Schematic Design

Before you interview the architect...

The schematic design phase is the foundation of the entire project. This is the time where the architect works at gaining an understanding of what it is the owner wants to accomplish. This follows close on the heels of the programming phase and it is where the architect begins to express the possible solutions that address the owner's criteria. Schematic design is just that, these are designs that express the initial thinking of the design professional but have not progressed to the point of being engineered and detailed.

In another article we describe the process of recording the information that will guide the architect during the preliminary schematic design phase. The architect takes this information and prepares a series of preliminary drawings which expressed possible solutions. The owner reviews the schematic designs, noting features that are liked and disliked. This leads the architect to prepare other schematic designs which, hopefully, incorporate the owner's comments and move toward a final schematic design which will form the foundation of the rest of the activities in the project.

This is perhaps the most creative phase of the entire process. If we have moved into this phase correctly the owner has given the architect a series of requirements and challenges to be addressed in a design. This is also the most critical phase since this is the time when a budget will either be created or, if one exists, reconciled to the design. The failure of the design and the budget to be in sync has caused more consternation in construction than any other single factor.

If this seems to be a daunting process we can offer support services to help you reach your goals. Please visit Construction Methods for more information or to contact us.