Why Should I Use an Architect?
Ever wondered exactly what you should expect a good architect to bring to your project? Read on...
…make the best of a small space
Small projects, such as this compact flat, are often the ones that will really benefit from an architect’s design ideas. They will be able to come up with some clever tricks to make it appear bigger, or help the space work more efficiently by using it for more than one purpose.
In this studio flat, for example, the designer has concealed a wall bed and hidden a full-width cupboard containing a tiny home office behind mirrored doors to visually enlarge the room, as well as hiding masses of storage (see next image).
Additionally, an architect is trained to look at the property overall and how it works, so even if your goal is just to enlarge the kitchen, they will assess the home as a whole. This doesn’t mean they will suggest you redesign everything; it’s more that they ensure you’re happy in your property, and they can provide solutions to other day-to-day issues you may have.
The most fun part of a project is always the initial concept, where ideas are not yet bound by the budget and other restrictions.
Your architect will take you on a creative journey through different suggestions and views on how best to configure your space, while keeping in mind your requirements and aspirations.
It’s often through this chatty, ‘the sky’s the limit’ open discussion that ideas you may not have considered will emerge. You may even surprise yourself with the conclusions you come up with as a result of talking to a professional.
Architects who use our project management software, Houzz Pro, will have access to a number of tools that can help you explore ideas together, such as moodboards, 3D floor plans, and an augmented reality Walkthrough tool.
If you are fortunate enough to be building a home from the ground up, it all starts with the location. An architect will not only design your dream home, but take into consideration factors including access and views – both from and on to the new building. And, as you’ll know, a good location can greatly improve a home’s value.
If you have a terraced house and are planning an extension, a similar process is still useful. An architect can advise you on the benefits of where, precisely, it would be most beneficial to plan your extension, where to position windows and other details, and so on.
There’s a Latin phrase – genius loci – that means ‘the essence of a place’. It describes the intangible, and an architect can help to enhance how a new building, extension or alteration should feel.
For example, here the architect has clearly captured the genius loci and used his or her practical experience to create this building, which is at one with the ground. In contrast, it could have been built with more traditional-looking solid walls, windows and a basic roof, which would not have embodied the natural soul of this environment.
What do your neighbouring properties look like and how can you best make your building fit within its context? The two houses here are not identical buildings, but there are many similarities.
An architect will establish your requirements, design the house, extension or renovation and, in order to gain permissions and also to make it sit well within its natural surroundings, will help to give it an identity of its own. Often, the best compliment a building can be given is from passers-by saying, “It looks as if it’s always been here.”
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Architects are great at creating stylish buildings, not just from the outside, but the inside, too. Everyone has their own style, or instinctively knows what kind of ‘look’ they want. An architect, however, can help you with implementing your ideas and combining different (potentially clashing) styles.
This refers to both the exterior and interior of a building, as architects are also trained to be interior designers. For instance, the most striking feature of this contemporary room is the antique mirror covering the chimney breast, which is an unusual feature, but which fits in very well.
When you buy a property, often the next logical step is to marry the existing style with what you, as the new owner, would like to add to it.
Choosing a trusted and knowledgeable professional who can advise on how the proposed changes would look if implemented, and perhaps take into account any historical features, is very helpful. An architect will explain what needs to be considered and propose new additions that will blend in perfectly or contrast stylishly.
If you have purchased a site with potential for development, but where ground conditions are difficult or the environment will have an impact, an architect will be able to give you solutions and offer the best designs.
Starting with your brief and budget, a sustainable space for an innovative home will be created for you and then slowly brought to life.
These are the necessary permissions and paperwork that stand between you and your plans, from adding a dormer window to building a house. An architect deals with these issues on a daily basis and can easily guide you through the process, setting realistic goals (in terms of budget, time and possible changes) in order to ensure your wishes are met but are still compliant with any regulatory requirements.
Looking at this image, you can see a different-style extension set within a traditional garden. The extension uses similar materials to those of the house, and its size, scale and appearance are carefully balanced to enhance the setting. The design would have pleased the owners, but it would also have helped with receiving the necessary permissions.
Last but not least, home owners often employ architects because they’re not only trained and experienced designers, but also project managers.
Architects will have the necessary skills to drive a project through, keep track of timelines, oversee work carried out, deal with problems that arise – find solutions to those problems – and generally take the stress and strain away from you. With their technical expertise, you can rest assured your renovation will be in good hands, but you will be kept informed throughout the planning, execution and final closing of your project.
Have you found hiring an architect was useful? Share your experiences in the Comments.