Great question. We’re glad you asked!
There are a lot of common misconceptions out there about what architects do, and a general lack of knowledge about what role they play in the building process. Below are 3 of those misconceptions and the refreshing realities.
MISCONCEPTION #1: Working with an architect is intimidating because I don’t know anything about design.
REALITY: Architects are trained educators and collaborators. We give clients as much knowledge as they need to understand the purposes behind the questions we ask, and then we take the answers seriously. In general, these questions are centered on lifestyle as it relates to design. A simple example of this in a home is when we ask about the daily routine to help determine where a bathroom should be located. A simple example for business is asking about office culture to determine whether office spaces should be enclosed or open.
MISCONCEPTION #2: Once an architect has drawn a building and its blueprints, her role is done and a contractor takes over to build it.
REALITY: Architects are involved in the building process from start to finish. As project consultants, we guide clients through interactions with the local code authority, advise on the inclusion of outside consultants if necessary (regarding thermal efficiency, safety, environmental impact, etc.) and make adjustments as needed. The creative process doesn’t stop with the initial design. Revisions are often necessary due to unforeseen limitations, such as an increase in the cost of planned materials that would cause the project to unreasonably exceed the budget. There are always options to consider when projects hit a snag. A good architect will remain responsive to these challenges until the agreed upon goal is met.
MISCONCEPTION 3#: I don’t really need an architect because I’m not looking for anything “fancy.”
REALITY: As we’ve touched on in the first two misconceptions, architecture is about far more than aesthetics. Architects ensure that the physical space is logical (for contrast, think doors that open the wrong way); safe (think of children playing too close to a body of water); comfortable (think of your knees hitting the opposite wall while using the bathroom); and, yes, attractive (think too much fluorescent light!). The above are examples of issues you would hope a general contractor would address, but both the mindset and training are often very different for architects. You would be surprised what some contractors overlook as their teams focus on implementing design without fully understanding the values the design is based on.
If you are considering a project and simply want to know more about what to expect from working with an architect, we hope you’ll feel comfortable reaching out to us to discuss it. We love to talk about your dreams and how we can help make them a reality!