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.
Early in 2015 I visited our client at home in Bramhall, Cheshire. We sat around the kitchen table to discuss our clients wishes for their home and what they needed for their project. Now a completed extension, this blog is a review of what we achieved with this project in a small space on a tight budget.
"I needed some professional drawings for a small extension to my kitchen and advice on building regs, etc. I had a rough plan with my initial ideas and someone to build it but needed some more accurate plans that my builder could build from. The house is 300 years old so nothing is straight!"
The planned extension was small needing to fit in a lot of functionality. The brief included:
As this was a small project, not requiring planning permission, of traditional build and our client had a competent builder in place, it was possible for the project to progress with only our sketch design. The client and builder made all decisions on detailed design, although we were available should our support be required during construction. Building regulations were dealt with on notice by the builder.
Although the space was limited we managed to create:
"I really enjoyed our discussions and solutions and everyone was really excited by the plans. The extension took 5 months but it is now finished and we have the final sign off certificate."
If you want to make a massive difference to your life with some home improvements let us know and book your own Home Design Workshop with iarchitect.
"It is gorgeous, really gorgeous and has made a massive difference to our lives. Thank you so much for the design - you did a fab job."
Next week on Thursday 28th April, I'm looking forward to taking part in a lively and interesting debate. We will be discussing the latest developments, innovations and trends in architecture design and BIM, Art and Architecture, as well as forecasting investment opportunities.
If this sounds like your cup of tea then I look forward to meeting you there.
I'd love to hear what you think about the latest developments and innovations in architecture design and BIM, art and architecture or what you hope to be investing in next. Let me know by commenting below.
On the drawing board at the moment is Northenden War Memorial. We are looking at conservation works to the landscape along with improved access.
Here we share with you some images of the memorial - past, present and future.
Northenden War Memorial 1922
This is an artists impression of the war memorial taken from The Stockport Advertiser, April 28th 1922.
Northenden War Memorial mid 20th Century
This photograph is of Durham Light Infantryman, Brereton, blowing the last post during a Remembrance Sunday service, exact date unknown.
Northenden War Memorial 2015
A recent photograph of the memorial following Remembrance Sunday 2015, showing the memorial site in need of a little TLC.
Northenden War Memorial future
An iarchitect sketch of the proposed new level access route, new safe steps and wild flower poppy planting areas. Also proposed are refurbishment works to the crazy paving to level the surface and drain away the puddles.
If you have any old photographs of the Northenden War Memorial we would love to see them. Please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alongside short term help, by donating time and money to those affected by the latest floods, these home improvements will help over the long term, especially if you live upland of flood risk areas:
Although most of us were not directly affected by the terrible floods we have seen recently, it's likely that more of us will be affected by flooding in the future, as the water tables rise. In the short term, even if our own homes are not in need of expensive and exhausting clean up and repair, we are all still likely to be affected indirectly as insurance premiums increase and the cost to the tax payer of flood defences and repair rise. We all need to take action.
What actions will you be taking to stabilise the water table in your area?
“In recent years the hard landscaping around the memorial has become very uneven and the steps have started to collapse. More and more people attend the remembrance services each year and many have restricted mobility so it is important to repair the paving and create a new ramp up to the podium for those in wheelchairs and needing easier access. Especially important now as we build up to 2018 and the centenary of the end of World War 1.” said Stephen Morrison, Secretary of The Northenden Branch of the Royal British Legion.
Helped by the conservation team of construction professionals, Project Architect Jane Leach of iarchitect, Landscape Architect Elaine Cresswell of reShaped, and Quantity Surveyor Fiona Hull of Construction Q, they will research the history of the memorial and design a new ramp to be built in the existing memorial garden. The team are seeking help from the public to see what the memorial looked like when it was built.
If you have any old photographs of The Northenden War Memorial please email them to The Northenden branch of the Royal British Legion: email@example.com
We were challenged by Nick Knowles, presenter of DIY SOS, to share our knowledge when we disagreed with his comments that only very rich people can afford to insulate and make their homes warmer and more energy efficient. This is first in a series of blog posts where we will share effective DIY tips that you can use to improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home or property for free or very cheaply.
If you would like us to help you make your home or property feel warmer and more comfortable and reduce your energy bills contact us. We specialise in eco refurbishing - making existing buildings work better and more efficiently for you. We also design extensions and new builds following passive house principles and a fabric first approach.
The beginning of a New Year is always busy with new projects and resolutions. Starting the year afresh and make it better than the year before.
After a fortnight at home with the family, many homeowners decide that they need to make changes or add more space. Space to host large dinners for a growing family, a spare room for visitors or somewhere to work on all those new years resolutions - perhaps a home gym or project room.
There are lots of things to consider when improving your home. You need to think strategically when deciding what work to have done to make sure you get what you want and need and it's within your budget.
To help you with your decision making here are some tips to consider when deciding how to improve your home.
1. Decide what you need
I often find that through carefully questioning my clients during our first meetings, to understand the bigger picture, I find solutions that they hadn't imagined and that can be much better value for money.
Sometimes a big extension is not the answer to giving you the home you need. Ask yourself the following questions to help identify what you need and how your home can meet this:
2. Set a Budget
It's best to be realistic about money. Once the budget is set make sure that the works are chosen carefully to fit within this budget. Be aware that sometimes spending a little extra in some areas can save you money in the long run. It's not always necessary to carry out all the work at once but it is usually best to have it all designed together so that the final result is a harmonious whole.
When considering how much to spend make sure you include costs for the following:
I recommend getting cost estimates based on sketch designs early on to ensure that the works carried out are in budget and give you the best value. The Home Design Workshop gives you sketch designs that meet your needs and are a good basis to check out practicalities like cost.
To give a finger in the air idea of how much the extra space might cost to build I use a rate of £2k per m2. Although nowhere near as accurate as a quantity surveyors estimate, this calculation helps guide initial decisions on how much space is worked on to suit the budget.
3. Consider build options
How you choose to have your project built can have a huge impact on the cost and speed of the construction and the quality of the end result. Consider how much time you have to devote to the project yourself and what skills you have. Do you want to get hands on and self-build or do you want to hand over the keys and come back to a completed project?
These are some of your build options with pros and cons:
To give you more help with your early decision making I have created the Design Your Home Vision Checklist.
This helps you address key decisions from the start so that you can take your project forward with confidence. You can get that like-new home you've dreamed of!
Click on the button below to get your copy of the checklist.
Design Your Home Vision
The Design Your Home Vision Checklist will help you kickstart your home improvements.
Download yours with the button below to get your home project off to a great start:
Get started with the free Design Your Home Vision checklist.
Jane Leach, principal architect at i-architect