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  • Depending on the type of project you are undertaking, you may be legally required to hire a licensed architect to produce stamped drawings to be submitted to the city or county plans review department in order to obtain a construction permit. In North Carolina, most residential projects under a certain size don't legally require one, but an architect brings an immense amount of value to any project, regardless of legal requirement. We recommend weighing the cost of hiring an architect to the value one brings to project via creative space planning and an understanding of the context in which your project sits - landscape, topography, scale, solar orientation, etc.

    The better question to ask is not if you are legally required to hire an architect, but if you need help thinking about space and designing within the constraints of a particular site.

  • Many people think architects just sketch and draw. We actually do so much more than that. We provide immense value in analyzing, problem solving, finding creative solutions, and consulting during construction. The result of an architect's work on a project are the "Contract Documents" (usually called "Construction Documents") that a contractor uses to build from, but how we get to that end result varies by project type and scale.

    Architects combine regional regulatory requirements - zoning and building code - with engineering - civil, structural, and sometimes others - to create space. We listen to clients' dreams, wishes, and requirements, and make spaces which fit budgets, zoning requirements, and engineering constraints.

  • We prefer to structure our contacts with clients on a "fixed fee" model. This requires us to gain a detailed understanding of what you want and what is allowed to be built based on zoning and building codes, which takes a decent amount of time. However, the result is that we are able to provide a single overall fee, broken down by design phase, so that you know up front what you can expect to pay. Many architects charge strictly on an hourly fee, but we feel this isn't very fair because you won't know how many hours the architect will be required to work on their project, meaning you won't know how much you will be paying for their services. The fixed fee model avoids this anxiety. If things change on a project or additional work is required beyond the initial fixed fee contract, we adjust the contract via "additional services", and we are very transparent and up front about when these costs may be required. But, every project is different, so how will you know what to expect?

    We generally tell people that as a ballpark rule, our fee for full architectural services is usually between 8-15% of the construction cost (this is not the budget). Construction costs vary wildly, but most projects in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas of North Carolina land in the $250-500 per square foot construction cost. These are ballpark starting numbers, and every project is different, so don't hesitate to reach out to us via our contact page if you'd like to discuss architectural fees for a specific project.

  • We typically take on the following project types, but are open to more:

    • Custom residential projects - These projects range from full gut renovations and additions to new construction ADU (accessory dwelling units, in-law suites, etc.) and new construction houses. We generally focus on substantial residential projects that are major transformations and upgrades to existing homes. We intensively study the history and local vernacular to understand a building, neighborhood, or site's past and how the home can be transformed to a clients needs and requirements of modern living and design. We do occasionally take on smaller residential projects, so please do reach out if you are interested in working with us.

    • Small multi-family projects - We love working with developers who need an architect who understands the nuances of site planning, zoning, and local regulatory requirements in completing incremental development projects providing much needed density and "missing middle" housing within our cities. We are passionate about the sustainability benefits of creating gentle density within our urban zones. We focus on providing immense value through design to these types of projects, and making indoor and outdoor spaces which age with grace and are congruous with their neighbors and local vernacular.

    • Small commercial projects - We love working with local entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them create beautiful and welcoming infill commercial spaces. In our southern cities, these are usually adaptive reuse and interior upfit projects which need to be purposeful and thoughtful considering the constraints of existing structures. Constraints often result in extremely purposeful and interesting spaces. If you're opening or reimagining a local coffee shop, restaurant, bar, brewery, retail space, etc. we'd love to chat! Want to rethink your parking lot as an outdoor space? We love it!

    Have any idea about making fun, lively, interesting space? Let's chat about it!

  • The short answer is usually "no". We are much more excited about collaboratively exploring ideas about making spaces, than we are about simply drafting minimum required drawings for a permit. You are probably looking for a draftsperson who can very efficiently draw exactly what you need and the minimum necessary to obtain a permit. We typically provide what's called "full architectural services" and is a collaborative exploration of ideas and concepts to take a project from the beginning seed of an idea to a fully constructed space.

  • We offer a range of services focused on custom residential, new construction, renovations, additions, small multi-family, urban infill projects, accessory dwelling units or ADU, small commercial interior upfits, small commercial renovations and additions, and more. We're interested in a lot!

    • Full architectural services - This is a detailed, full design services from conceptual through construction management. It includes all the details, specifications and finishes selections necessary to execute a project at a high level. And we're there to answer contractor questions and observe construction to ensure the project is built well.

    • Site planning - An analysis of zoning and development regulations to identify what is legally allowed to be built. We include some initial concept sketches to help establish a development concept for budgeting. 

  • You've got our drawings, now you just need a builder, right?? Well, we think retaining an architect during construction provides immense value. The drawing purely show intent. Once construction starts, things can change, big and small. We have a lot of experience in construction and want to be there to answer questions and help solve problems that arise. Often times people don't even know about the hundreds of small questions and decisions that need to be made during construction. We want to execute your project at the highest level possible, which is why we always express the immense value an architect provides during construction.

  • Choosing an architect who will be a good fit for you project is a big decision. We don't take that lightly. We also want to make sure that your project fits with our expertise and experience so that we can execute it at an extremely high level. When you first reach out to us we'll send a short five or so questionnaire to gain an initial baseline understanding of your project. If it sounds like a good fit for us, we'll follow up with a meeting to fully understand your scope, budget, and timeline. This interview is a good way for you to get to know us too, and we'll explain how we approach our projects. From there, we'll send a proposal, and once agreed to, we'll get started!

  • We need to know your budget to understand if your program and your budget are reasonable. There is a difference between construction budget and project costs. The construction budget is just what you want to spend not including architecture, engineering, and other consultant fees. 

    We typically approach each project by including everything you want, within reason with budget in mind, then getting it priced by a contractor or two. From there we can reduce scope and cut things out if we need to reduce the construction cost. Our goal is to see your project through and make it the best it can be for you. Budgeting for construction projects is extremely complex, and we want to be your partner in getting the project completed.

  • We can absolutely help you with that! We often provide clients with site planning and feasibility studies. These involve a review of zoning and development ordinances to understand what is allowed "by-right" on a given property. Once we have an idea of the legal limitations, we can do some preliminary studies of square footage, programming, site analysis, and cost-per-square-foot estimates of a conceptual design.

  • Space is the product of development and construction. Space is not only walls, floors, and roofs. Space can be indoor and outdoor. Our objective is to create space that inspires life. Space is what we all individually and collectively occupy. You can create space by simply planting a tree in a field. Good space has a human scale, it is emotional, inspiring, and comfortable. Good space gives people a place to rest, observe, and relax. Good space communicates and transitions seamlessly with adjacent space. We make thoughtful, purposeful space.

  • Head over to our contact page and ask away! We look forward to hearing from you and will be in touch soon.

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