The Importance of an Architect and Good Design Cannot Be ForgottenBy Lou Manfredini
My last entry talked about the importance of the builder that you choose, and as I was writing it, I could see the hair on the backs of architects’ necks rising up.
Well, as a builder myself, of course I am going to put my profession first. But truth be told, you do need a good design, and many of the same qualities and traits you should look for in a builder hold true when choosing an architect, as well.
Over the years, I have worked with many different architects, and one big difference is in their discipline. Remodeling and new construction design are very different.
For your remodeling project, you need an architect who specializes in renovation. The best room addition, kitchen or bath should look like it has always been there — from a design standpoint and in terms of the fit and finish your builder creates. When interviewing potential designers, it’s very important to understand their philosophies on design, to see examples of their work and, most importantly, to make sure you feel they are listening to your needs.
I have been on many projects where the whole thing started off poorly, and as we built what was drawn, the client would see it and hate it. Then we as builders would get involved, and many times there can be an adversarial tone between us and the architects. At that point, no one wins, so it is a good idea to be as open as possible. Remember, though, that changing your design and drawings a few times costs money. It is much easier to do on paper rather than once building begins.
A great place to start looking for an architect in your area is the American Institute of Architects. There you will find a list of members in good standing to interview. You can also talk to friends or even stop by a project going on in your neighborhood that you like and ask who designed it.