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How did you choose an architect?

by rob moehle last modified Feb 18, 2006 09:54 AM
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How did you choose an architect?

Posted by rob moehle at February 18. 2006

Hoping some of you fellow design enthusiast can help me in my decision to hire an architect? How much of the decision was a gut feeling/emotional kind of connection? or were you more empirical?

I find myself liking many different architects and their designs, but I can never say that I like everything they have done. I understand there is no way I will like every design of an architect due to the natural constraints of the locations, client desires, etc... My guess is that some of y'all out there have expereinced this challenge and I am hoping you can help.

One way that I have come to narrow the selection process is to identify architects who have worked on the scale of my lot location. You see, it seems easy to find architects who have built 5,000+ sq ft, unlimited budget, cliff side homes, but to find one that has built something unique on a 45x130 lot in east austin is another story.

Any suggestions for other architects to consider outside of the obvious choice of KRDB who seems to have many examples of this kind of work.

I have talked to Kevin Stewart because I love his design for his single story Agave home and really like him as well.

Thanks in advance.

Re: How did you choose an architect?

Posted by Karen Pittman at February 18. 2006

Another reason you won't like everything an architect has designed is that every custom home is a collaboration between the designer and the client. I would be very suspicious of an architect that has a single consistent style -- maybe they aren't as responsive to the desires and needs of their customers as they ought to be!

There's an earlier thread in this forum, Austin architect feedback, with a list of firms that someone else was considering, many of whom have built smaller projects. You should also talk to Mark Meyer, eamesdaedalus on this forum.

Good luck, and have fun!

Re: How did you choose an architect?

Posted by Mark Meyer at February 18. 2006

KP is right, the design process is a collaboration between the client, the designer/architect, and invariably the builder (unless you go the design/build route) and since that is the case you really want to base your decision on the personal relationship you think you can develop with that person. Desiging a house is a very intimate process and you need to find some one that you will feel comfortable discussing the way in which you live or would like to live. You also need to find someone that gets what it is you are wanting to do and is willing to work within your constraints (site, budget, time,) and maybe also to stretch your boundaries and challenge your assumptions a bit.

The only way to figure any of this out is to get some good face-time with your short-list designers/architects and discuss YOUR project. Invariably by doing that you will find that the prospective designer/architect will be able to come back to you with examples of their work that address some of your issues.

For what it is worth MOST of us in the creative fields of residential design offer similar services at similar price points. You can expect to budget 8%- 12% for a full set of design services which would include Schematic Design, Design Deveolpment, Contract Documents (the final drawings), and modest Contract Administration. Additional services beyond that general scope would be either negotiatd or based on an hourly fee schedule. This is all relatively typical of the industry.

Mark Meyer

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