Part 1: Which Architect?
This is the first part of a series looking at working with an architect throughout a project. I'm going to give you my top tips for how you can get the best from your architect.
I often get asked for advice on how to choose an architect. There are so many factors to consider and all architects are different, so how do you choose the one that will suit you? This post gives you my top 5 things to consider when selecting the architect who will turn your dreams into reality.
1. Is an architect really what you need?
Obviously as an architect I'm a little biased here and can see benefits for architects to be involved in all types of design work! However, there are often other designers or construction professionals who might be better suited for the particular type of work that you are looking at having done. Here are some examples where you would choose another building professional over an architect:
2. What kind of architect do you want?
Architects have similar training so develop ways of thinking that they tend to have in common, however, we are all human each with our own biases and idiosyncrasies. I believe that the most important thing about architecture is creating spaces for the people who are going to use it. For me people's enjoyment, comfort and ease of use comes first. Some other common primary drivers for architects are:
Consider which kind of architecture most moves you and discuss this with the architects you are considering. Ask which buildings they love and why to get an understanding of the aspects of architecture which are their primary drivers.
3. How involved do you want your architect to be?
Architects work in different ways and some will do the initial design and pass the rest of the project onto a team in their office, possibly outsourcing some work, while others deal with every aspect of a project themselves, or maintain a close eye on work done by an assistant or junior architect working alongside them. Ask your architect how they work and who works with them.
4. What have they done before?
An architects portfolio can show you what types of project they have experience of and areas of specialisation. All architects work to brief and within budgeting, legal and technological restraints so the designs may not show all that your architect is capable of in design terms, but they should give you some idea. Ask your architect what it is about the designs they are showing you that they are most pleased with and conversely what would they change about the designs if given the freedom.
5. Do you feel relaxed, comfortable and confident with your potential architect?
You're putting a lot of faith into your architect who is going to interpret your needs and desires, creating a life-size three dimensional semi-permanent representation of these that will cost a fair amount of money to build. It's probably best that you feel some kind of connection and that your architect “gets” you, as a common understanding is going to be key to delivering a built result that will suit you.
If you'd like to see if iarchitect is your best fit to design your project give us a call.
Has this been helpful? What criteria will you use to select your architect? Comment below.
Jane Leach, principal architect at i-architect