Whether you’re interested in adding on to your existing home or building an office from the ground up, you’ll need a skilled architect to help you draw up the plans and oversee construction. But with the hundreds of architectural firms in the Boston metro, it can seem impossible to find the perfect architect for your project. However, keeping in mind the specifics of your design needs, it’s easy to narrow down your options and select just the architect you’ve been seeking.
There are a few general qualifications that any architect in Boston should have before they make your short list. First, they must be a registered architect in the state of Massachusetts. You may also want to limit your search to members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to ensure that you’re getting a real professional. Additionally, experience is crucial when it comes to design-structural, as well as aesthetic-so stick with firms that have been in the industry for years. These qualifications are a good way to make certain that the architect is reputable, reliable, and fit to tackle your project.
The next issue you’ll want to look into is whether the architectural firm offers customized design services. Unless you’re interested in cookie-cutter new construction, you want an architect who can evaluate the site and/or existing structure and add in your specifications and needs to generate a personalized design as unique as you are. Because some architects are better at listening to clients and creating a space that accurately suits their needs, you need to keep an eye out for designers who may try to force you into a one-size-fits-all solution.
You may also want to consider whether the architect offers eco-friendly green architecture. As more and more consumers are exploring ways to reduce their environmental footprint, “eco-friendly” is becoming a buzzword in architecture and design. While some green design features can easily be retrofitted to a building-think low VOC paints or sustainable bamboo flooring-others-like energy systems and water reclamation structures-work best when they are part of the initial design. If you’re interested in reducing your energy usage with solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal heating, you definitely need a green architect. They will have the specialized skills and knowledge to successfully integrate this cutting-edge technology into your residential or commercial blueprints.
Of course, there are other architectural design issues you’ll want to take into account before making your final decision: Does this firm have experience working on projects similar to mine? Am I comfortable with the architect’s aesthetic taste? Will we be able to stay in budget with this design company? But once you’ve evaluated their qualifications, willingness to create custom designs, and experience with green technology, you’re well on your way to selecting the architect of your dreams.
Matt Gallo is a home improvement specialist and the Internet marketing manager for Prospect Genius, a leading provider of online local advertising solutions.