Most people like light spaces.  People tend to feel happier with natural light illuminating a space.  Studies have shown that workers in spaces that are proximal to a window are more content which usually equates to better production.  As an architect I not only have great respect for light and […]

Considerations for light vs. shadow in architecture

Ever hear someone say, “I’m going to design my own house…”?  Well, most times it is said with great excitement and enthusiasm.  Unfortunately in most cases, when you ask the same person how it’s going 4 months later their enthusiasm seems to have waned.  They usually hit you with something […]

5 things they don’t tell you about designing a building

At the beginning of any project despite size and scope, I would highly urge you to contact an architect (preferably me of course!) to guide you.  I receive an average of one call per week that deals with things that don’t require an architect, but alas I always guide the […]

Architectural services a la carte

Many times over the years I’ve had conversations with people that aren’t quite sure what differentiates a draftsman from an architect.   I will attempt to clear this up: In the most basic terms, a draftsman works under an architect.  Many architects and architectural firms have one (at least) registered/licensed architect […]

Draftsman vs. architect…

ionic column
As soon as the word “architecture” was recognized there has always been a constant search and understanding of how to make buildings more than just buildings.  Some of the ancients such as Vitruvius, referred to buildings as requiring 3 components to be considered architecture:  function, economy, and beauty. The first […]

What makes a building architecture?

There are many things that go into designing a building:  form, function, aesthetics, etc.  This post will focus on the aesthetics of a building.  There is a term architects like to throw around called building “massing”.  What is massing you ask?  Well it is pretty much what it sounds like; […]

What is building massing?

A lot of people think that architects “draw buildings”.  I know it sounds funny…even looks funny to see it in type, but it is true.  When I tell people I’m an architect some typical responses I hear are things like, “oh so you draw buildings right?” “do you design the […]

I have land but I’m not sure what to build…

Ahh the age-old question concerning the process of designing a building.  How is it done?  With a pencil and paper?  With a special computer program that allows you to hit “create” and then viola…a building appears on the screen?  Architects go about the process of designing a building in a […]

3 ways to design a building

When a client comes to me and asks to design a building, the first thing I ask is, “what’s going in it?”  In order to design a building the first thing architects need to understand is the program, which is an architectural way of saying, “what is your wish list?” […]

What is an architectural program?

When I first meet a potential client and give them my typical spiel on why they need me for their next project, I always stress the importance of value engineering.  But alas, what is value engineering you ask?  It simply means that someone is looking out for your budget during […]

Please explain value engineering to me…

architect fees
I’ve been doing this for a while now (19+ years) and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about being an architect and the field of architecture as a whole is this: architect fees can be very deceiving/confusing/frustrating/ambiguous/etc.  What makes an architect’s fees so complicated is that there are so many […]

Architect fees: apples to oranges?

Yes. Extremely. I wanted to write a short article on this topic just for fun (and for the comedic value!). When people think of architects I think they immediately think of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Fountainhead, and famous movies where the “cool” leading man happens to be an architect. All […]

Is it cool being an architect?

When I was in graduate school I used to work for an architect who did everything “old school”. What I mean by that is that he was still creating drawings by hand as opposed to using a computer. Keep in mind, this was when AutoCAD was first stating its claim […]

What are blueprints?

I’ve been asked on many occasions to remodel existing homes. My line of questioning usually goes something like this, “How’s the foundation? Is there mold? What’s the construction? How’s the roof? Plumbing? Electrical? Are people getting sick in this home? Yadda yadda….”. Now, I say my line of questioning usually […]

Remodel vs. tear down

architect figure
Here is the scenario: you want to design a building. You go to an architecture firm. You meet the president/owner/founder/principal/head-honcho. He/she presents the firm and how wonderful they are. You are presented with several beautiful images of past buildings that the firm has designed. You even see a bunch of […]

Will an architect design your building?

architect on site
There are many misconceptions about this topic…particularly by owners. The way that most clients (owners) see it, paying an architect to be on the site during construction is money wasted. After all, there is a contractor at the site everyday right? Why should they need to pay an architect to […]

Should an architect be on-site during a build?

