“The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you are talking about building a house, you’re talking about dreams” Robert A. M. Stern – architect
- Where your project requires an architect, include the cost of fees in your budget from the start.
- Expect to recoup the outlay in many years enjoyment of a space sculpted to your precise needs, now and into the future.
- Prepare a detailed, written brief for your project based on your present and future needs.
- Think of this brief in terms of issues, not solutions. It is the architect’s job to prepare solutions based on these issues and your needs.
- Choose an architect based on their previous work and also on the potential you feel for a good working relationship to develop.
- Establish in writing from the outset all details relative to the fee being charged, including the amount, at what stages it will be due, what exact services are included and how any unanticipated input will be charged.
- At all stages, make sure you understand exactly what is being proposed. If you have difficulty understanding 2 dimensional drawings – plans, sections and elevations – request 3 dimensional drawings or rough models.
- Buy a scale rule and learn how to use it. You will then be able to acquaint yourself with both the general and particular details of the project, from room sizes to fitted furniture. Compare proposed room sizes with rooms you are familiar with.
- Stay focussed and attentive at all stages. Once you have agreed the overall scheme of things, you will be required to sign off on a staggering range of detail as the project progresses to site. These will all be of huge importance to you in the long run, so devote the time and energy required to make sure it all meets your needs.
- Channel all instructions to the builder via your architect at all times.
Appetite for Architecture
The Sunday Business Post, Sunday, March 09, 2008 – By Jim Cahill
As the value of the average Irish family home has soared, so too has the amount of money people are prepared to spend on home improvements – and particularly on their kitchens.
With Irish homeowners now more design-conscious than ever, a growing number are turning to a new breed of architect who can offer end-to-end design services. Architects can incorporate aspects of how a kitchen will be used into how a property is built. In addition, a good architect can design and oversee the construction of bespoke kitchen units, often for less than the price of a branded designer-fitted kitchen.
‘‘If you have a good architect, you don’t need an interior designer. From the outset, a good architect will consider light, space and storage – they take a holistic view of design,” says Eva Byrne, a Dublin-based architect who offers consultancy services to people seeking to overhaul their homes.
Byrne is typical of the new breed of architect – happy to take her design briefs further than the basic shell of a building. ‘‘The look of a kitchen is the thing you’ll notice when it first goes in, but once the honeymoon period is over, what you’re left with is how well the room functions,” she says.
‘‘The problem with kitchen designers is that they’ll take up the entire room with cupboards and countertops, when really, most homes just need well-designed and ergonomically sound kitchen furniture.
‘‘Branded kitchens definitely have their place, but if you go to a kitchen designer, you are generally limited to set widths and heights that don’t take the room itself into account. For example, I don’t understand why kitchens shouldn’t be full height – it seems absurd that we all have these dusty shelves on top of our presses.”