Renovating your home: Do you really need to hire an architect?

Whether you plan on renovating a small space in your home or building a new house from scratch, there are a lot of factors to consider when undertaking such a project. One of the first decisions to make is your team; do you need to hire professionals to help you, and if so which ones? Is a contractor enough? Or do you also need an architect? You might have some reservations about hiring an architect, like the cost for example, or worries that the architect’s ideas would clash with your own, designing a space that doesn’t suit you or align with your best interests. These are all valid concerns! On the other hand however, what would the benefits be of hiring an architect and how could you remedy the concerns?

We should first probably acknowledge the elephant in the room. We are architects and as the saying goes, “never ask a hairdresser if you need a haircut!” Having said that, in this article, we do our utmost best to speak objectively and from factual experience.

The pros and cons of renovating with or without an architect. Helping you decide whether you need to hire an architect or if it is best for you to go at it alone.

hire-contractor-architect
Do not underestimate the time, money, focus and effort needed to conduct a renovation.

Whether it is one room or an entire house, undertaking a renovation project is not an easy task. If you decide to do it by yourself, make sure you have the time, energy, effort, focus, and of course skills required to complete the project. It is also very important you are prepared for some unexpected complications along the way. You may think you only need to demolish a simple wall but after the first few hits of the sledge hammer, you are faced with a surprise… you just broke through some water pipes! A small mistake like that can end up costing you a lot of extra time and money just to rectify it, at which point you still wouldn’t have come close to your original goals with the project.

Before starting any project, an architect has the ability to check all ‘invisible’ items. In this example, they would check to determine the nature of the wall, the risks, alternative safer options, the requirements for any permit, etc.  Having an architect on board would ensure all these factors are considered, and problems are avoided before they arise.

If you hire a contractor, do you still need an architect?

It is quite common for people to hire a contractor, without an architect. Many contractors would even advise you to proceed without an architect, and whilst that may seem cheaper at the beginning of the project, it doesn’t always end up being cheaper at the end. Of course certain projects can be done without an architect. In our experience, you can only get away with that when the project is a ‘one liner’, i.e. focused on a single task, and when you have the knowledge to supervise the contractors’ work. Contractors tend to work on site directly, without drawings or documents that demonstrate what they will do before they actually do it, thus depriving you from the thinking and decision process. Unfortunately, if something is done either incorrectly or not to your specifications, it can be very costly and time-consuming to undo it. The use of ‘intimidation techniques’ is not entirely uncommon, it can happen that a contractor attempts to convince you that the construction cannot be done any other, cheaper or better way. Working with contractors directly can sometimes be tricky unless you know and trust them. We have previously had clients come to us after having worked with a contractor for months, only to find themselves with more work to do than when they began.

Another potential aspect of working directly with contractors, is the fact that many tend to rely on you to come up with the design and details of the project. Many contractors simply execute what you ask them to do, sometimes without advising if it will work or not. On the contrary, when an architect is on board their first task would be to elevate the design and vision for the space, communicate it with the contractor, and of course supervise their work closely. It is also worth noting that some contractors are more thoughtful with their work when an architect is onboard. Architects expect things to be done a very specific way so they ensure nothing is done too fast or carelessly. Part of their job is to consistent quality assurance, for example confirming the right materials are being used.

While the design might be more practical and straight forward when you go straight for a contractor, it may well lack the creative features and innovative solutions that a professional architect would bring to the table.

Don’t get us wrong, not all contractors are this way. We work with some outstanding contractors that do amazing work. If you do decide to go for a contractor directly, do use the advice above to screen for the best ones!

Deciding whether you need an architect as well as a contractor is highly dependant on the vision and type of project in question.

Architects might come with some added benefits.

Beyond the obvious benefits of hiring an architect, here are a few that you may not have thought of already.

Before you start your project, it is strongly advisable to check for permits requirements and other regulations in your city. This may include compulsory setbacks, land use code, building code, construction methods and materials, timetables and also possibly environmental conditions such as including green-roofs, solar panels…etc. In addition to all these rules and regulations being difficult to locate, once you do find them, they can be difficult to understand if they are overly technical. Of course, an architect would be well aware of these regulations and how to obtain the appropriate permits. This includes helping you with preparing the necessary documents and applying for the required permits. A good architect knows the rules; a great architect would be able to come up with creative solutions that give you what you want whilst respecting these rules. They would also be able to negotiate with the city to get the approvals needed. 

