Re: Design Process: Call for experiences
From: shedrick coleman (
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 94 15:18 CST
In message Fri, 11 Nov 94 11:49 CST,
  "School of Mathematics, U of MN" <dept [at]>  writes:

> Monterey CoHousing-Mpls is at a similar stage and I too am worried about
> the cost of our architect.  Especially the benefit/cost ratio.
> Personally, I doubt he is worth the money we have already paid him, and
> we're not  done yet with final drawings.  We were lucky in having a
> member with a  background in architecture (a former student) and she sat
> down with the  various households to come up with a design to suit their
> needs.  It would  have cost a heap to pay the architect for that.
> Anybody like that in your  group?
> Monika Stumpf, Monterey CoHousing-Mpls, dept [at]

It appears that in each case mentioned, either of two things have happened:

1. You did not have a clear program outlined stating your needs and overall
2. You picked the wrong architect.

It is vital that prior to selecting a architect, that any group sit down and
arrive at what the expectations are.  By doing this, you can arrive at some
measurable criteria to gauge prospective architects.  Also, the architect
will know just what you expect from him/her through the process.  If you
don't make your intentions clear, you are setting yourselves up for
dissappointment.  Your architect should share your excitement for the
project and be willing to honestly listen to your needs.

To think that the experience and knowledge a good architect can provide can
be provided by someone who has taken architectural studies is misguided.
All architects are not equal in the services they provide or their level of
commitment.  I'd like to see the profession that can offer such individuals.
The state of construction costs are not caused by architects, but I'll
guarantee that if you have drawings prepared by an inexperienced party,
your contractor shall eat you alive in additional fees.

The services are well worth it, but first you must do your homework and
obtain the right help.  I personally would never gamble with the investment
you're talking about with someone without the proper background and
resources to investigate alternatives.  You'll get what you pay for in the
long run.  Construction is a far more complicated process that it appears
and the architect is not the one who reaps the financial harvest.  Be
W. Shedrick Coleman, AIA                |
Architect                               |
Facilities Planning & Space Utilization |
Georgia Southern University             |
Statesboro, Georgia                     |
shedarch [at]            |

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