Finding an architect can be perilous business, and given the high-stakes nature of architecture in general it is extremely important that (even before you start looking for an architect) you learn what to look for in an architect. Now, the American Institute of New York architects (AIA) has already compiled a list of twenty questions you should ask any prospective architect before you consider employing him/her to complete your project.
however, whilst the list is extremely helpful, (and should probably be the first thing you read in preparation for your architect hunt) it isn’t all inclusive. With this in mind, here are some further tips that might be of use to you in your search.
1. Visit the architect’s office. Your architect will probably be inclined to work from a space they find visually pleasing. Any initial meeting will likely take place at the planned work site, but consider scheduling a follow up at their office before finalising any deals.
2. A disorganized architect’s office might be a red flag. If you find the office to be a complete mess, it might indicate a general lack of organisational skill. Having lots of models and sketches around the office doesn’t necessarily count as they can be kept dotted around a workspace to promote creativity. However, documents and other project information should really be filed away properly.
3. Ask your architect which 3D software they’re using. Any good architect should be using a piece of software called “BIM” (Building Information Model) to design their buildings. BIM helps architects to design their projects entirely in three dimensions and is especially helpful in maintaining uniform sizes in doors and windows. As such it is a great help in avoiding errors in the initial design.
5. Know your architect. This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you’re trying to hire an architect from a firm that employs several then it’s crucial that you meet with the very person you’re about to hire. Not every architect has the same level of know-how and creative ability, and it’s essential that you feel safe in the knowledge that your architect shares your vision for the project.
6. Try to understand some of their previous drawings. Architect’s drawings can be very difficult to understand if you’ve never had to read them before. However, a good architect should be able to present their ideas in design-form that (after they have been fully explained to you) make complete sense. If this is not the case, the architect may either not be capable of communicating very well, or else not be producing particularly good drawings in the first place.
As we mentioned earlier, time spent looking for the right architect is not time wasted. In fact, the chances are whatever time you spend in your search will save countless hours later when your project commences- be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort and the results will speak for themselves. Happy hunting!