Having an architect who is well-connected to contractors, subcontractors, engineers, and the industry as a whole will also benefit your project significantly. First and foremost, this would enable the architect to swiftly locate the appropriate expertise to assist with your project and provide you with several bids from several contractors. Doing so would allow you to compare several options and select the best quality/price. Discounts are another perk of having a well-connected architect, a well-connected architect could be able to negotiate significant discounts on materials, finishes, and furnishings on your behalf. While not every supplier gives discounts, some do so because the architect is a returning client for them or because they want the architect to be a returning client in the future.

AKKA Client Case Study:

We’ll give you an example of that from our own experience. For a recent client of AKKA, we were able to get a 63% discount on one single order of high-quality Italian furniture for them. This saved the client more than €7750 off the original price. A few days later, we were also able to secure another 58% on another order, saving them another €7000, resulting in a total of €14,750 saved! And this account for only 2 of the discounts we arranged for them. As you can see, a good architect can practically pay for themselves!

Whether you need an architect or not, depends on a few factors. For small renovation tasks, it might be possible to go down the DIY route, or work directly with a contractor. However, for many other types of projects, it is arguably safer and cheaper to hire an architect. This is presuming of course, that you hire the right architect: for this, see our article on How to choose the perfect-fit architect for your project. If you are able to hire a great architect it is a no brainer decision, they pay for themselves many times over by anticipating problems, avoiding mistakes and providing generous discounts!

If you are considering a new project and are looking for an architect, you can check out our website or get in touch with us, we would be happy to schedule a conversation with you and help you with any questions you may have.

Choose the perfect-fit plants for your office space

In our previous article called The benefits of introducing plants into the workplace, we discussed some of the different benefits of introducing indoor plants into your workplace. Some of these include increasing the productivity, creativity, and overall wellbeing of your employees. In this article, we will go into detail about specific indoor plants you might choose to incorporate into your office space, based on the functions and benefit they may serve.

Whilst deciding the perfect plants for your office spaces, first look at what specific function you want them to serve. Is it to simply add a pop of colour to your space? Or are you looking for plants which will provide employees with a calm atmosphere and exert fragrance? In spaces with printers and a lot of carbon in the air, you could even choose certain air purifying indoor plants. And in the case of limited space, you could opt for hanging plants.

When choosing to incorporate indoor plants into your office space, it is important to decide on the placement and variety with consideration to the specific context of the space.

workplace-plants
1. Are you looking for plants to liven up your workspace?

Opt for plants that make a statement and will grow to be a substantial size, maybe even with coloured or funky shaped leaves.

a) Ficus Lyrata or the ‘Fiddle Leaf Fig’

Ficus Lyrata is a very popular indoor plant due to its broad leaves and the fact that they can grow to almost 10ft indoors, therefore acting as prime focal plants. It needs a permanent spot in your office, so it would be perfect for an area with a lot of space, such as a conference room or a social space. This plant requires bright indirect sun, and a moderate amount of watering, especially in the summers.

b) Croton Plant 

Croton plants are colourful and rainbow hued, likely to add fun splashes of colour to your indoor space. They could either have long, narrow leaves or wider oblong leaves. Crotons are best suited to be positioned near window spaces as they require bright light to grow. They are somewhat drought tolerant, requiring less frequent watering, often only every few weeks.

c) Dracaena marginate or dragon tree

Dracaena marginate grows almost straight upwards in small tufts, which is ideal when faced with limited space. It makes a striking visual statement and is therefore perfect as an indoor plant. It can also be easily maintained, doing well in artificial light and being quite drought resistant, it only needs frequent watering during the summer period.

fiddle-leaf-fig-office-plant
croton-plant-plant
dragon-tree-plants
2. Are you looking for plants which involve the senses?

