Design Process

We believe that the successful completion of a quality building project is the result of a positive and professional working relationship between Owner and Architect. Ideally, we apply our experience and expertise to a project in balance with your knowledge of your institution and its business.

Communication is the key to this relationship. As our client, you will be an active participant in the planning and design process, and will be party to the evolution of the project every step of the way.

We don’t have a one-size-fits-all design signature that we apply to each project. Rather, we listen to what you tell us, alternately following and leading as appropriate to create a project that reflects your vision.

Noted below are some basic steps in our design process including: programming, program confirmation, schematic design, design development, contract documents, construction administration, budget and schedule. Some projects may have fewer steps, depending on the scale, but generally this is our approach.


Many clients come to the architect with this information, which is a basic list of the project parameters, including a preliminary idea of required square footage, cost parameters, and general ideas of what spaces are contained in the building. If you don’t have this information, we can help you develop it.

Program Confirmation

For those clients who have already developed a program, this is the logical first step in the process. We will review your project parameters and refine and confirm your early project assumptions. We’ll consider things such as your future growth, project physical context, sustainability, maintainability, budget, schedule, and a myriad of other factors to ensure that the project gets off on the right foot.

Schematic Design

Utilizing the program as a guide, we will interact with you and your project representatives to develop the basics of the project. Various concepts will be developed and tested to ultimately arrive at a solution appropriate to develop further.

Design Development

Using the schematic design as a basis, our team will facilitate design sessions incorporating more detail into the project, including materials, infrastructure systems, construction detailing, and specifications. At the end of this phase, the design of the project will be substantially complete.

Contract Documents

Complete and coordinated documents will be prepared to obtain the most competitive bid or proposal possible. All aspects of design will continue to be refined and finalized during this phase to provide a buildable set of documents. Generally, these documents consist of drawings and specifications.

Construction Procurement/Construction Administration

Whether the project is competitively bid or a non-bid delivery method is chosen, we will aid you in procuring construction services, suggesting contractors, answering questions about the documents, and aiding in the preparation of agreements. During construction, we will provide observation in the field at agreed-upon intervals or any of a variety of more comprehensive representation services.

Project Budget

Eventually, it all comes down to money. There is no project if it can’t be paid for. During each of the above phases of design, our team will develop a probable cost of construction and compare it against the established project budget to ensure that cost parameters are maintained. Our opinion of probable cost will be refined to greater detail at each successive phase of the project. We are proud of our track record of estimating, utilizing in-house and external consulting dependent on the project.

Project Schedule

Schedule is always critical. We will work to understand your schedule and how the construction project fits into it. Consideration is given to programmatic milestones, funding, and seasonal constraints; phasing, swing space, and current commitments. Also, we have a great deal of experience in projects that are adjacent to occupied spaces that must be kept operational, and the schedule and design constraints that are part of this type of work. We work closely with construction professionals to ensure that there is a common vision for the project schedule. As with the project budget, the schedule is refined through the various design phases as more information is available.