why consult an architect?

The AIA (American Institute of Architects) gives a very good and well thought out description of why someone should consult an architect for their next building project and I’ve posted it under the “about” section on this website.  But I think there is an entire other sector of society that could greatly benefit from the services of an architect and/or designer that would never even think to solicit those services – the typical single family home owner.
What’s so special about the single family home owner that they could benefit so much from an architect’s services?  An architect is trained not just in how to design pretty buildings for the covers of magazines or to be showcased in blockbuster movies, but in the history of architecture and how a building functions; how users function in a building.  The typical single family home these days may have been originally conceived by an architect, but it was not designed for a specific user.  We’re all unique and we can all benefit from the input of a architect/designer who knows us personally and can offer ideas on how best to utilize our space.  This holds true for new homes as well as additions or renovations to an existing home.
I recently drafted plans for a single family addition in which the client already had a plan set in their mind of how they wanted things to go. They even went so far as to hand sketch the floor plan complete with windows, doors and some casework. After speaking with them and finding out, in words, what it is they were wanting to accomplish with this addition (combined with local codes and zoning restrictions) I came up with an alternate plan that better suited their purposes while using less space on the site and keeping the overall architectural style of the home intact.
Had these clients simply went to a contractor and said “please build this for me”, the end product would have been what they originally conceived, but it would not have ultimately served their larger purposes.  By consulting with an architect at the beginning the clients were able to save time, money and ultimately land use on their site.
The moral of our little tale here is, next time you are thinking of either renovating a home or perhaps even building a new one, take the time to at least consult with an architect/designer and get some feedback on options that more specifically suite YOU as the end user. Leaning on the expertise of an architectural professional will always help you be better equipped in making decisions on your next home or renovation project.

container studio – in progress

We’re moving forward with the container studio and it’s turning into an even more interesting design than originally thought.  Designed for a local artist/painter, the studio is designed as (3) 20′-0″ shipping containers, in an “L” configuration (see images below) with a small exterior platform, almost like a porch.  The interior space will be mostly open with space dedicated to display, storage, production and cleaning.  By cutting through the container top, we can increase the head room within the space to about 8′-3″, instead of the measly 7′-6″ that is typical.  By using a standing seam metal roof with a low slope, we can collect rain water at the rear of the studio for use in a shop sink for cleaning.  It also allows for a low profile, which is important since this is a residential neighborhood.
Enjoy the eye candy.  We’re still in development, but this gives you the essential idea.

workin hard

It’s been a long couple of weeks.  First, had a project referred by another architect for a home addition to take a 1,000 sf house and add another 1,000 sf to it, then had a student refer another project to me that I turned around and partnered with the same architect that referred me the addition the very next day.  Then, another client of mine wants to revisit his container studio project.
I’ve just turned in the addition to the clients.  They were very please with the design.  I’ll have a couple model images of that up in the next couple of days, so stay tuned for that eye candy.  The warehouse project is being held up by the planning department (go figure), so now I’m plugging away at the container studio.  Stay tuned for that one as well.
If all keeps going like this and we get more projects in the door, it won’t be long before we’re a full time studio.  Exciting days are ahead, so stay tuned.  And as always, we welcome any and all feedback/criticism on our work, so check out the portfolio and competitions pages and let us know what you think of our work.