The Architecture Lobby Cooperative Network group began meeting in 2018 (as Socializing Small Firms) to determine the viability of coops for small architectural firms. The decision to concentrate on small firms was strategic – harder to convince large corporate firms to go this route – and ideological – the survival of small firms depended on this. The work has been loosely divided into three research parts, somewhat related to chronology.
The first body of research concentrated on the history of cooperatives, their types, extra-architectural models, and the role coops can play in a larger social revolution. That work is summarized in the “Socializing Practice: From Small Firms to Cooperative Models of Organization” chapter of Spatial Practices Modes of Action and Engagement in the City, edited by Melanie Dodd.
Cooperativizing Small Firms
The next research was architecture specific and examined the architecturally applicable coop constructs – coops and coop networks; the required incorporation strategies – more precisely. This led to the article, “Cooperativizing Small Firms” published in Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice, edited by Bryony Roberts as well as a working document outlining the legal status of cooperatives in the US.
Template for a Cooperative Network of Small Architecture Practices
The third research phase, ending now, is more practical still, especially with regard to coop networks. It examines the specific way in which architectural cooperative networks can pick up the necessary challenges of practice in today’s economy and identifies existing architectural coop models. This has yielded a short article in The Architect’s Newspaper and a “Template for a Cooperative Network of Small Architecture Practices”, published on MAS Context.
The fourth phase – post-research, is implementation. We are starting the process of gathering together potential small firms in Boston and Los Angeles, with the Lobby acting as the initial coop board. You can join this next phase by getting in touch!