Opt for plants with a strong aroma, and/or edible plants, and/or multi-use plants.

a) Rosemary

Rosemary is a blue-flowering perennial evergreen shrub. It’s a fragrant, distinctive herb with a sweet, resinous taste. It can grow into a medium sized shrub if permitted to. They require full sun and moderate watering.

b) Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is one of the easiest plants to grow. It adds a nice pop of colour to the space and can grow quite large if allowed to. It is also multifunctional: apart from purifying the surrounding air, it can be used to treat a multitude of skin issues. It prefers bright sunlight and also hardly requires watering. It is the perfect plant to grow indoors if you are looking for an addition to your space which requires very little maintenance.

c) Lavender

With grey-green foliage, upright flower spikes, and a compact shrub shape, lavender is a well-known and fragrant herb, that can be grown indoors in your workspace. It can be potted, or even hung in a warm spot with air circulation. It thrives in full sun, well-drained soil and tolerates most growing conditions. Though it initially requires quite a bit of watering, it is drought resistant after a while. Lavender’s scent is also known for its relaxing effects, ideal for creating a calm working environment.

rosemary-office-plant
aloe-vera-plant
lavender-plant
3. Are you looking for plants that could help purify the air in your workspace?

Opt for one of the following varieties.

a) Monstera Deliciosa or ‘Swiss Cheese Plant’

Monstera Deliciosa gets its name from the typical nature of its large leaves with holes and spits in them, They lend an exotic yet cosy feel to your space. This species is known to grow large in size, therefore you could opt for this if you have large open spaces. It requires lots of indirect sunlight, thriving in an environment that is not too hot. It is easy to manage without much fuss, but does require watering often since it needs humid conditions to thrive.

b) Asplenium nidus or Bird’s Nest Fern

Asplenium nidus has pale green long leaves that have rippled edges, and these lend a particularly unique look to the plant. It purifies the air well and filters out chemicals. The plant also requires indirect light, and works well in humid locations. It requires little watering, but frequent misting of the fern. Doing so possibly a few times a week would help the plant thrive since it grows best in humid conditions.

c) Zamioculcas zamiifolia or ZZ Plant

Zamioculcas zamiifolia has large glossy dark green leaves and is good to be grown in indoor spaces since it increases the indoor oxygen levels and thus promotes a fresher, healthier environment. The plant needs very little maintenance and is ideal for office spaces where it might be difficult to take care of indoor plants. It requires indirect light and can thus be placed away from the windows.  It requires watering only every few weeks.

monstera-office-plant
birds-nest-fern-plant
Zamioculcas-zamiifolia-plant
4. Do you have limited space available?

Opt for vertical plants and/or hanging plants.

a) Chlorophytum Comosum or ‘Spider Plant’

Chlorophytum comosum has long leaves or ‘spiderettes’ and grows outwards. The dangling nature of the leaves makes it a vibrant and dynamic addition to the office space. This plant is known to purify air rapidly, so it is ideal for spaces used by a lot of people. It is also very easy to care for as it requires indirect sunlight. It also only needs little water, which means that this plant does not need much time devoted to its maintenance. 

b) Hedera Helix or ‘English Ivy’

Hedera Helix is an evergreen perennial plant, growing to long vertical lengths. It has evergreen leaves, appearing the same all year round. It grows in partial to full shade, thus would be perfect for corners far from windows. It needs protection from both winter winds and harsh sun. It requires less watering, but a fair amount of trimming maintenance considering it is a fast-growing species.

c) Philodendron Scandens

Apart from being able to grow in tiny vertical spaces, Philodendron scandens are also known to have air purifying properties. The vining type of Philodendron often needs a support, while the vertical type can grow directly out of a pot. It grows best near windows, usually requiring partial sunlight and moderate amount of watering.

spider-office-plant
English-Ivy-plant
Philodendron-Scandens-plant

Indoor plants are the perfect addition to offices, especially in supporting your employees’ well-being and adding a bit of texture and colour to the space. Supplementing your office space in this way could provide extra encouragement when welcoming your employees back to the office. However not all plants work well in all spaces, therefore be sure to make your choices based on your specific space and the desired function you want from the plant. An effective way to do this is by comparing the benefits and attributes they each offer.

