By Cymon Allfrey and Craig South
When it comes to building it is essential we get it right from the outset, so why then do so many opt not to engage the skills and knowledge of an architect?
It is fair to say the average homeowner investing in a renovation or new build is seeking advice, inspiration and guidance when it comes to their project – a project which can be daunting, costly and for many a once in a lifetime undertaking; and for all, one that is essential to get right. So as we search for this knowledge, skill and expertise, why do so many of us have such negative preconceived ideas around working with an architect?
Working with clients to break down the costs from the beginning to the end of the project, Cymon Allfrey Architects (CAA) place an emphasis on spatial requirements rather than square metre rates.
One of the biggest things homebuilders can understand is the value a qualified designer will bring to their budget. Before the pencil even touches the paper, it is our job to determine parity between expectation and budget, and subsequently complete a design which fits the brief from all angles.
For a number of people the biggest barrier to engaging an architect is budget and the idea that we are out of reach. As architects we talk a lot about aspirational thinking and dreaming big, however this is not to say your budget has to be big in order to work with us. Be it a two hundred thousand dollar project or a two million dollar project, for us the process is the same, and no matter how big the dream, it is the budget which makes this thinking a tangible reality. Hence, it is critical that clients are realistic about what they can and cannot afford, so that from the outset we are working towards the same end goal.”
Trusting the expert
Fellow CAA architect Craig South says this is another common barrier. “The key thing we want all our homebuilders to have is trust. Trust not only in the process, but in the knowledge that we, as architects and designers, have.
“Humans are biological beings, and as such have a number of similarities’ that dictate the basic needs and wants of home design. Understanding how your family unit works and expectations for future use ensures we are able to craft a floor plan that is not simply just about building for now, but practical and functional for future use as well.
“You are designing your dream home and a good architect, who you can communicate openly with, will encourage you to think beyond the basics. Our role is to provide a safe environment in which aspirational thinking can take place. From there, clients need to trust us to ask the right questions and apply the right skills to translate the big picture into a space for living. It is more important that clients come to us prepared to talk about how they live, than with a scrapbook of ideas and images.”
A balancing act
Every building that we complete is a unique response to the attributes of that project. Where an architect or designer differs from selecting a plan straight from a book, is with our ability to ensure the balance between value, quality and budget is right.
For many the value of an architect is often overlooked until the very end – when all that is left is the enjoyment of functional spaces that have been crafted . The question is, why would you not want to achieve the perfect result?