How to Select the Architect that’s Right for You

Architects are trained to solve problems in creative ways. With their broad knowledge of design and construction, they can show you alternatives and options you might never think of on your own. But first, you have to locate the architect that is right for you.

When searching for an architect, get referrals from family, neighbors or friends that may have worked with architects. You should also check the Yellow Pages of your local phonebook and review awards programs. Start building a list of potential architects. Find out who designed projects in your community that you like. Call each firm on your list. Describe your project and ask if they are available to take on your work. If they are, request literature or a website address outlining the firm’s qualifications and experience. If the office is unable to handle your project, ask if they can suggest another firm.

During your selection process, examine the firm’s portfolio and the breadth of experience and qualifications of the firm.The materials you receive from interested firms might include a letter of interest, brochures, a website, fact sheets, photos of past work, and biographical material about key personnel. Look beyond the style of the brochure to determine which firms have the right experience and capabilities for your project. At this point, you should be able to narrow your list to two or three architects you will interview.

Spend some time with potential architects. Check for compatible personalities, styles of work, and influences. You should always choose an architect whose philosophy mirrors your own. Remember, you will be working with the architect for a long time. You want someone with whom you feel comfortable.

Each architect has his or her own style, approach to design, and methods of work. So it’s important to find an architect who understands your style and needs. If you have already worked with a particular architect and feel comfortable, it makes sense to call him or her again. If not, you’ll have to do a little work. Each architect has different areas of expertise, and some have specific experience in unusual types of construction. Ultimately, you will choose the architect whom you trust and feel is right for your project. The right architect will be the one who can provide the judgment, technical expertise, and creative skills to help you realize a project that fits your practical needs as well as your dreams.