Selecting the right architect for your residential building project whether you are building a new home or renovating your existing home needs careful consideration. It is always a good idea for owners of older homes who may not know who the original Architects were, to visit your local town planning office and request of copy of the plans to determine who the firm was, particularly if you like the architecture.
Residential Architects are under increasing pressure from home builders to come up with energy efficient designs, using materials and design elements to make homes that consume less energy as a unique selling feature. The result of these design innovations are homes that offer more open spaces and better lifestyle experiences while making people more aware of the environment that we live in.
It is often best to buy an existing home and renovate it, than to build from scratch with the cost of a new home far outweighing the cost of an existing home and should consider renovation finance options if you see a home in an area you like.
If you are building from scratch, selecting your architect should be looked at from a budget basis. Some Architects, like those in Hometolife are well known and tend to be for the more upmarket owner who has a budget for their home in the R5million + range. The likes of Peerutin Architects and Greg Wright Architects are Cape Town Architects who have produced some of the most innovative and exciting Architectural designs that have an environmental aspect that is quite unique and along the lines of what we should all be considering in an environment where energy efficiency is of prime importance.
Residential Architecture is all too often seen as a means to an end, that end being the cheapest possible construction of a dwelling that has x bedrooms and x bathrooms so that developers can make as much as possible from their land. We like to think that home buyers are a lot more concerned with lifestyle in the rapidly developing South Africa and more emphasis needs to be put on living spaces including communal recreation areas. All too often we see developments where the recreation area is made up of what is left after the developers have found the cheapest way to construct the dwellings, whereas the right way to go about it should be to lay out the lifestyle areas first and then design the dwelling layout, taking into consideration the environment and privacy of each and every dwelling. I don’t think that developers of high density units ever ask themselves the question, “Would I be happy to live there” or “Am I proud of what I have built”