Please keep in mind that this article is written from my personal viewpoint, which is that of an architect not a contractor. Although there is a myriad of ways to get contractors involved on a project, I’d like to talk about 2 “good” ways, where good = a way that […]

2 good ways to get a contractor involved on a ...

Depends who you ask and when you ask them. If you would have asked me that question whilst I was in architecture school I would have said something like, “hell-to- the-no”. If you ask me now, I see it in an entirely different light. I suppose architecture is one of […]

Is architecture school really necessary?

t square
Short answer:  never. More elaborate answer: the reason it is important to get an architect involved in a project as early as possible is because architects work on buildings and planning every day.  We do it for a living.  We know what to do with a site, whether it be […]

How soon is too soon to get an architect involved ...

The first thing that people talk to me about when they say they are thinking about hiring an architect for their new building is their fears (well maybe fees first then fears?  Or fears of fees?).  Most people fear many things when it comes to new construction as most people […]

5 common fears of working with an architect

This question may sound comical, but believe it or not…I get asked this quite often.  Granted, it is usually not this generic.  The reason this question may sound comical is because as one could imagine, there are probably a few million (at least) ways to answer this because of all […]

7 big factors that affect building cost…

In these days of HGTV , Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, Dwell, and countless other shows and publications, it is easy to determine that today’s society puts a real value on good design.  Architects add value not only in their experience and expertise in their craft, but also in their raw […]

How architects add value

hard hat
Ah the age-old question…as old as, “which came first the chicken or the egg?”.  Well, I suppose the correct answer is…”yes”!  The egg came before the chicken…and yet there was a chicken prior to said egg which hatched the egg!  The same goes for which one to look for first:  […]

Which comes first: contractor or architect?

This still shot from a computer model accurately depicts how shadows will fall upon the building during a set time of day as well as day of the year. These shadows are calculated using longitudinal and latitudinal site data. When I was a kid playing with building blocks, I used […]

Computer models in architecture…

Most of my days as an architect (days without an early appointment) start out with checking emails.  My eyes immediately gravitate towards the emails that scream, “burning fire put me out!!!”.  Within that group of emails I first get rid of the small fires with a reply email consisting of […]

A day in the life of an architect.

Credentials:  This might sound obvious, but before you hire an “architect” you want to make sure that he/she is indeed an architect.  You’d be surprised at how many times clients have come to me asking if I could fix their drawings that another “architect” did…when it turns out that person […]

7 things to look for in an architect…

This may sound rhetorical, but believe it or not most people don’t know what architects do. The common answer would go something like this, “oh you’re an architect…you draw buildings right?” Well, I suppose we “draw” buildings but it is a tad more complicated than that. We have to understand […]

What do architects do?

building blocks
Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out if architecture is something you should pursue: Did you (or do you still) like playing with Lego building blocks?  Seriously.  Legos or other building block type toys are great for two reasons:  they allow you to be creative and they […]

Is architecture the field for me?

Being an architect, in my eyes at least, is a wonderful thing. For the most part the people I work with on a daily basis are all very passionate about their respective jobs which equates to happy people…and everyone knows that dealing with happy people is a good thing.  Dealing […]

Who does an architect work with on a daily basis?

Most people aren’t aware of the rigorous training, schooling, and testing involved with becoming an architect. For starters, an architect must earn a professional degree from an NAAB-accredited or CACB-accredited program. If educated in a foreign country, have foreign education evaluated by NAAB through the Education Evaluation Service for Architects […]

How to check an architect’s credentials

There are many factors that you should think about when choosing an architectural style: lifestyle (e.g. casual vs. formal), climate, macro and micro surroundings, and most importantly – personal style. Here are a few ideas that may help you in your decision in choosing an architectural style that is right […]

How to choose an architectural style

architect question
Pretty much everyone comes in contact with a doctor, lawyer, teacher or policeman…but most people could go through an entire lifetime without ever working with an architect.  So how do you find one?  More importantly…how do you find a GOOD one?  I have been known to get bombarded by internet […]

How to find an architect