Incorporating indoor plants into your space will not only add aesthetic value but also help those who inhabit it feel better. Having indoor plants encourages creativity and promotes productivity and better-quality work from your employees (As mentioned in a study by Robertson Cooper: Human Spaces: The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace, 2015)1. Plants improve the company culture and atmosphere of your office, therefore why not choose indoor plants to spruce up your office in time for your employees’ return?

 If you are considering adding indoor plants to your office space or renovating your office space all together, and would like some help to decide which plants could work best for you, get in touch with us. We would be happy to help with any questions you may have.

The first most important quality that your workplace architect should have is: An aligned vision.

“Greatness starts with a clear vision of the future”

Would you rather have a colleague do a good job, or a great job? For most people, the answer to that question is easy. Great success stories are better than good ones. Great sales are better than good sales. When you are investing in a new workplace for your team, you want a great architect – not just a good one. And, as Sinek puts it, greatness starts with a vision.

One of the most important qualities in an architect is their vision. This translates into two questions: do they have one? And does it align with your organization’s vision? Everyone sees the world a little bit differently, and every architect will have a different vision – assuming they have one – of how the world should be, what the responsibilities of an architect are, what the relationship with clients and inhabitants should look like and how architecture can contribute to a better world.

When you are investing in a new workplace for your team, you want a great architect – not just a good one.

Architect's first most important quality for your workplace

When deciding on an architect to design your next workplace, it is not good enough that he/she has a vision. Their vision needs to align with the vision, values and goals of your own organization. As a workplace professional, whether Human Resources, Facility Managers or Corporate Real Estate managers, it is usually part of your scope to translate the organization’s vision and goals into the daily operations and manifestations of the company. Your workplace is no exception. It too, needs to represent as well as enable your vision, values and goals. Your architect needs to not only understand this but also embrace it. 

Your architect has to understand the goals of your business, and put them ahead of the aesthetics of the building.

Architect's first most important quality for your workplace
Architect's first most important quality for your workplace
Architect's first most important quality for your workplace

“The right workplace can accelerate your results and maximize your impact”

For the design of your workplace, you want to avoid an architect who sees your project as an opportunity to experiment with form. You even want to avoid architects that have a vision, if their vision is not connected to yours. In both the above cases, while the project may or may not turn out beautiful, it will surely not be one that nurtures your teams.At its worst, an architect who forces their own design on the company may make it impossible for the company to grow. Recent research has shown that “Workplace design needs then to be recognized for its role in work processes, not merely as an exercise to develop a three-dimensional representation of the brand or as a conundrum to match headcount with lettable area”1. Imagine trying to run a stock exchange in a daycare, or a veterinarian office from a public pool. Although these examples are extreme, an architect with a vision that does not match yours can make it that hard to work in your new environment. You want your architect to understand the goals of your business, and put them ahead of the aesthetics of the building. This does not mean an excuse for a workplace lacking aesthetics. As Stephanie Hughes says “beauty is not a luxury, it is essential”. A well-designed workplace will have both and place aesthetics at the service of the quality of the interactions it nurtures.

As a workplace professional, in your search for the perfect architect, remember to check for their vision and verify the alignment of visions and values. While there are many things you want to be checking for, at the core of it all, interview your architect to find out if their vision revolves around people. People are the core of it and a great starting point. According to the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being, “well-being in the workplace is considered the outcome of workplace interactions.”2. The more you focus on the quality of workplace interactions within your team, the more you will benefit from higher productivity, lower turn over, and happier employees.

What better way to improve the quality of a building, than to find an architect whose vision involves promoting positive workplace interactions? An architect with this sort of vision can help bridge the gap between where you are now, and where you want to go, by giving you the workplace that supports your daily interactions at work.

So when it comes to finding the best architect to design your workplace, the first most important qualities you are looking for is an aligned vision.There is however, a second most important quality to look for when hiring an architect for your workplace design: click here to read all about it.

 We believe that space is a strategic tool that can foster interactions, and any added value or innovation, small or large, starts with interactions. Interactions are the seeds of innovation. At the intersection of the main forms of interaction – creativity, collaboration and learning –added value emerges. Are you interested in learning about our vision at AKKA and how it can support your workplace design? Download here the excerpt of the book The Power of Interactions.

