Architects and contractors

I was out walking dogs last evening and met a new friend, a homeowner in renovation. Barbara and her husband own a gorgeous 1904 house in need of similar repairs as we were facing. In their case, the old back porch was rotting and falling off the house.

Their solution to the problem was to hire an architect to design a new, modern box to affix to the back of the house. From the inside the transition from old space to new is palpable but seamless. A really elegant solution to the problem.

We talked about our experiences with our respective architects and the problem of implementing architectural plans into real buildings. It appears the translation between architectural concept and the hard realities of site, materials, and joinery faced by contractors is a common problem.

It appears that architectural training can focus on an engineering approach, through which very detailed, structurally explicit drawings are realized, or a conceptual approach, through which imaginative, beautiful buildings are designed, but without the clarity of structural, material, nor building process articulated.

I want both, or, more importantly, all three. I want an architect capable of engaging in creative process, who can collaborate with my contractor to attach the envisioned structure to real building challenges. And I want both of these efforts aligned with real budgets, so that implementation of these schemes do not place undue financial hardship on the homeowner.

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