How to pick an Architect

 Photo by Andrew Collins  via

Photo by Andrew Collins via

As you may know by now, my wife and I are venturing down the path of building a new home. It's been a dream of mine for a long time now to design and build a home custom tailored to my life. Of course a big part of achieving that goal includes finding the right architect. 

When choosing an architect the question isn't "Who is the best architect in Austin", rather it should be "Who is the best architect in Austin for me?". Sure, on the most fundamental level you need to find someone with talent, who has a aesthetic that is similar to yours. I've compiled a short list of some of the most talented (in my opinion) modern architects in Austin that you can check out here. Beyond that however there is a whole other level that you and your architect need to connect on. I recommend talking to and interviewing several architects before you make up your mind. Of course you should talk about fees, timelines, etc. but don't forget to talk about important things like passion. "What kind of project gets you excited?" is a great question to feel out if you are a good fit for each other. 

 Edgeland house by Bercy Chen - Photo credit Dave Mead

Edgeland house by Bercy Chen - Photo credit Dave Mead

For my wife and I coming to a middle ground in the design sense was super important. I tend to be a bit boring and minimalist in my preferences. A stark white, light filled box is a slice of heaven to me. My wife has roots in northern Africa and while she appreciates modern architecture, she craves color, warmth and pattern in her living environment. Luckily the combination of these two things actually makes a pretty brilliant end result. For us finding someone who could talk minimal baseboard details with me and riads with her was clutch. 

  Cascading Creek House by Bercy Chen Studio

Cascading Creek House by Bercy Chen Studio

Ultimately we settled on Bercy Chen, who seems to be uniquely capable of meeting both of our expectations. Whether Thomas knows it or not his role of marital arbitrator is going to be just as important as his design skills. Luckily I feel confident in his ability to meet both demands. 

As of right now we have officially begun the design process and hope to have some beginning sketches and floor plans in the coming weeks. We are booking a Dec. vacation to Morocco to get some inspiration (and hopefully source some materials for the house) and I'll definitely keep you updated with the whole process as we move forward.