Architectural Design Process

Design begins with an opportunity to seize– and a problem to solve.

The idea takes shape as the owner and I imagine possibilities for the space and consider elements like natural light, color, proportion, materials, and methods of construction.

Together, we will aim for sound, durable designs that delight and balance utility and beauty.  And throughout the design and construction process, sustainability will inform our decisions.

Although design is an iterative process, it is not always linear.  I guide my clients through the many choices and decisions each project entails.   

Five phases of work comprise the architectural design process:


In this phase of work, we establish the program and scope of work. I take measurements and photographs of the existing conditions in order to produce accurate base drawings for the design work. I also review the applicable codes.

Schematic Design

After understanding and confirming the scope of work with the client, I explore conceptual approaches to accommodating the program and prepare free-hand drawings to scale that show you options for design solutions in plan, section, and elevation. We would then give one or more builders your preferred scheme for preliminary pricing.

Design Development

The design development phase of work begins after the client picks one schematic design. I develop the schematic drawings by adding more detail to explain the design solution more fully.  If desired, I assist with fixtures, materials, and finishes. We would use the design development drawings to seek an updated cost estimate.

Construction Documents

With the client’s approval, we would move into the construction documents phase. The construction documents, comprised of working drawings and specifications, are the architect’s instruments of service. They define the scope of work expected of the contractor and form the basis for your contract with the contractor. These are the drawings that will be submitted to for a building permit. I can help either with putting the construction documents out to bid or with negotiating with one contractor.

Construction Administration

Once construction is underway, I observe progress on the job, answer questions as needed, and provide additional drawings or details as requested by the contractor.

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