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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



In today’s world, architects are facing a problem of diminished control over the built environment. Across the industry, architects are forfeiting influence to developers, contractors, and lawyers due to increased concerns about innumerable risks. Architecture, for the most part, is dependent on other professions to create opportunities, and thus is not directly responsible for positive change. For architecture to accrue influence on how our built environment evolves into the future, it must understand and take a larger role within the real estate development process. The problem this thesis presents is that the position of architecture within this economics dominated power structure limits architects’ agency to affect a property’s use or influence its future use. The research delves into the standard development model, the real estate development process, design and construction, and operations of real estate practices in order to identify opportunities for architecture to engage in and enhance the process.

This thesis proposes to understand a development process in Northampton, Massachusetts. It will illustrate that the opportunities and advantages of architect practicing as a developer to design and execute projects in the real world. Thus, for the research to be implemented through design, the chosen site includes several opportunities for a socially focused mixed-use development which responds well with the site and the surrounding context of Northampton.


First Advisor

Robert Williams

Included in

Architecture Commons