10 Things to Look for When Choosing an Architect

If you are considering a new construction or renovation project, your choice of an architect is very important. With a good architect, you will be able to seamlessly turn your vision of a dream home into a reality.

Architecture firms combine elements of both art and design. The best architects are the ones who have a firm understanding of engineering principles and an ability to materialize an artistic vision.

Though finding the architect that is right for your project may require some effort, taking the time to research and compare your options can certainly pay off once your project is complete. We take a look at some of the most important things you will want to ask before making your final decision.

1. What are the key principles of your design philosophy?

When it comes to designing a new building, every firm is going to have a different philosophy. Some firms prefer to utilize classic styles and techniques, others prefer to take an approach that they believe is more revolutionary.

Ultimately, the best firms are the ones who can stick to their underlying principles while also being able to adapt to the specific needs of each of their clients. As you begin interviewing the different firms you are considering, you will want to make sure that their typical approach to design is something that is compatible with your personal goals.

2. Why is this a project that interests you?

The most obvious reason why a prospective architecture firm will want to work with you is that doing so is good for their business. But in addition to this obvious fact, you will also want to make sure the project you are proposing is something the team can really commit themselves to getting involved with. Whether the team is committed because of their personal interests or because it falls within their specific area of expertise, asking this question can help you feel more confident in your final decision.

3. How much time can you commit to this project?

The last thing you would want to do is choose a firm that is unable to devote the amount of time necessary to complete the project as desired. The design process is something that can inevitably require a lot of time. Making sure the team is fully available is absolutely necessary to getting the final results you are hoping for.

4. What are the steps in your design process?

There is not one “right” way to design or reconstruct a building. However, when it comes to your specific project, there are likely some approaches to the design process that will be more effective than others. Asking the team about the different steps in their usual process can help you get a better understanding of what will be involved along the way. This can also help you distinguish the best firms from the more mediocre ones.

5. What are the dynamics of your design team?

Just as the design process is something that is likely to vary between different architecture firms, the dynamics of the team is something you will want to compare as well. Some teams have a top-down approach to designing while others prefer to utilize a more collaborative effort. The team dynamic that will be most compatible with you will largely depend on the specific vision you have in mind.

6. What are the different services that your firm can provide?

Before you make any final decisions, you will want to compare the different types of services each prospective firm can provide. For example, some people consider it to be very important for a firm to provide 3D services in addition to 2D services. Some prefer a firm that has a very specific specialty and others prefer a firm that has a much broader set of capabilities.

7. Can I see some examples of your work?

Asking questions is obviously a very good way to understand the different firms you are considering. But, naturally, the best way for you to figure out the team that is most compatible with your vision is to ask to see some real samples of their work.

Being able to see these samples will not only demonstrate what a prospective firm is capable of, it will also help you be more confident in your decision by knowing they have the experience necessary to get the job done. Additionally, taking the time to look at samples can also help inspire you and help you understand the range of options you have available.

8. What will I need to provide for this project to be a success?

Another important factor to consider is the level of personal involvement that will be required throughout the course of the project. Some firms prefer to have their clients highly involved throughout the project’s entirety. Others prefer for to use a more “hands off” approach and have the freedom to apply their own creative expertise. Whichever approach you prefer, you will want to make sure to find a team that will be able to adapt.

9. How will you overcome the challenges associated with this project?

Though planning in advance can help a project go smoothly, there are still a number of different challenges that might emerge along the way. These challenges can range from materials being delivered late, problems relating to building codes, foundation issues, and everything in between.

The best architecture firms are the ones that can not only create a solid design plan in advance—they can also adapt to new challenges as the begin to come up. Adaptability is a very desirable quality you will want to be sure to ask about in advance.

10. What makes your firm different from the other options?

Ultimately, this is the question that ought to be the foundation of your final decision in a design team. There are a lot of good design teams throughout the entire industry. There isn’t one firm that will always be the best option. When making a final choice, it is generally a good idea to utilize a comparative approach.

You may be surprised by what a given firm says makes it different from the competition. Some firms pride themselves in their extensive amount of experience. Others are more proud of what they believe is their own artistic genius. Once you generate an extensive pros and cons list of the different design teams you are considering, making your final decision is something that will be much easier.


Getting started on a renovation or new construction project is something that can be very exciting. But before you get too carried away with your eagerness to get started, it is important to compare the different design options you have available.

Price, experience, design style, and workability are all different things you are going to want to consider. Generally, you will want to begin by researching online and choosing two or three firms you believe are compatible with your final vision. Though the answers to these questions aren’t the only thing you should base your final decision off of, they can certainly help get you moving in the right direction.


Tags: architect, design, design process, dynamics, interests, philosophy, principles, project, services, time

Author: Maja Markovski


A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


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