The Big Picture / by John Caveney

Here at CAC we put in a lot of effort to educate our clients and the community on the benefits and importance of hiring an architect for their next project.  There are countless services that architects can offer that can benefit any project at any scale - from bathrooms to houses.  Though often enough we find that most people think that architects are really expensive, only for the rich, are out of tune with normalcy, and too busy for the everyday homeowner.  We thought today we would step back and keep it simple explaining a few 'big picture' benefits of hiring an architect.

 Sketches, Calculations, and Code Review. Only a portion of our architectural services.

Sketches, Calculations, and Code Review. Only a portion of our architectural services.

But before we jump into that; during architecture school there are many lessons one learns (often via the hard way) that help prepare students to be better architects.  One particular lesson, found in Matthew Frederick's, 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School holds true in our practice,

Lesson 48: If you can't explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms that she understands, you don't know your subject well enough.

We draw - a lot. When we meet people at networking events and home interviews, 9 times out of 10 when we tell them we're architects they say, "oh, so you draw houses?" Yes, we draw houses, but we take it further than that. We draw plans to help owners and builders visualize the end results. We cut sections - think of someone taking a saw and cutting your house completely in half - to help showcase the relationships of spaces between levels. More often than not, we are out on site taking measurements of all the existing conditions of your house - we want to document as much existing information as possible before we start designing. Ultimately, a construction drawing set is the final stage before your project can be built. Think of the CD set as an Ikea instruction manual on how to assemble your project - only going way more in depth, with measurements, notes, details, and schedules!

We think outside the box - occasionally sitting in the box.  By education architects are taught to think of unique solutions to simple problems.  When thinking outside the box we have a giant roll of tracing paper on our desks, a giant Sharpie marker and your drawings.  We are constantly tracing over plans, sections, elevations, and details questioning everything.  There are ways in which things are done, but that does not stop us from trying something new.  There are also times when, rather than reinventing the wheel, we enjoy the classic way of doing things.

We think big picture - but love little Instagram squares.  Architects often are thinking of the big picture, the end result before diving into the details of a project.  It's said that as architects we are responsible for knowing a little about everything.  Often times we are considered generalists, and this is helpful for many clients because we are thinking of the big picture.  We think ahead and try to mitigate issues that we see arising before they even happen.  At the same time we love capturing the little things - just check out our ever-growing Instagram account.  The details of every project are important and we enjoy them just as much as the long term stuff.

We love when you ask us about what we do - just ask. This is plain and simple.  There is so much that we can do, we love when someone inquires about an opportunity. Any opportunity. "Can you design our dining room table?" - Sure can! "What about coming to open houses with us so we can get your take on the property?" -Yep, we love looking at homes! "Can you help plan our next renovation?"-This is not a problem!  "Can you create 3D-models we can present to investors?"-Absolutely.

In short, simple conversation we can never go over all of our services. Our intention is to get you thinking outside the box on your next project, whatever that may be - architects do not just draw, ask us about it.

 

- Nathaniel & the CAC Team