Architect and Developer: The Hybrid Career Concept

Thursday, February 24, 2022

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Atlanta has an outsized history with the phenomenon of “architect as developer,” most notably with the legacy and influence of John Portman, FAIA. The concept allows the designer to pursue the fullest realization of their vision, without the (sometimes) disruptive influence of the contractor, owner, developer, or overseas investment fund on the project’s impact. Many Georgia architects have followed the path trod by Portman, although maybe not quite as visible or loudly. In 2022, interest in architects finding new career space in the intersection of architecture and development is stronger than ever and worth deeper consideration. 

Join AIA Atlanta for a panel discussion between three emerging professionals who have made that leap from a traditional firm career to private developer and are now harnessing their skills and relationships to influence and manage design-first development projects across the Southeast. The panel will be moderated by Ken Gwinner, AIA, owner of Advent Associates and a principal in Urban Realty Partners, whose firm has been successful in this space for many years.

This event is free to attend and light refreshments will be provided. For those who cannot attend in-person, an on-demand video will be available at a later date.


Ken Gwinner, AIA
Urban Realty Partners


Desmond Johnson, AIA
Middle Street Partners

Jessika Nelson, Assoc. AIA
Mill Creek Residential Trust

Robert Woodhurst, IV, AIA
Post Loyal Architecture Industrial Design


Parking for the Bill Moore Student Success Center, at $2/hour, is available in the Visitor Area 1 parking lot at 176 North Avenue NW, Atlanta, GA. For ease and safety, please use the pedestrian sky bridge to cross over North Avenue from the top level of Visitor Area 1.

Safety protocols

  • All attendees must be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test within 72 hours of the event.
  • Masks are mandatory for all guests when indoors unless they are actively eating or drinking.
  • Please follow CDC guidance and stay home if you are not feeling well.
  • Protocols are subject to change

Date and time

Thursday, February 24, 2022
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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Georgia Tech Success Center, President Suite B
225 North Avenue NW
Atlanta, Georgia, 30332