Who is the best person to design my home? We look at whether an architect, flow practitioner or both is best.

Deciding to build or renovate a home is one of the most expensive purchases you will make in a lifetime. Getting the right advice will protect your investment, getting the wrong advice will not just put your investment at risk, it will also bring untold stress. For most customers they assume that the only way to design a home is by using an architect and in part they would be right. However, there is a significant chunk of the design work that requires rigour that goes beyond a set of plans or technical building details in the early stages. This rigour takes the form of FLOW and optimising flow and is a completely different set of skills to the architect.

Here are my top 3 differences between using an architect v a flow practitioner in the early design stages.

  1. Architects are trained to interpret and think through the medium of sketching and drawing; flow practitioners are trained to interpret and think through the medium of observing the existing state ( how you currently live) and using data ( how much space do you use/ need) to inform a design proposal.
  2. An architect is primarily responsible for the exterior of a building and marrying the internal look and feel; the flow practitioner is interested in understanding how space will be used, how to ensure there is no wasted space and how to maximise space without adding on new space.
  3. An architect will ensure the house meets the building and planning regulations while the flow practitioner ensures that the space meets the human needs brief ( sensory and personal)

In summary if you are designing your home to get the best design we highly recommend partnering with both an architect and flow practitioner. It means that there is more than one pair of eyes on the design, you get two different skillsets that bring good design principles across regulations, design style and your own personal needs. It is so important to remember that your home is effectively a system ( people, processes ( housework or tasks) and technology ( everything you need to run the house) so optimising flow + architecture will give you the best outcome for success.

Karen Douglas is a partner in the architectural practice and a Flow Practitioner ( Lean, Six Sigma Black Belt) E: karen@dwellbeing.ie

Ronan McGee, MRIAI is partner and practice architect. E: ronan@dmgarchitects.ie


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