How we work with clients

Traditionally the architectural design process is comprised of several phases throughout which the design evolves in increasing detail. Marking the completion of each distinct phase, the owner reviews and approves the design so that it may be taken to the next level, moving progressively forward. As each project and client is unique, the design process itself is tailored to address the different needs of each situation. Explore the sections below for more specific information on each phase of the design process.

PRE-DESIGN

Prior to any actual design work, the architect’s job is to gather information in order to define the “problem” at hand.
In an initial meeting, I listen carefully to the needs of my Client and begin to establish a program, which lists each space the design will incorporate.
I visit the site in order to observe unique characteristics, opportunities, and/or challenges which the landscape (or streetscape) may have to offer.
Renovations, restorations and additions often require that the existing building be documented in a set of “As-Built” drawings, which are a necessary reference point upon which the design will be built.

CONCEPT SCHEMATIC

Once the problem has been defined, the creative work begins… In the course of my design process, Conceptual and Schematic design are closely linked and most often approached in one integral Conceptual/Schematic design phase.
The design is conceived -perhaps in its most pure form- during the conceptual design phase. My intent is to find a solution that merges the pragmatic with the artistic, into a practical and innovative response. During conceptual design the focus is upon the forest, not the trees- so to speak.
As the design concept is fleshed out into three dimensions, the schematic design is born.
Schematic drawings are the result of an intense and reciprocal process of problem-solving. Drawn with a loose hand, schematic design drawings illustrate attributes such as the proposed building form and architectural style.
Integral to my Schematic Design drawings are key components to the use of each space- such as furnishings, fixtures and equipment as the size of the building becomes established.
Client feedback is important during this stage as the design unfolds. Once my Client is satisfied that the design meets the program requirements and approves of the character of the design, we proceed to the next phase.

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

During design development, the schematic design is crystallized as structural, mechanical, and electrical systems are integrated.
Passive design strategies are developed in more depth, major building materials are identified for both the interior and exterior, and window sizes are specified.
The design is developed in depth through building sections illustrating the relationship between spaces. Interior elevations illustrate the architectural character of the space.
Design Development drawings are suitable for rough pricing by a contractor, though Construction Documents are recommended for comparable pricing in bidding a job to various contractors.

DESIGN BUILD

Having a contractor onboard early in the design process offers the opportunity for a design/build approach to many projects.
A collaborative approach between the architect and contractor can often streamline the design process, eliminating the need for extremely detailed drawings.
As each project is entirely unique, a design/build approach is customized to meet the needs of each project, usually with an emphasis on the front end of the design process.
Feedback from the building perspective during the design process is valuable to the owner/architect team in making decisions about the building, particularly where cost/benefit is to be considered.

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS

Construction documents are the product of a complete design process. These drawings communicate the technical information required to construct the building as designed, as well as provide the basis upon which the contract between the owner and builder is formed.
All necessary building dimensions are documented; construction detail drawings illustrate both typical and atypical building features and transitions; custom carpentry elevations and detailing; finish materials, doors, plumbing fixtures and light fixtures are specified and located on the drawings.
A full set of construction documents typically includes a site plan as well as structural and mechanical engineering sheets. The information contained in the construction documents clearly defines the project, allowing for competitive bidding or a fixed price contract.

CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION

On behalf of the Owner, the Architect’s role during construction administration is to ensure that the building is constructed according to the design specifications, upon which the contract for construction is based.
During this phase, I work collaboratively with the contractor and various tradespeople to address any unforeseen challenges during the construction. The objective is to ensure the design intent is articulated throughout the project.
Engaging the Architect during this final step of the process can make or break a great design.