Align and Engage your entire workforce to achieve massive growth in your Organisation.

Is an architect enough for relocating or redesigning your workplace?

Sometimes it isn’t enough to put a fresh coat of paint or throw around a few Fatboys, to improve your workplace. If you’ve outgrown your current workplace, in size or in quality, meaning, you need to improve the design of your current workplace, you will need an architect in order to make those changes. But is an architect even enough?

If you’re hoping to make your office a workplace that truly enables your employees to be their best, an architect may not be enough. Architects tend to look purely at the form and function of an office space, to the exclusion of a lot else. As an architect myself, I can tell you, many opportunities are lost due to that narrow focus, including opportunities to make your employees happier, healthier, and more productive. Even if you select an architect with a vast experience and well-developed skills, and even if you do end up with a beautiful and functional workplace, you could be harming your employees rather than supporting and nurturing them.

It should come as no surprise to those who have experienced working in a positive environment that positive interactions in the workplace and happiness are directly linked.1We’re happier when we get along with the people we work with, and when the workplace we go to every day is designed to make our work more meaningful and our quality of life better.

Many opportunities are lost due to that narrow focus, including opportunities to make your employees happier, healthier, and more productive.

architect for redesigning your workplace

When designing and planning your new workplace, it is not enough to have someone focused on form and function. You need someone that has a good understanding of ‘flow’: meaning how people interact with each other. Most importantly, the design of the workplace not only needs to take into account how people interact in the workplace; it is to be designed in order to nurture people’s interactions in the workplace.

A great design will take into account the form, function, and flow in a space. Think about how a person walks from one place to another. Will they be tempted to cut through another person’s workplace because it is faster, constantly disrupting them? A good design will make it so that the natural flow of a building doesn’t disrupt any workers. Even better, the natural flow will be designed to create added value for all people in the company.

If you’re wondering who can help you design and build such a utopia-sounding workplace, you’ll be right to think that your architect should — but many won’t. You’ll want to make sure the architect you choose has the vision, the strategies and the experience, of designing for interactions. Bear in mind, that an experience designing workplaces does not automatically translate into an experience designing for interactions. We all know too many beautiful and even functional buildings that make their inhabitants miserable.

Unlike the majority of architects, you’re looking for an architect with a deep understanding of human interactions, an architect that is also a Workplace Interactions Expert.

A great design will take into account the form, function, and flow in a space.

architect for redesigning your workplace
architect for redesigning your workplace
architect for redesigning your workplace
How to find a Workplace Interactions Expert architect

Architects with experience in workplace interactions are out there, and they can elevate not only the look and feel and functionality but also the entire experience of your workplace. Whether you are starting from scratch, or just updating an old facility, a Workplace Interactions Architect is your key to increasing productivity and creating a workplace that is easy, nurturing and enjoyable to work in.

Luckily, the effect of architecture on people’s well-being, performance and happiness is catching on in the architectural world, as more people are understanding the value of it.2 Smart offices, the use of color, texture, and natural lighting in the workplace, as well as other less obvious features of architecture that balance human health and productivity, are becoming more and more popular.

While most architects still look at a building purely in terms of how it looks, Workplace Interactions Architects are gaining momentum, as more and more clients, specially HR, FM and CRE3 managers as well as other workplace professionals, demand the best quality of workplaces for their employees.

If you are wondering whether the architects you are considering are Workplace Interactions Experts, a shortcut for you is to pick up the phone and first talk to them and listen closely to the language and words they use. You also would want to back their talk with their projects and past clients, so do check their work and their references. Architects that truly design for interactions are usually very passionate about what they do, and it will not be difficult to spot. You’ll be able to tell them apart from others through their focus on human interactions. Look for someone who wants to design the workplace in a way that fosters human interactions. That should be reflected both in their vision as well as their process. You surely can’t expect architects who work in the same customary process as every other architect to deliver a workplace that surpasses every other workplace!

During your search, you may be tempted to simply hire an architect to do the building side of things, and a Workplace Interactions Expert who is not an architect to make changes from there. A Workplace Interactions Expert who is not an architect may not be easily able to translate those interactions into the design of the space itself. You need both skills, ideally in the same party.

