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5 Rules to choose an Architect!

Many many times, we all heard about strange emails and phone calls we might get from potential clients, while they’re on their hunt process. People who asks for prices immediately after a nice greeting, those who start to influence the conversation to see if you lower prices and those cocky bastards who think they are making you a favor, when they call and out of the blue and decide you’ll be their architect. Most of times, (more from rude people), without the session of some sort of “foreplay” when architect and client are trying to understand if they are a good fit for both sides.

I will give five rules, everyone should think about, before starting to spam all Architecture Studios nearby their home areas or to make cold calls.
Think with me, the Architect, female or male is that person you’ll spend a good amount of time together, thinking and discussing solutions to create the best space for you.  

1. Choose the Studio with the Style you identify most with

We know money is a priority, i mean Budget, however, do not follow on trap to go a particular Studio just for the money. Just because they´re cheaper than the other down the road. Architects do have a particular style and their offices tend to follow that language indeed, for that reason is pointless to love classicism and choose a modernist office. Naaaaaa!! No Good! You must search, analyze and see if you find an Office with previous works that translates your vision, style and sense of space. If not, at the end is just a time consuming for both parts and there’s the danger to not finish the project caused by the lack of understand.  Go for the one that have a Design that resembles most with you.

2. First impression

After your first call or meeting if you didn’t connect with the Architect and you felt no Chemistry at all, better abandon that boat and go looking for another one. Basically, it’s like a date… sort of! You go the Office to know the person in question, but sometimes can happen people are in totally different alignments with their life’s and you don’t feel an instant connection when explaining your Design ideas. Easy, move forward, be sincere and say you preferred to work with another person. Better to clear up things, right at the beginning. Healthy relation and trust are like a fuel between Client and Architect success.

3. Design ideas

Sometimes, it’s not very common nowadays, but sometimes someone reaches an Architect and in the middle of the conversation we understand that person don’t have any idea about the outcome and Design result. It’s like an Eunuch! If you’re the type of client that doesn’t have a stablished style yet, search for a Studio that most Design ideas would work with you and explain why. Sometimes for us is far more difficult a client with no style than a stablished one. Search, look, explore, see their websites, portfolios, social media, stalk them (noooo not this one :D) whatever you need just to perceive if the intentions behind the Design solution is something that makes sense for you.

4. Tailored solutions

An Architect with the capacity to tailor every client needs, it’s the person that will seat with you and the outcome of that project, is nothing more than a solution tailored for you. What I want to say with this is, whenever you see a Portfolio and is completely visible that all the Design had a purpose and a meaning behind it, shows the Architect commitment. Don’t confuse commitment with obligation! Two different countries… Explain what’s your budget and program to perceive if the Architect is realistic about your needs, because if he is, soon you start to get inside the La La Land, you’ll feel a hard push down to the earth. Many offices have their own style, but you’ll understand solutions are not repeated and, only make sense for that specific client. It’s not the type of project you grab and insert in another plot like a Lego puzzle. The Design itself is for you!

5. Budget

When you’re out there looking for an Architect….let’s Restart! Before you go for your hunting to understand what Studio you want to work with, be serious about your money, what you can pay for the Design process, how much do you have for construction. Don’t go out and try to recreate a Marrakech free market by shaking your money and asking loudly who wants some. This is a tiny universe, Architects know each other, most of times it’s like soccer rumors, where people say we hate each other, we can’t stand X or Y person and in reality, we’re super friends.
Be real about what you can get. Study very well your financial situation. Understand that 95% of times in construction there’s some extra costs no one was expecting, with tiny things that in the end all together makes an expense. After choosing an Office to Design your project and after the Architect gives you a quotation with the hour rate, sit at home, again, and analyze if you do have conditions to pay for it.
Don’t choose that trendy Studio that probably scaled recently due to the amount of projects, or because, appears on magazines and in some way you’ll love to work with them, but you’re not financially prepared for it. From the moment you open a company you’re loosing money, month by month. Don’t expect people to work almost for free just to please you! You don’t go inside an Armani shop and expect to buy a piece of cloth, or a fancy suit at the price of H&M or ZARA.
Same applies here!

image credits © seventyfourimages

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Hello i'm a Lisbon based Architect, interested in creative content, currently dedicated to build up my Architecture Studio.

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