How to Find the Best Architects in Marin CountyArchitects in Marin County are the backbone of the building industry, providing structural evaluation and design plans for new construction, complete architectural design, and many other architectural services in Marin County, whether you need residential architects to design your new home or remodel, or commercial architects for a commercial/industrial project, or any style from traditional architects to modern architects (contemporary architects).
The following research by The Prime Buyer's Report identifies the best architects in Marin County and issues related to hiring them.
Updated September 27, 2013
|Stewart Lyons Architects|
18 Foss Ave
San Anselmo, CA 94960
|Daniel Macdonald Architects|
1595 Grant Ave # 200
Novato, CA 94945
Areas Served: Marin County incl. San Rafael, Sausalito, Mill Valley, Ross, Tiburon, Belvedere
7110 Redwood Blvd
Novato, CA 94945
Areas Served: Marin, Novato, Sausalito, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Tiburon, San Anselmo, Woodacre
|Kappe & Du Architects|
801 D St
San Rafael, CA 94901
Areas Served: Novato, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Sausalito, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Tiburon, Fairfax
Architects in Marin County must be licensed by the state to ensure competency for your protection, with requirements including an exam, education, and previous work experience.
They are not legally required by law to have professional liability insurance; however, all architects bearing The Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have professional liability insurance coverage which reimburses you in the event of a mistake that causes you loss, in addition to passing all other requirements for The Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 status such as our phone calls with previous clients to verify high satisfaction, verified license, clean complaint record, and more.
Architects in Marin County Provide Many Services From Design to Completion
Some architects in Marin County develop new designs and structural plans, but all architects essentially transform concepts into plans and images to be used by construction and building firms. Unlike building designers that hail from the contracting field, architects can read your personality and lifestyle to create the perfect personalized blueprints, regardless of whether or not you can articulate your basic preferences. But architects do come from different design and functional backgrounds, so, as you will see, finding the right type of architect is essential.
While conducting your search for the best architects or architecture firms in Marin County, consider that some local architects focus on pre-design or planning while others are more skilled at architectural design. Details are very important, and some architects will design specific systems as part of your home's architectural design. Part of the function of an architect is to consider the indirect effects of a building project. During the pre-design process, architects usually consider urban environmental concerns, historic preservation, public policy, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, natural environment integration, optimum building materials, sustainability, livability, interdisciplinary concerns and resource allocation.
Architectural firms in Marin County may stay involved with the entire process, providing initial architectural research, land use studies, T24 calculations, drafting, planning submittal, permitting, and construction management for the design of many types of properties.
Architects in Marin County Design and Develop a Variety of Projects
While some architects in Marin County specialize in large commercial, industrial or public projects, some prefer to stick to custom home projects or outdoor planning. As mentioned above, finding the right architect for your design is crucial. Architects work with a variety of structural designs, including recreational use facilities, research facilities, heavy industrial use facilities, real estate design and development, tenant improvement projects, sustainable or green buildings and highway design. Some architectural firms in Marin County design small homes, additions, factories, or retail buildings.
Remember that building design is an art and a science; many architects have a distinct style. Specialized architects will be able to design a broad range of buildings, including apartment and office buildings, public buildings, schools, libraries, churches, hospitals and other health care facilities, or industrial complexes. But these projects don't just involve the simple erection of a building. Architects have to consider zoning approvals, building permits and town planning. Architects might consult on several issues, such as urban design, conditions surveys, contract documentation, historic structure reports, master plans and specifications and environmental planning.
There are some local architects in Marin County who specialize in certain styles of architectural design such as traditional versus modern or contemporary architecture.Skilled architects can integrate into their projects facets such as so-called green architecture or sustainable architecture. Many of those who specialize in green architecture are LEED AP Architects in Marin County, meaning they have passed the U.S. government agency course on green architecture design.
Some Architects in Marin County Are Better Than Others
The Prime Buyer's Report lists these architects in Marin County: Daniel Macdonald Architects, Stewart Lyons Architects, Kappe & Du Architects, Danmeier Architects, Robert Symons Associates, Chris Kelly Architects, Martin R Wilson Architectural, Alexander Ralph J & Associates, ALB Designs, Ferrari Moe. Other architects in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael CA that might still be in business include Architects Toolbox. Didn't find what you wanted with the TOP 10 Architects in Marin County? Then click here to see additional companies in this category.
Explain to the architects your ideas for your building design as well as the purpose and how you will be using it. Be consistent in the way that you present the information so each of the architects are allowed to respond to the same information.
Step 2: Answer Questions of the Architects in Marin County & Take Notes
So that they can better personalize your project for you, architects should have a long list of questions about the intended purposes of the structure, applicable working or living habits, accessibility preferences, and more. Part of an architect's job is to create the perfect blend of your needs, style preferences, and building code. This question and answer session will reveal the architects' ability to do so.
Step 3: Ask the Architects Questions & Take Notes
Ask these questions about their abilities, background, methods and expertise:
• How long have they been architects in Marin County specifically? (Different regions have their own unique soil conditions, weather, sunlight exposure, etc that should effect design choices. The length of experience doing projects in your location specifically shows familiarity with these aspects.)
