When trying to find a suitable design firm, many people search online for ‘architects near me’ to find a practice that is close to their property or site.
A location-based search may be a sensible approach for smaller projects where the design requirements are relatively straightforward. Such projects might include a modest extension to an existing property or an internal reconfiguration. For larger projects, clients often select an architect based on their aesthetic or particular skill set, regardless of location.
|This article highlights some factors to consider when selecting a local architect and discusses the benefits of each approach.|
Architecture for London has a portfolio of projects across London and across the UK. View our projects page to see our recent work, or contact us on 020 3637 4236 to discuss your project.
Location & proximity
For smaller extensions and alterations a local architect may bring a useful understanding of the local building typologies and construction techniques. They may also have experience with the local authority planning team and relevant planning policy. They may be efficient at drawing up simple schemes and therefore more cost-effective.
Site progress image from Architecture for London’s new build low-energy house in Essex.
Having your architect near to the site may also be useful for time efficiency. Client meetings and site visits during construction will require less of the architect’s time and this might be key for projects with a constrained budget.
|As projects become higher in value, clients tend to select architects based on practice ethos, particular skills and design style rather than finding a firm near to the site.|
Practice ethos & strengths
For larger projects, local planning policy knowledge isn’t always required from an architect’s perspective. This is because the value of the project often justifies the appointment of a local planning consultant to assist with local policy issues. They would also produce a planning statement to support the application.
At a larger scale, clients often place more weight on the ethos of the architecture practice. This ethos might be defined by a sustainable approach or perhaps a reputation for finely crafted designs. Equally of value would be a strong reputation for client service or delivering to specific budgets.
A client might look for strengths and previous experience in particular sectors, for example in private residential projects or larger commercial schemes.
About Architecture for London
Architecture for London is a leading architectural practice working in London and beyond. We have a team of architects, engineers and designers, enabling us to offer the personal service of a small practice with the shared knowledge of the wider team.
|We have particular expertise in the extension and refurbishment of Georgian and Victorian homes in London, including many listed buildings.|
Further afield we are working on proposals for several new build houses in Essex, Kent and Buckinghamshire.
Our Passivhaus training enables us to offer unique insights into the design of new-build sustainable homes, regardless of location. We aim for Passivhaus standards in all our new build projects. These standards are increasing being recognised by local authorities and may even be a condition of planning. This is particularly true for country houses built under the Paragraph 79 planning rules.
Perhaps more importantly, the Passivhaus approach creates warm, comfortable and sustainable homes that are a joy to live in.
This low-energy house in Essex uses an off-site fabricated timber frame for the upper floors to reduce embodied energy.
Architecture for London has a portfolio of projects across London and further afield in the UK. View our projects page to see our recent work, or contact us on 020 3637 4236 to discuss your project.