QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ARCHITECTS
Most of the time, when our clients visit us, they barely have any idea of what they want. The only thing they are sure about is the dimension of their plot. That’s why it takes a lot of time for us and our client to settle on the same page.
WHAT TO DISCUSS…?
You need to discuss all your requirements with your Architect. The clearer you convey your lifestyle, the more specific and unique the outcome of your design will be. I am not in any way suggesting you to design the layout yourself. Leave that to the experts. I am only asking you to communicate your wants and needs very clearly. Ultimately, we all realize our needs and what we want with our house and with different spaces. But it takes a lot of valuable time if you haven’t done any research about different styles and your preferences.
Of course your designer is going to guide you better about different architectural styles and the interior designs which go together. But since you are starting this project, you need to have an idea about the ABCs of different styles and their features.
After doing your research, you will get an idea about the style you like, for example victorian, modern, minimalist, or brutal, so your design will be focused from the beginning. The designer will use the elements which define your style. If you are confused among different styles, do consult
After doing your research, you will get an idea about the style you like, for example victorian, modern, minimalist, or brutal, so your design will be focused from the beginning. The designer will use the elements which define your style. If you are confused among different styles, do consult your Architect, so they can guide you better or introduce you to another style, according to your taste.
Basement! Yay or Nay!
One of the first things you need to decide is if you need to construct basement or not. Does your budget allow you to construct a basement?
Or do you have any special requirements like theatre, game room, or storage, which can only be accommodated if you have a basement.
You need to state your budget constraints, if any, so your architect can guide you if you need to go down or not. Apart from budget constraints, plot dynamics and geographical location play a vital role in deciding, how many floors can easily be dug under your ground floor.
Ground floor Requirements
Most of the times, our clients have a hunch, that how many rooms can fit on their plot. Or which rooms are required. But you need to prioritize them.
At this stage, you should categorize, which rooms have to stay, no matter what, on the ground floor, like living room or powder room etc. and then there are the rooms, like storage or guest room, which will only be adjusted on the ground floor, if the space allows.
First Floor Requirements
Next thing you need to ask yourself is, what are the spaces you require on the first floor. You should be sure about these points from the scratch. You need to know, if you require any office space. if so, then can it be placed on the first floor, considering your job doesn’t require you attending any sort of visitors.
Next you need to consider, if you require a kitchen on the first floor, if so, should it be fully functional or just a mini kitchenette?
Where do you want your terrace and what purpose should it serve?
Some authorities allow limited construction on rooftop, while others don’t. You need to confirm this with your local authority.
If it’s allowed, then think about all the functions your rooftop can be used for. Open gym, meditation space or perhaps a sunroom, Discuss multiple options with your designer, so they can guide you the best option according to your and your family’s need.
At this point, I will repeat again. I am not asking you to design your own home. But you really need to mention all your desires and needs.
Layout or connection means the position of two or more spaces, which you want to place together.
- You can perceive it as, where do you want to have the view from lawn? In your living room or your master bed?
- The reading corner or study should be incorporated in any of the bedroom, or should be tucked in a quiet corner in the living room?
- The kids play area should be monitored from the kitchen or the living room?
- What should be provided under the stairs? Powder room or storage?
Means which spaces should be huddled together, while the connection of others can be compromised.
Who is going to live in this house?
Next important thing you need to mention are all the residents of your house. If you have kids, which age group do they belong to? What are their current needs? Do you foresee any future needs regarding any child?
Any grandparents, who will visit frequently?
Or someone in the house, who has any special needs, so they are not neglected while, designing.
May be you feel like, friends visiting you should not make any significant difference on your house design. But please do mention, if you are someone who loves to throw party every other weekend or so.
Secondly, what kind of people visit you. Is there anyone at the house, who doesn’t want their privacy invaded, in case someone comes for a sleepover?
Well, moving on. Another essential space you need to discuss is your kitchen. At this stage, don’t discuss the material or fixtures. Discuss your lifestyle. How frequently do you cook? Do you have any house help? If so, then do you require a separate kitchen for them? Or a separate access to that kitchen? And of Corse, how many people shall be using the kitchen simultaneously?
Interactive Space For The Family
This one is a very interesting point, which is mostly overlooked. Every family has different dynamics, but still, there is a time of the day when everyone gathers either on the breakfast table in the kitchen or over supper in the living room. If your family doesn’t, then do consider it.
You need to identify this interactive space in your house, so it can be designed accordingly.
Every family member has different hobbies.
Like TV, Gym, gardening, reading, BBQ etc.
Please, do mention your and your family’s hobbies, which might require any special arrangement, even though you feel like there isn’t enough space to accommodate them. May be your designer can come up with a solution.
Incorporating Antiques or Artwork
If you have any sculpture or a painting, which you want to adorn your new house with, snap its picture and share with your designer. Only then can it be perfectly incorporated in your new house design.
This point mostly comes at interior design stage. But sometimes, you have old furniture, which you don’t want to replace anytime soon, mention it. And share its dimensions with your architect.
We already mentioned paintings and sculptures. If you consider such details beforehand, the time you are going to spend in revisions will be saved. Even some architects charge extra fees for the revisions. So save your time and money.
At this stage, don’t forget to discuss,
if you require aquarium in your living room
or a fire place, or any other feature which might require even a tiny bit of extra space.
We, designers, really encourage our clients to share the reference images of the designs they like or of a space they saw somewhere and really adored. But then again, we don’t want you to share a reference image and say “ I want something like this” You need to be a little particular. Look at the reference picture and think, what is so attractive about this design?
For example, if you share this image, you need to be specific about why you like it. You might be drawn to the floor to ceiling windows or perhaps the double height lobby is making this room look really spacious. Convey the feeling you want to achieve, using any reference picture.
And then discuss, where do you want to incorporate these features?
similarly, if you show this picture, you can tell specifically, I really like this brick texture. And I want to have some rough texture on my library walls.
Right now, you don’t need to discuss the ceiling design. Only mention, if high ceilings are important or not? And clearly state, if you want false ceilings later.
Or any space, where you want to have double height? Like living room or entrance foyer?
And do consider right now if you want to have skylight anywhere?
Rent or Resale
If you are building this house for any investment purpose, then convey this to your architect. They will better guide you about the features you need to focus on, to enhance the resale value of your house.
Or what are the spaces, where finishing can be done halfway, so the new occupants design them according to their taste.
Similarly, if you want to rent out your whole house, or a floor, then do consider your options. Either you want to rent out the whole house, or divide it in portions and then rent it out. Because the placement of stairs plays a very central role, in deciding how different portions can be accessed without invading privacy in others.
Even while renting out, do consider if you want to rent it out to a family, an office or in case your space allows, to some day-care.
You can always use low cost finishing material in the portions you want to rent out.
One of the things, where the client and the designer suffer a communication gap are the timelines. Ask your architect to divide the design in different phases and mention the time required to cover each phase. Sometimes the clients expect, any particular phase to be managed a lot faster than it actually is. Since, they rarely have any idea about the whole process. So instead of assuming the timelines yourself, do clarify.
Apart from timelines, the other thing which might cause you any unwanted suprises, are the payments. Again ask your architect, to make a schedule of payments, depending on the services they are providing. So if you feel like any service is not necessary or if anything is being overcharged or is out of your budget, you can drop it.
I hope all these points discussed will prove to be fruitful for your first meeting with your architect. And will help you bring you and your architect on the same page and will of coursespeed up the whole process. Until next time. Take care!