…a thought on selecting an architect

Just like anything else in life, there are a lot of different architects out there.  Choose the one that’s right for you

So there’s an old saying that goes something like this…’Life’s too short to XXXX (drink bad beer/wine/coffee, worry about stupid things, etc.)’.  To me, this phrase has always been about making choices based on how much they will enrich your life.  Try not to do something ‘just because’, do it because it really enhances the quality of your life, work, and play.

I have had several people ask me how I would go about selecting an architect.  One of the first things that I always tell them is that I would select someone that I like and can trust. Over the course of my career, I have run into a wide range of people that share my title of ‘architect’.  And, just like beer, wine, coffee, and cheese, they are all over the map in terms of quality, cost, and flavor.

There are a lot of things that need to be considered when looking for an architect. Capability, capacity, and cost of services are all legitimate standards for which to judge a selection.  You should, of course, select an architect that is qualified to do the project that you are setting out to do. With that said, your relationship with an architect will be one of the more important factors in getting the best results out of any project.

An architect that is a true advocate for you will go well beyond the standard call of duty when it comes to getting you what you want on a project. The ‘life is too short…’ adage applies here in terms of payback on investment. In the case of an architectural or interiors project that may mean spending more at the beginning to get better results in the end.

Tumu has had a couple of clients that have come to us to fix the unfortunate work of another design team.  In these instances, we’ve either had to spend a lot of time correcting errors or restart the project from the beginning to get the results that the client wanted. And while this most certainly incurred extra costs on the design side, it would have paled in comparison to the cost of proceeding into construction with a bad design or poor documentation.

An Architect and design teams’ fees are not an insignificant portion of the overall cost of the project. However, the delta between the cost of an exceptional Architect and a mediocre one is usually pretty minor when compared to the cost of construction. Pair that with the time and expense required to make changes in the field (during construction) and you can quickly see my point.   Get a high-quality team that you trust and I can almost guarantee that it will save you money during construction and yield superior results.

Selecting an architect should really be about finding someone to share your dream with. It doesn’t matter if you’re a bachelorette, a family, a corporation, or a city, you will get the best results from any project when you can maintain an open, honest rapport with your architect. When an Architect and Client can dream together on a project, great things can happen.