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Simple schematic drawings

 

 

Refining the designs

 

  

Set of final drawings

Process

I’m often asked by prospective clients about my working process and how a design moves from concept to completion.

 

Although sometimes I am hired simply to do an hour or two of brainstorming, usually the first step for me and most other architects is to meet the client and see the site where the project will be built.  During this meeting, I learn about the scope of the proposed work, I ask questions, and gather enough information so that I can write a proposal describing what I feel the architectural services should be and what I expect the range of my fee will be.  Usually there is no charge for this initial visit; it’s part of my cost of doing business.

 

After understanding all applicable zoning requirements and obtaining or producing measured drawings and photos of the existing conditions, I make simple schematic drawings showing alternative design ideas, and sometimes a study model.  After discussing these and refining the designs (which may take place over the course of a few meetings), a design approach is chosen.  This is developed into a set of drawings and outline specifications, often with the input of a structural engineer or other consultants, for bidders and local officials.  Sometimes a town approval process is required; sometimes a project can be drawn up and go directly to a contractor.

 

Once a bid is awarded to a contractor, I provide services as needed during the construction phase.  Sometimes clients prefer weekly or bi-weekly job meetings followed up by my notes indicating actions required and by whom. Sometimes construction is managed by the client and I get a phone call a year later asking if I’d like to come by and see the finished project and take pictures for my portfolio.  Usually my services during construction fall somewhere in between.

 

There are many other modes of working: I may design a project with a contractor already on board; I may collaborate with colleagues on larger jobs; I may be asked just to provide a variety of conceptual approaches which the client contemplates for a while.  I believe in listening and then advising, and providing only the services the project needs.