How Contractors and Architects Build Positive, Profitable Partnerships with Marilyn Moedinger, AIA | Ep. 196

A construction contractor’s relationships with project partners make or break a project

You want to make money but your relationship with your partners can hinder this.

Without the right mindset, architects and contractors can have a toxic relationship that leads to a “cash-burning” project.

That’s the bad news.

The good news?

There is a unique formula to work with your partners to make your projects run smoothly (without frustrations).

In this episode, I chat with Marilyn Moedinger, founding principal of Runcible Studios.

You will discover the best way to build relationships with your project partners so that everyone involved in the project makes money.

Listen now:

Highlights Include:

  • The “Dumb Labor” technique to master construction as an architect (4:05)
  • The “BS sniff” test for identifying when someone is lying to you on the job before it costs you money (9:55)
  • One key ingredient for overcoming “suspicion” with your partners and unlocking a smooth working relationship (20:35)
  • Why A Players never struggle finding and closing clients (and how to use this secret even if you’re not an A Player) (27:15)
  • The “informed owner” technique to avoid disasters in internal relationships (28:15)
  • Why most project relationships fail right at the start (and what you can do to avoid this) (31:15)
  • Two “Relationship Ingredients” that gets you reoccurring clients and more money in your pocket (32:45)


Learn More about Marilyn Moedinger:

Marilyn is the founding principal of Runcible Studios. Like the runcible spoon, she is happiest operating at the seams between practicality and whimsy, utility and beauty, the esoteric and the mundane. Deeply passionate about the capacity for design to affect positive change in the world, Marilyn’s interest in all aspects of housing, the connections between urban and rural life, the construction process, justice in the built environment, and the overlaps among disciplines, methodologies, and practices fuels Runcible Studios’ mission to be nimble, rigorous, curious, fun, and meaningful.

An adjunct professor for over 10 years, she has taught design studios, construction detailing, building science, theory, and design-build/community engagement courses at Boston Architectural College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Northeastern University. She has lectured on her research and/or been a guest critic at University of Virginia, UC Berkeley, Harvard GSD, Elon University, Savannah College of Art and Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and University of Cincinnati, as well as various architecture and design firms in Boston and nationally. She previously practiced architecture at Utile, Inc. in Boston, and worked as a construction project manager, contractor, and estimator in Charlottesville, VA. She was the Director of Practice Instruction and Community Engagement Projects at the BAC, where she directed nearly 80 student-led community and design/build projects for Boston area non-profits.

She is currently serving as Chair of the Advisory Board for Northeastern University’s NuLawLab, and as a facilitator for the Entrepreneur Architect Academy. Previously, she has been a weekly volunteer at MSPCA Boston Adoption Center, a founding member of the Productive Collective, and an inaugural member of the UVA Young Alumni Council.

She earned a BS in Architecture, BA in History, and an M.Arch from University of Virginia, where she won several awards for her teaching and academic work, including for her thesis, “A Pickup Truck Prototype: Affordable, Panelized Housing in Appalachia.” Marilyn was also the 2010 recipient of the SOM Prize. [View her book here.]

Marilyn is licensed in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Maine

Click here to contact Marilyn.