Design-Minded: What We Think About When We Design
Claire Brunner, one of our architectural designers, has been with Sketchworks for seven months. She’s worked on some interesting projects for us, including an office renovation for BMO Harris, some small multi-tenant exteriors, a big-box store renovation and she’s assisted on some larger apartments. Claire takes an analytical approach to her designs, preferring to think critically about every element of the space. It’s especially important to her to take a step-by-step process with each project.
So what goes on in the mind of an architect when they’re starting a fresh project? Claire lends us insight by ticking off a solid list of what she thinks about when dreaming up plans for a new design:
- Thinking about previous projects that are similar in size and use.
- Looking at other projects a client has done if they’re a repeat customer.
- Gaining inspiration from furniture or fixture catalogs. Sometimes, it’s easier to plan out spaces when the architect knows which fixtures will be used and how they’ll be in particular spaces.
- Taking into account building code, especially with the new guidelines, which can predetermine how big or small specific spaces can be.
But there’s more that goes into it than just building code and CAD work. There’s a little creative juju that goes into it, too. Claire says “elements such as materials or specific functions from restaurants and offices can help influence how a plan is made. [For example], focal elements like a ceiling or an interesting wall feature can even be pulled from dining and hospitality projects and be adapted for other project types to add interest.”
When working on new plans, timelines can certainly vary, depending on what the client needs. Some plans can take as little as one day, if it’s a small project in an existing space. If it’s a new construction project, Claire says the plans could take more than a week, pending on the “amount of detail and number of options.”
And it’s those special details that make a project special. Claire says client BMO Harris, whose office she worked on, is putting a large wall graphic of the Capitol building in their café space that was selected early on by the local staff. It lends a sense of place that makes customers feel at home.
“The local staff wanted to go beyond the standard wall covering options, and instead choose a graphic with the state capitol to personalize their café space,” Claire explains. “It adds an unexpected pop of color and puts a piece of local art in their new local office.”