What the Architect is not Telling You?

When you hire architect to design a home, on your mind, you are hoping that they will design a great iconic home to live.

However, often you will get a great iconic home, but not comfortable to live.

Why is that?

1. a Desire to be the most Unique

Most home architect firm will have one or two principal architect and then several junior architect. It is rare to see middle experienced architect in a firm, because usually after 3-5 years, those “junior architect” will likely quit and open their own firm.

Although, uniquely, these architect are forming sort of alumni association instead of see their ex-co-worker as competitor.

So, with many new architect firm established each year, how to distinct one from another?

Exactly, these architect tend to make their design as unique as possible to gain recognition.

The deliverable of hiring Architect is design. And for more expensive price, we expect to have more unique, more aesthetic, and more functional design. The problem is more unique the designs will also make less functional and practical ones.

If you want to prove my statement, find building which have awarded as great design, interview their maintenance team and ask about their job. You will likely receive many complaints from them. Furthermore, if you go through these buildings, the maintenance team usually have add some features which nullifies design intent but ease maintenance effort.

2. a Short Term Design

If you search architect’s resume, you will always find new building or 3D render pictures. But not once, you can find a photos of 1 year old building of their design.

Even if an articles covered an iconic building finished 1 year ago. They will also use a 1 year old photos. Not recent photos. Why?

Did you notice that most architect never look back or visit their previous project? They always design something new, and more iconic than before. But they might do same mistakes over and over.

If they look back, and visit regularly their previous project and see the problems in their building, they might avoid the same mistakes for future project.

But the building problem usually caused by bad workmanship right?

The answer is Not always.

While cracks and leaks are number 1 and number 2 reported issues in building. The number 3 problem in building is usually design related problems. and while Number 1 and number 2 is usually easy to fix. The building will suffer the number 3 problem in lifetime.

I believe that architect must care enough to think how to design a building which is easy to maintain.

3. not Living Their Design

Architect’s life is hard. You can see that from architecture students. Their life is dedicated to the study and tasks compared to other major. Even after they graduate and work, their life will be mostly spend in office / studios.

In this millennial era, the architect also usually travel a lot to see design in other countries.

With this kind of work, we can see that Indonesian Architect Design is advancing, and can be compared with international class Architect.

However…

I can see that they are lacking in details.

I see that Architect detail is usually based on certain standard. Which is good by the way… if they design common or typical building. But for premium building, I believe that the details should be different. It is unique from client to client.

When designing, one have to think through. How if they actually live in the house. Is the kitchen they design is comfortable to cook? Is the bathroom size is comfortable?

I believe that a good home architect must learn from Homemaker / Housewives as they are the one who are excel in home chores (cooking, cleaning, maintaining, etc). They will have better intuition and reasons to design a livable home.

How to Choose a Home Architect then?

In my book, I stated that first, you have to hire an architect which understand your life. either they live in same kind of neighborhood, have same hobby, or have mostly design the house type that you like.

Then you have to go past their facade.

Every architect can design iconic building. but not all of them can design practicality. Ask them about how chores are done in their design. If the answer is normative, you can tell that they are not have enough experience in personal detailing the house.

Lastly, ask to visit their design, both the one they proud of and 3 years old building. And if possible visit them and talk to the owners (and their caretakers).

Identify the problems, and then talk back to the Architect to ask for the solution. If the architect answer sounds that the problem is minor issues, you should pass on that kind of architect.

But if the architect acknowledge the problem; i.e. they know the problem before even you ask and tell you the story of their research to solve the issues in the future, I recommend you to hire the architect on site.