While they aren’t many and they surely aren’t common, great Workplace Interactions Architects do exist, if you can just find them. You need them in order to have a workplace that is nurturing and enabling for your employees. Simply relocating or updating your office space is not enough. Real change involves creating a workplace that is innovative not in terms of form or function, but rather in terms of flows, interactions, employee experience and happiness.

 We believe that space is a strategic tool that can foster interactions, and any added value or innovation, small or large, starts with interactions. Interactions are the seeds of innovation. At the intersection of the main forms of interaction – creativity, collaboration and learning –added value emerges. Would you like to learn more? Download here the excerpt of the book The Power of Interactions.

Align and Engage your entire workforce to achieve massive growth in your Organisation.

A case study that explains how the design of your workplace can help increase team engagement and boost employee productivity.

This practical case study will show you how your workplace can help you increase team engagement and boost employee productivity in your organisation, so you can solve the main employee related issues that HR Managers, like you, are facing today.

For this case study, we have selected The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)¹, one of our clients in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The large complex building where KIT is housed is the Dutch House of the Sustainable Development Goals²
, (SDG). It is a complex that houses KIT (The Royal Institute of the Tropics) as well as a number of tenants; all companies all working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

When KIT approached us, the institute was facing a major challenge caused by a low level of interactions in the workplace among the different departments, as well as with its guest tenants. Over the few years prior, parts of the institute were relocated several times and the departments were divided over several non-connected spaces.

Your workplace can help you increase team engagement and boost employee productivity in your organisation.

team engagement boost productivity

We took the project on and started the four phased AKKA process. After we started engaging with the teams in KIT, we revealed that there was a strong need for unity. They desired “one” KIT within KIT’s core team as well as with its guest tenants.
In order to achieve this vision of unity in feeling and in practice, we redesigned their workplace entirely, relocated some departments and created a centralized space dedicated to KIT’s core team, as well as other spaces shared with the tenants.
Additionally, common shared spaces were created to foster interactions and connections among the different tenants and between KIT and the tenants. The interior and the colour palettes were carefully chosen to visually represent the identities of the different groups of parties: namely KIT, tenants and the SDG house.

Common shared spaces can be created to foster interactions and connections among the different users of a space.

team engagement boost productivity
team engagement boost productivity
team engagement boost productivity

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.”

On the practical logistics side of things, since KIT teams as well as tenants were working in the space itself all throughout the period of construction, we had to phase the construction work and design the planning to accommodate for an uninterrupted work flow of all teams. During the design process we also made sure that work was done only when necessary and as many items as possible were re-used or re-purposed in order to save resources, hence supporting KIT’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Space is a strategic tool that can foster interactions and this vision is at the core of the work we do. In fact, at the end of the project, based – in post-project interviews we invited all employees to – , we were able to conclude that team engagement increased and the re-designed workplace helped with boosting productivity amongst users. 

Additional collected inforamtion based on what employees have stated at the end of the project:

  • Pride in the new workplace and willingness to invite a client in, increased by 65%
  • The new workplace environment has enabled people to ‘feel good’ / ‘feel better60,5% more than before the re-design.
  • The number of employees that reported that the new space facilitates their different needs throughout the different times of the day has tripled (300%).
  • 90% of employees report feeling positive due to the colours, look-and-feel, and furniture scheme in the new space. 
  • The number of employees that believe that the new workplace captures what KIT stands for, has doubled after the re-design.

This project illustrates how the workplace can be designed and optimised to solve many of the issues you may be facing as a senior HR manager such as the need to increase team engagement, boost productivity, decrease employee turnover, increase employee well-being and foster healthy interactions amongst employees.

To find out how optimising your workplace can help you retain your employees by fostering better social interactions, download here AKKA’s Innovative Workplace Expert guide, which contains the full version of this case study and more practical examples of other projects that show you how AKKA has increased team engagement and boost productivity over and over again for small, medium and large organizations, in a variety of industries and countries from around the world.

Use your workplace as a strategic tool to attract and retain the best talent.

