Hiring an Architect? All Your Myths Busted!

What comes to mind when you picture an architect? Possibly a guy in a black turtleneck sitting at a drafting table with markers strewn about and tracing paper littering the floor? Trust me, we’re not all Liam Neeson straight out of a RomCom.

There are a lot of myths floating around about architects and architecture. Let’s set the record straight for a great many architects who actually represent the profession. This is a list of 6 of the most popular myths that we’ve heard at TDP over the years. Hopefully, it will serve to debunk a number of misconceptions about architects and what we do…

#1. I can’t afford an architect.

This one is probably the largest and most misunderstood concept of architecture. Design is more than just a line item on your budget, it’s a partnership that can make or break the realization of the project. Having a successful relationship with your architect can help you stay on budget and keep your construction schedule in line; it can help you realize and sculpt your vision for your project. An architect can transform a simple design concept into a branding scenario that can take your business to the next level. Having an architect as your design partner, you’re also getting a liaison between yourself and the city to help maneuver through the rough waters of zoning regulations, city planning, and building permits. To put it simply: you get what you pay for!

#2. I need to hire an architect located near me or the project site.

It’s pretty amazing to see the capabilities we have with today’s technology allowing the architect to model in 3-D and see the property and building virtually via digital photos, virtual reality panoramas, and videos online. With these capabilities, it’s not really a necessity for your design team to be located near you. Torgerson Design Partners is licensed in 25 states and has worked in 819 cities all over the United States since 2010. We have designed projects in all kinds of remote places for clients. The tools and technology we use have allowed collaborative design in ways never before imagined. TDP designs buildings for out-of-state clients, and we coordinate with materials suppliers that are all over the country. With the interweb opportunities, it’s easy to design and collaborate no matter where you are in the country, but it’s also important to realize that we treat all clients equally no matter where they’re located. We are sure to make the design process flow with ease and always communicate clearly.

#3. I’m worried that if I hire an architect, I’ll be forced into having to go with their design style.

There are plenty of designers out there that have branded themselves as being experts on a particular style of design. However, a ‘style’ of design can sometimes be interpreted with one’s own personal taste. One architect’s idea of a tastefully designed conference center could be seen as an extravagant and ostentatious setting for circus events by another. A thoughtful and client-centered design firm like Torgerson Design Partners will listen to the client’s desires and needs and help them craft a design that speaks to their project specifically, in a style that suits the client.

#4. Architects only do drawings.

A lot of people think architects sit around all day and draw pretty pictures. While our drawings typically are pretty, it usually only makes up about 15% of our time. Most people don’t realize that the majority of an architect’s time usually goes into coordination with consultants, engineers and contractors, problem-solving, planning, and communicating with clients to understand their vision. We are with an owner from the earliest concept of an idea – all the way through to completion of construction. There’s so much more than drawing that goes into a successful architectural project and you should choose an architect that can cover the whole gamut professionally and beyond expectations! We also do site master planning, construction administration, cost analysis, interiors, energy analysis, and a lot more. Surprised?

#5. All architects are equally qualified.

They all went to school to get the same degree, right? So shouldn’t they all be equally qualified for the task at hand? No way!

Yes, architecture is a science, but there are numerous ways that a firm can approach an architectural project. Do a little research into their portfolio. Do they focus on commercial or residential? Restoration or new construction? Are they a gladiator for green design? Ask how they approach a job, what does their design workflow look like? How is it customized to fit each client? What are some examples of past projects? Every architect and firm will bring a unique combination of experience, creativity, science, and discovery to every project. No two architects or firms are alike, so choose one that best suits your project needs.

#6. Architects are eccentric, introverted and unapproachable.

While Hollywood movies often like to depict architects as elitist, eccentric and generally too good to talk to you, this is simply not the case. Just like any other office setting, you’re going to find a plethora of personality types. Architects could certainly spend their careers hiding in their computers and sketchbooks and never picking up their phones or meeting clients, and you’ll probably find one in most offices – but they certainly won’t be very successful in the long run in this field. You can’t afford to be shy and unapproachable—the job relies heavily on communication skills with clients, designers, builders, engineers, contractors, and the public. We’re not elitists, we’re just ordinary people who happen to have both creative and scientific minds. We have families and hobbies outside of our work. Communication skills are one of the most effective skills to have in an architect’s tool chest. At TDP, our mission is to explore and express our client’s vision, we’re first and foremost a customer service oriented firm and love to talk to people about their construction dreams. Rest assured, coming to us won’t be an intimidating process.

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