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The Architectural Design Process: An Interview with Troy Lewis of Lewis Associates Architects

By Troy Lewis

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Located in Ponca City, Lewis Associates Architects was founded in 1994 by Troy Lewis, AIA and Richard Winterrowd, Associate AIA, to serve clients in north central Oklahoma. As design partner, Richard thoroughly enjoys assisting clients to realize their goals. We provide design services for all sizes of projects whether they are remodels and additions or brand new homes.

What are some important questions to ask the architect before beginning the designing process?

Ask to see their work. Ask about their fees. Ask about their workload to see how soon they could start. Ask for references. Ask them to describe their design process. Ask how long it will take to finish their design and construction drawings. Ask to meet and have a first conversation to see if your personalities can work together. (After all, you will be working closely with your architect and it should be a fun experience.) Ask if they provide interior design services. Ask what services they provide during construction. Ask if they recommend any builders.

If you could, please list the steps of the general architectural design process:

Discover what the goals of the client are. Listen intently, make a list, and review them with the client. These goals include, budget, energy, size, style, site issues, materials, interior arrangement of spaces and how they function.

Determine the client's knowledge and exposure to alternative ideas and if they are open to exploring these ideas.

Prepare preliminary ideas and budgets in order to explore various options.

Select an idea and develop it until the client is fully satisfied. This will require numerous meetings and revisions.

Prepare construction documents based on the approved design.

How do you suggest clients prepare for a this process?

First, go exploring. Expand your horizon. Spend lots of time visiting new homes. Take pictures of what you like. Look thru magazines. Surf the web. Collect the ideas you like. Most people want a traditional looking home, but if you have a unique site you may want to be open to new ideas.

Second, ask how much buildings cost and get a realistic budget in mind. Don't start out your relationship with your architect by making him be the one who gives you sticker shock.

Third, allow plenty of time for the design process. Give your architect and yourself plenty of time to collaborate.

What are some common issues you face when it comes to designing homes?

Most clients have already done their homework regarding new ideas, a realistic budget, and allowing plenty of time for the process. But challenges can occur when the client and the architect have not communicated well about goals. The result is client frustration, but if they will be patient, a good architect will quickly get on the same page.

What advice do you have for the homeowner during this strenuous process?

First, a new residential project can be exciting and fun, but if the client is a couple, then they must realize that the process is filled with lots of decision making. They need to be able to agree or, at least, compromise on many issues. Quite frankly, if the relationship is shaky, then a building project could finish them.

Second, your architect is a creative person with lots of ideas and experience to share. They love the challenge of taking your information and coming up with a creative and beautiful solution that satisfies your goals. So, even though you may have already made up your mind as to exactly what you want, please remain open to other possibilities.

Third, don't be in a hurry. Don't rush the decision making. Don't rush the design process. Let it simmer a bit. Think about it.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Call us at 580-765-3317. We would love to talk to you. Or you can email us at troy@laa1.com or visit us at www.laa1.com.

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About The Author

Troy Lewis, AIA, founded Lewis Associates Architects in 1994 on the principle of great...

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