by Malena Lott
My first impression of architects was on TV in the ’70s. Mike Brady, widowed father with three sons on the iconic TV series The Brady Bunch, was an architect who not only had a sweet den in his house, but often had renderings and models strewn about to show us that he really did solve problems outside of kid drama. As I child, I thought being an architect must be pretty important – and involved a fair bit of stress. Plaid suit required! Decades later, I still do – except for the plaid part. Fascinating, really. How does a project go from a piece of paper to a scaled model to the actual building?
In Oklahoma, we’re fortunate to not only have gifted architects in our history whose work still stands today, but also a long list of accomplished architects working – listening, finding solutions, drawing, doing.
In case our Mike Brady description wasn’t enough, the role of architect is much more than paper and models. This description from AIA Florida says it nicely:
You have a vision of what you want. Now you need to make that vision a reality. Here’s how an architect can help you:
Architects see the big picture.
Architects are specially educated to help you define what you want to build, present options you might never have considered, and help you get the most for your valuable investment. They don’t just design four walls and a roof — they create total environments, both interiors and exteriors, that are functional and exciting places in which to work and live.
Architects solve problems creatively. Architects are trained problem solvers. Need more room for your growing family? Architects can show you how to enlarge your home so you won’t have to move. Have a limited budget? Architects can propose ways to get more for your investment than you imagined possible.
Architects help you get the most from your construction dollar.
Architects can reduce building costs, decrease your home’s energy needs, and increase its future resale value through good design.
Architects make your life easier.
To find the right architect for your personal or commercial property, begin with knowing what you’re looking for and doing a bit of research yourself. The local chapters of American Institute of Architects is a good place to start as they typically list members. Visit the site and view the links to the architects to see a portfolio of their work. You’ll also see if they’ve won design awards which may or may not be important to you. While some architects are “general” and work on a number of types of projects, others are more specialized – not only in category, but style. For example, if you know you love contemporary, it would be helpful to find an architect who specializes in creating contemporary buildings as architecture is also about art. Personally, I’d love to see every building built be beautiful beyond being functional. Beyond licensure and regulations, references – especially ones you seek out yourself – could go a long way in finding the right architect for you.
AIA Central Oklahoma membership here.
AIA Eastern Oklahoma website here. (No membership listing. Correct me, if I’m wrong.)
Oklahoma Board of Architects provides a search box for licensed architects, landscape architects and interior designers.
You can also take advantage of tours and visiting commercial spaces in person to see their work. We’ll try to include those on our calendar and events channel. Like with hiring any professional service, you’ll want to trust the architect and his/her process and feel a partnership – your working together to create a space you’ll both be proud of. You’re paying for it.