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Guide to Choosing an Architect

Last Updated Oct 28, 2013 · Written by Rob Schneider

The process of choosing an architect begins like choosing any other professional: you have to know what needs to be done. An architect can't provide you with meaningful feedback until they know the scope and parameters of the project. For this, they will need a brief.

Preparing a Brief

The first step in preparing a brief is a purely practical one. You must specify your basic requirements in as much detail as possible. Aside from "3 bedrooms, 3 baths", what else do you need? For example:
  • Do you need a private study or home office?
  • Do the living and dining areas need to be designed to double as entertainment areas?
  • If you have children, how old are they? This will help the architect design the room layouts to accommodate their needs as they grow.
  • Do you want your living room to open out on to a patio or pergola?
No doubt you'll have many such practical details to consider. Once you feel you've covered the basic requirements, it's time to move on to step two -- design:
  • Do you want a traditional style home?
  • Do you like the modern minimalist look?
  • Do you like modern, but not minimalist?
  • Is there a period style you expecially like?
You may want to have a look at the house exterior designs on the photo pages and create an inspiration board. Giving architects visual images of your preferred designs can help them conceptualise a design for your home.

Lastly, consider aesthetics. Whilst wall colours, furnishings, interior decor and other details are jobs for interior designers, they can give an architect a feeling for your aesthetic tastes.

Choosing an Architect

Ultimately, you won't know which architect is right for you until you've met them face-to-face. It's very important to feel you have "connected" with your architect and feel they understand your brief and even share your enthusiasm for the project. Before you reach that stage though, reviewing a variety of their portfolios will allow you to select an architect you think most likely to be the best match for you.
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