The methods of finding an architect can differ greatly and depend on the type of project. But regardless of your project’s size and complexity, or its budget, an architect will make your life easier. You don’t need a ‘top rated’, or ‘award winning’ architect, you just need one who fits your project, your style, similar values and most importantly someone who will listen to you and methodically get to know you.
Word of mouth. Personal referrals have always been the most common approach to really finding anything. So ask your friends, family, co-workers or a stranger who is having his house built.
Look around. If you drive by a house or business and something about it grabs your attention, or you’re visiting a friend who just had an addition done, ask about it. If it’s under construction look for a sign, the builder will likely have his sign but maybe not the architect. Chances are if it got your attention an architect is involved. If you can’t find a sign don’t go wondering around the site, it’s still trespassing. Note the address instead (or an adjacent property), then call the town hall. All permitted projects are public record and the architect will be listed.
The Internet. Let’s face it, if you can find someone who will groom your pet hamster, you can find an architect. A good place to start is a general search, which will at least point you in the right direction. There are a few sites that will match you up with someone based on a few questions about your project, but you will still have to screen the architect yourself. Find a website that has a forum for people to discuss any topic, and don’t discount Craigslist either, it has become a sound resource for both sides of the service industry. The American Institute of Architects provides a listing of architects and their area of specializations. Yet, you should know that just because an architect is not listed does not mean he or she is a fraud. The AIA is a voluntary membership, and not all architects choose to join the organization.
Printed media. If you’re old school or just feel more comfortable with something in your hands, architects can also be found in magazines or newspaper articles. To find someone local, find a magazine that focuses on your area. If your local Sunday newspaper has an ‘Arts’ or ‘Style’ section there will likely be articles and small adds that can provide valuable information.
Finding that perfect fit is possible, but whether or not the architect of your choice is available might be another matter. Perhaps a 2nd or even a 3rd or 4th choice is not a bad idea. Take your time, it’s your project and your decision, one that will determine a smooth journey or a rocky one. So don’t rush it.photo used w/ creative commons license