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Looking for an architect/designer who listens around Canberra

By bywongqueen - 2 October 2011 23

We have been trying to make plans for a significant renovation to our property for a number of years but having difficulty getting our ideas and needs on paper. We would appreciate suggestions or recommendations from people who have been through this process.

We would like an architect or designer who has experience with solar passive, is interested in recycling and who can listen to our needs and ideas and present options that meet these needs. We would also like a professional who can outline a design process – series of meetings or something like that – so we can understand what we are doing and why.

Thanks

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23 Responses to
Looking for an architect/designer who listens around Canberra
Ryoma 8:23 am 06 Oct 11

Hi Bywong Queen

I cannot comment directly upon their work, but I have recently had dealings with a firm called Jigsaw Housing. They are currently trying to work out how they can build an 8-Star house for under $200K, and they held a public meeting back in September to actually ask the public what was wanted in the design of such a house.

They were polite and friendly to a hugely enthusiastic (over-excited!) audience that night, and were open-minded about all questions put to them. Together with their own energy assesment person (Jennifer), I think they may have left existing roles so as to work together on the type of jobs they are passionate about.

Even if they are flat out with the 8 Star/200K House at the moment, they may be able to point you in a good direction. Good luck! 🙂

bywongqueen 8:44 am 05 Oct 11

Hi all
Thanks for most of the extremely positive suggestions – I have them all noted and will chase them up. Thanks also to the defenders of my “aggressiveness” – definitely think I wouldn’t work with anyone who thought asking politely for what you want is aggressive. Keep the positive suggestions coming!

madamcholet 4:02 pm 03 Oct 11

I contacted Archicentre and had to chase them up twice before I even heard back from anyone – not a good look given that their whole premise is to provide advice. By then it was too late as we had already engaged architects.

artuoui 11:21 am 03 Oct 11

Recently had a good experience working with Phillips & Associates, who Archicentre referred to us. If you haven’t done this already, try Archicentre to see what they charge and whether their services suit you. I know there’s a fee upfront, but in the overall budget for a significant renovation its not huge – and sooner or later you’re going to have to start laying out money to get the house you want.

I-filed 10:41 am 03 Oct 11

Clown Killer said :

Sounds like your after a draftsman rather than an architect. The former are likely to be more adept at converting your specific requirements into workable plans. Architects will interpret your goals and come up with their own design rather than simply draw up what you were thinking of. A word of warning though – be careful of what you wish for – the vast majority of owner/draftsman designed buildings are dead easy to pick as you drive down the street – they’re the butt-ugly ones.

+1

Clown Killer 10:25 am 03 Oct 11

Sounds like your after a draftsman rather than an architect. The former are likely to be more adept at converting your specific requirements into workable plans. Architects will interpret your goals and come up with their own design rather than simply draw up what you were thinking of. A word of warning though – be careful of what you wish for – the vast majority of owner/draftsman designed buildings are dead easy to pick as you drive down the street – they’re the butt-ugly ones.

yellowsnow 2:47 am 03 Oct 11

yellowsnow said :

Or are you saying that Canberra is the architects’ equivalent of Seinfeld’s ‘Chirotown’?

correction: that should have read “The Simpsons’ Chirotown” … as in that immortal line “Forget it, Homer, it’s Chirotown”

yellowsnow 2:37 am 03 Oct 11

I-filed said :

Just sayin’ – your post sounds quite aggressive and as though you aren’t interested in a two-way process, a collaboration. A good architect won’t take on a bossy client. Based on your post alone, I wouldn’t take you on …

Really? I didn’t get that impression at all. Anyway you make it sound like getting an architect is like getting into a popular nightclub. I don’t think Bywongqueen is looking to hire Gehry or Frank Lloyd Wright, she (or he) is looking for just your above average Canberra architect, who surely can’t be that choosy and surely will accept a job, and if not one of their equally competent competitors will. Or are you saying that Canberra is the architects’ equivalent of Seinfeld’s ‘Chirotown’?

I-filed 12:32 am 03 Oct 11

Just sayin’ – your post sounds quite aggressive and as though you aren’t interested in a two-way process, a collaboration. A good architect won’t take on a bossy client. Based on your post alone, I wouldn’t take you on …

LSWCHP 11:36 pm 02 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

Richard Butt ?, man he must have got a hard time at school,

A mate of mine from the Butt clan once went to America and got a lot of quizzical looks when he was introduced to people. When he came back he said that if he ever had to go over there again he was going to change his surname to something uncontroversial, like “Arsehole”. 🙂

angrymonkey 7:58 pm 02 Oct 11

shadow boxer said :

Richard Butt ?, man he must have got a hard time at school,

It understand in this case “Ric” is short for Eric.

+ 1 for his work

shadow boxer 7:25 pm 02 Oct 11

Richard Butt ?, man he must have got a hard time at school,

Deref 4:25 pm 02 Oct 11

Rick Butt from Strine Design was superb, but it looks as if he may have retired now.

Sammy 3:47 pm 02 Oct 11

I hear very good things about Russell Wombey. I think he’s based out Wamboin way, and he was building solar passive homes in Canberra (including for himself in Kambah) before many people had even heard of solar passive.

madamcholet 1:57 pm 02 Oct 11

We have just engaged an architect to design an extension to our house. We saw two architects during our decision process – the first whom shall remain nameless was a company openly stating their green credentials. Their process dictated that our first meeting was in their office. The discussion was all fair enough, however we noted that their fees had jumped considerably from their flyers and that it seemed very much as if we would be shelling out about 10k to just get sketch designs which for a small extension job seemed ludicrous.

The second company we saw is called Ryall Design, whom we have since engaged to draw up our plans. As opposed to the first mob, Jess and Tristan came to our house, looked at our property and talked for as long as we required in order to find out wat we wanted. They even discussed other plans we have for the house that would not require their services and gave me some ideas. I will admit that we have yet to see the first round of designs, but I will have to say, I am pretty confident given their attention through our disucssions. Again, unlike the other mob, the costs were reasonable and included plans suitable for a DA and a builder. Their website is ryalldesign.com.au and they do seem from their information to care about the environmental impact of their designs – we certainly discussed solar options for heating etc. .

BTW I got their number form RA in the first instance.

Good luck.

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