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Approach to Client Service

The making of good architecture is a complex process that requires timely, sustained and open communication between the architect and client.  Rooted in mutual trust and respect, this communication is the cornerstone of a successful project, and we view it as one our most important responsibilities.  

We believe that good clients make good architecture, and that successful projects are a collaborative effort.  We view open, honest and constructive communication with our clients as one of the most essential components to a successful project.

Our relatively small size allows for our dedicated and intimate involvement with your project from the earliest stages of design to well after completion. 

Approach to Design

Pre-Design and Site Analysis: Understanding the Vision

A good designer (and we like to think we are good ones) above all else, listens. We want to know your history and your current story.  What are your dreams for the project?  We know you’ve been thinking of and dreaming about your project for a long time, and we want to learn all about it.  Bring your favorite clippings from Pinterest or Houzz, share your instagram account or travel sketches.  We’ll share ours.  During these meetings we also begin to develop a “Program” of space needs and design goals and discuss your budget and schedule for the project.  

During this phase of design, we visit the site and begin to “read” the site for unique opportunities and perform an analysis including views, sun and daylight studies, terrain, vegetation and neighboring properties.  We will also research the applicable codes and regulations specific to your project property.

Depending upon the complexity of the project, this pre-design phase of design can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.  At the conclusion of this phase of design, we produce and deliver to you a “Basis of Design,” a document that records all of our conversations, expectations, project goals, regulatory requirements, etc.  This document acts as a touchstone throughout the project, keeping the team’s design, budget and schedule expectations aligned.  It is also a living document, meaning that it can change and adapt over the course of the project.

Schematic Design

Based upon our understanding of your Program, your desires and goals for the project, and responding to the unique opportunities of the site, we will develop initial design concepts for discussion.  Through hand sketching and three-dimensional computer modeling, we will present alternative concepts and provide you our analysis of the merits of each.  Through the course of multiple meetings with you, we will narrow down the design direction and develop initial exterior elevations and an exterior finish palette.  

Design Development

With the conclusion of the schematic design phase, we move into a process of further refinement.  In this phase, we look more closely at the essence of the project and begin transforming the initial conceptual ideas into material and form.  It is in this phase that we more fully investigate and then finalize interior and exterior finishes. We will be meeting with you at regular intervals to ensure consistent communication on design direction.   For our clients, this is the most intensive portion of the design process, as much of what they will see and touch in the project begins to be proposed and resolved in these meetings.  

Construction Documentation

Although most of the design decisions have already been made during the design development stage of design, in the construction documentation phase, we develop detailed drawings of your project that serve to communicate to your builder the design intentions of the project. These drawings will be used by the general contractor to provide cost proposals, apply for the permit as well as to build the project.  Our meetings with you will be less frequent during this phase of the design process, as most of the design decisions have been made at this point.  However, we will still meet to provide periodic updates to the progress of the drawing set and answer any remaining design questions.  

Construction Administration

During the complexity of the construction process, decisions are made  that can augment, compliment or erode the design concept.  Therefore, rather than simply an execution phase of decisions made during the previous design phases, construction is a critical part of the design process and we believe that it is crucial for the design team, invested with all of the subtleties of the project, to stay with the project from start to completion.

Generally, during the construction administration phase of the project, PLAAD will act as your representative and provide administration of the contract between you and the general contractor, interpret the contract documents, review the general contractor submittals to ensure they comply with the contract documents and visit the site on a regular basis to observe progress.