If you have problems maximizing turnover, fostering more meaningful interactions in your workplace or engaging millennials, the solution is in your workplace. More precisely, it is in designing workplaces that are in alignment with your goals and vision. After all, your workplace is where your employees spend most of their time and it has a tremendous influence on how they feel and perform. As much as your workplace can work against you, there is also an opportunity to make work for you. See our article: The fast and easy solution to retain employees in your workplace.​

When you have decided to set yourself and your colleagues up for success by optimising your workplace, the next thing is hiring the right architect for your workplace.

Hiring the right architect for your workplace design can be difficult and overwhelming.

hiring architect workplace

In order to help you make the right decision, I share here the 3 common yet fatal mistakes that most companies make when hiring an architect for their workplace:

Mistake #1: Choosing unchallenging architects.

The first mistake is to select unchallenging architects. By this I mean, architects who would take your ideas and translate them into a design for your company, without attempting to enrich them. While this may sound acceptable, it is a waste of an opportunity for you, as well as a waste of your resources. I believe it is the architect’s responsibility to help you create, enrich and sharpen your vision before rushing into creating an actual workplace design that will embody it. Creating a workplace is a very strategic opportunity and as an architect myself, I believe that your architect’s aim should be to help you not only enrich your ideas but indeed, offer you new ideas to present you with a range so that when you reach the final vision, it is not because it was the only thing you may have had in mind, but it is because you have explored enough directions to know this is your desired one. Creating the briefing for the project, understanding what the question is, and what it can be is as important as answering the question with a design; and too many architects rush to design before spending enough attention on your question and your real needs as a client.

hiring architect workplace
hiring architect workplace
hiring architect workplace
Mistake #2: Choosing architects who consider only the physical aspects of your workplace.

The second fatal mistake clients make when hiring an architect for their workplace is that they select architects who focus only on what space is and its physical attributes, rather than what space can do and create beyond itself. This is a very understandable mistake since most architects do not concern themselves with the space beyond form, square meters, and functions. Architects are trained to deal with form, and so, they focus, design and deliver the form of a space, what it looks like, its sizes, proportions, and functions. While this is all needed, it is a fatal mistake to only consider space in its physical aspects. I believe that your workplace can, and should help your employees have better interactions, better collaboration and indeed perform better work. In addition to creating the most beautiful and functional space in terms of physical attributes, I believe that your architect should aim to create a space that first, embodies your vision, values and business model and second, a space that proactively helps your employees live those values, and create the work and impact they are aiming for. Your workplace should not only house your activities, but indeed support them, enrich them, and trigger better interactions between employees. This will ensure that your new workplace design empowers your employees, supports your business model and serves your client better. All in all, I believe it is totally realistic to expect and demand from your workplace design to help accelerate
and optimise your work and the impact you aim to make in this world. Your workplace can be designed to do exactly that. The problem is that not many architects know how to create a workplace that can foster the interactions needed for it. So when hiring an architect for your workplace, look for an architect that has a vision and experience around workplace interactions.

Mistake #3: Choosing architects who leave when the project is completed.

The third fatal mistake clients usually make when hiring an architect for their workplace is that they select an architect who will end their involvement right at the end of implementation, including construction, installation and delivery of all items are completed. Again, this is a very understandable mistake since no architects – as far as we know – offer what I call an adapting phase. What I would recommend is that you select an architect that is ccustomed to staying beyond the end of construction in order to, on the one hand help your employees settle in the new workplace and on the other hand to learn from their behaviour in order to improve the workplace when and where needed, and refine and fine­tune the details that make all the difference.

Are you interested in knowing more about what you can expect from your architect? Are you curious about what an architecture vision can be and how it can help you and your company innovate and succeed? Download here the book The Power of Interactions and get to know the vision and process of AKKA Architects, and most importantly, how it can help you. 

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“We would like to express our gratitude for the time you invested in helping us get to a clear picture.  Anna and I really appreciated the call we had with you, your responsiveness, and the great empathy that you exhibited throughout – we certainly felt very “well taken care of” when engaging with you.  On the practical side, we especially appreciated that there was the option to obtain robust bottom-up cost estimates for the construction itself (not every design architect offers this).”

-Private Client of AKKA

 

 

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