor at Woodbury University's Master of Real Estate Development program.

Finally, Jonathan tells us about his online seminar for aspiring architect/developers aptly named “Architect as Developer”. “I want to educate architects on what I do,” he states. “I want to help them liberate themselves. I want to teach people on a nation-wide basis about what I do”. To find out how to develop your own projects and take the first steps to design and financial freedom, sign up for Jonathan's online seminar at Architect as

In this interview Segal explains:

  • The first steps to take if you want to develop your own project.
  • The three project types you should consider for your first project.
  • A behind the scenes look at Jonathan's online seminar, Architect as Developer, where he outlines how other architects can develop their own projects.

This interview is on iTunes. Subscribe above, and be a hero! If you know another architect who would benefit from watching this video, share away using the social share buttons.

Show Notes:

  1. To find out more about Jonathan Segal's online course Architect as Developer, visit
  2. See the work of Jonathan Segal, FAIA at
  3. Go to the Charmer on Vimeo to see an amazing documentary on Jonathan Segal's recent mixed-use project “The Charmer”.
  4. For information on the Master's of Real Estate Development program at Woodbury University where Jonathan Segal teaches, visit MRED at Woodbury.
  5. Architects mentioned in the interview: Ted Smith, AIA, Mike (Mikey) Burnett, Sebastian Mariscal.

Interview Transcript and Members Only Resources:

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Enoch Sears

Enoch Sears AIA is co-founder of the Design Firm Accelerator, a program that helps architects grow their income and impact through smart marketing. He’s famous for helping architects build a business that gives them more freedom and profit. He’s the founder of the Architect Business Institute and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He also hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.

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