Local Architect Named Finalist in Architecture Business Plan Competition
May 5, 2016: Courtney Brinegar is a Houston, Texas based architect and a finalist in Charrette Venture Group’s Architecture Business Plan Competition. She is proposing a non-profit architect-as-developer practice in hopes of using the power of design to address issues that might otherwise be overlooked. Her mission is to demonstrate the power of design and encourage architects to inform the public how well-designed buildings and sites can have huge impact on communities and promote healthy, positive behaviors.
Brinegar has a degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M, and later received her Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan. Much of her course work related to social sustainability, development in underserved areas in the US and in underdeveloped countries.
Through study abroad trips to Senegal and Brazil, Brinegar has seen firsthand how vital community development and social sustainability are. After graduating, she began working at a large corporate firm and did volunteer work on the side; but that wasn't enough. "Still my passions for community development and social sustainability weren’t really incorporated into my day-to-day job, so I feel the best way to kind of find your niche in the world is to create it."
So she did exactly that and ADD+Venture was born. "I’m learning that [a] career isn’t necessarily what you’re doing in your day-to-day job, it can be what you build up on the side. That’s something I’ve really learned more in the past year or two. I thought a career was just climbing the ladder at work, but it can be beyond that. Being creative with your career path should really be emphasized in schools."
Participating in the Charrette Venture Group’s Architecture Business Plan Competition has pushed Brinegar out of her comfort zone and helped her grow as an entrepreneur, "As a trained architect, in my education we had professional planning classes, so I know the basics but never custom to what I wanted to do. Working through that and starting to think about financials… forces you to focus on the realities of putting together a business plan. She continued, "It's helping me grow."
According to Matt Ostanik, Founder of Charrette Venture Group and organizer of the Architecture Business Plan Competition: “In the technology world, there is an overwhelming supply of resources to help new and growing companies. There are constant business plan competitions, pitch sessions, incubator programs, mentor circles, research, etc. etc. However, in the design space there is very little to aid for these entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal of Charrette Venture Group is to serve as an investment firm that helps growing design firms.”
Brinegar plans to use her personal growth to build, grow, and repair communities through ADD+Venture.
About Architecture Business Plan Competition: The Architecture Business Plan Competition is an annual event organized by Charrette Venture Group that recognizes entrepreneurial architects that have developed a thoughtful plan for fulfilling their dreams. The competition is open to registered Architects in the United States and Canada who are considering starting a design firm, or who have started a firm in the past ten years. In 2016, the winners of the 3rd annual event will receive more than $15,000 in cash and prizes. Final presentations and judging for the 2016 Architecture Business Plan Competition will take place May 18th and 19th in Philadelphia.
About ADD+Venture: ADD+Venture is the Houston, Texas-base non-profit, architect-as-developer practice that Courtney Brinegar, AIA is developing to provide creative services focused on sustainable and socially-responsible development in Houston’s urban, food desert environments.
ADD+Venture will serve the market where underserved communities are in need of development. Areas that for-profit entities avoid for lack of immediate financial benefit and the need to reach high levels of profit to grow as a sustainable business.
ADD+Venture’s mission is to purchase existing properties to create developments that unify neighborhoods, celebrate local talents and businesses, and bring needed resources to turn dilapidated areas into thriving communities without gentrification.
You can watch ADD+Venture’s progress on Instagram by following @_ADDVenture