• How many projects have they done in your city specifically? (Different cities have different codes that must be met, and different processes for plan approval. Previous experience getting plans approved by your local city shows their familiarity with these aspects.)
• How many other projects have they done that are like yours? (Custom homes versus commercial, traditional versus modern architecture, green architecture, etc.)
• What is their educational background?
• Do they have a specialty that makes them especially unique or valuable?
• Can the architects give you names and numbers of clients that you can call as references? (All architects bearing the Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have already had client references called by our research staff so you don't have to.)
• How is their fee structured?
• How long would you have to wait long before they can complete your design plans?
• Do they carry professional liability insurance that can reimburse you in the event of an error? (All architects in Marin County bearing the Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have already had proof of insurance verified by our research staff so you don't have to.)
• Who at their firm will actually be doing your design work? (The principal architect might have impressive credentials but will they be passing your project to less experienced junior staff or draftsmen?)
• What permits will be needed? If so, will the architects be responsible for getting those permits? (Unpermitted work can prevent you from selling the property and even subject you to hefty fines and repair fees to get it to code.)
• Do they only provide the design plans or do they offer to oversee the project from start to finish?
When you've chosen the best architects in Marin County for your specific needs and priorities, make sure they are licensed by the state. (All architects in Marin County bearing the Prime Buyer's Report—TOP 10 symbol have already had their license verified by our research staff so you don't have to.)
Licensed architects - Architects who have met the standards for licensing by the California Architects Board. To be eligible to qualify to be licensed architects in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael and Marin County, the requirements are:
1) Eight years of post-secondary education and/or work experience, including at least one year under the supervision of a U.S. licensed architect.
2) Completion of the two state-run intern development programs known as CIDP and IDP
3) Completion of the computerized test known as the Architect Registration Examination
4) Completion of the oral examination known as the CSE. As of July 2008, candidates must also establish a NCARB record (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards).
LEED AP architects - Architects who have voluntarily undergone to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of green design, via a national program are able to use the designation LEED AP where AP stands for "Accredited Professionals". LEED stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design".
LEED Certified architects - A misnomer. A project completed to LEED requirements may be known as LEED Certified but in reference to a professional the proper terminology is LEED AP (see above).
Green architects - Architects practicing green architecture, sometimes also referred to as sustainable architecture / sustainable design. There is no one standard for what defines green architecture in Marin County and the U.S. but it's generally understood as a design philosophy of increasing the efficiency of energy, building materials, and water (often resulting in cost savings), but also that reduces the negative impact on human health and the environment. Energy efficient architectural design is not necessarily green architecture since energy efficiency alone does not qualify an architectural design as "green". Thus green architects in Marin County often design with an emphasis on minimizing environmental harm including consideration of everything from materials used, building footprint and orientation, run-off and more.
AIA architects - Architects who have joined as members of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), a national trade association that sponsors continuing education for architects and provides other resources for architects in Marin County and nationally.Traditional architects - Architects versed in traditional architecture, which is loosely defined as having a look and feel of familiar styles, often with an emphasis on comfort. Is generally used to denote the opposite of 'modern' or 'contemporary' architecture. There are many good examples of existing traditional architecture in Marin County.
Modern architects - Architects who design in the style of modern architecture or contemporary architecture. Contemporary architects may design with less regard for symmetry or traditional looks or building materials, while placing an emphasis on artistic expression and uniqueness. A hallmark of modern architecture are clean lines and a lack of decorative ornamentation in favor of function. Some examples of existing modern architecture can be found around Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael.
Contemporary architects - Architects who practice contemporary architectural design, also known as modern architecture. See "Modern architects" above.
Residential architects - Architects who design for homes in Marin County, whether new or for remodeling. As opposed to 'commercial architects'.
Commercial architects - Architects who design for everything from hotels, shopping malls, office buildings, and other commercial structures.
Blueprint - A paper reproduction of an architectural design. The name comes from a particular process that produced a special blue paper with the lines rendered in white. These days, such paper drawings are usually on white paper with blue lines and so are sometimes called a 'whiteprint', but the term blueprint has come to be a generic term for any detailed plan. These days paper is often avoided altogether with a Computer-Aided Design known as "CAD" being sent directly to a digital display.
ACSA Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (http://www.acsa-arch.org/)
ADDA American Design Drafting Association (http://www.adda.org/)
AIA American Institute of Architects (http://www.aia.org/)
AIA American Institute of Architects-East Bay (http://www.aiaeb.org/)
AIA American Institute of Architects-Redwood Empire Chapter (http://www.aiare.org/)
AIA American Institute of Architects-San Francisco (http://www.aiasf.org/)
AIAS American Institute of Architecture Students (http://www.aias.org/)
AIBD American Institute of Building Design (http://www.aibd.org/)
APA American Planning Association (http://www.planning.org/)
BBB Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.com)
CAB California Architects Board (http://www.cab.ca.gov/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
Diamond Certified www.diamondcertified.org
FFDI Foundation for Design Integrity (http://www.ffdi.org/)
NAAB National Architectural Accrediting Board (www.naab.org)
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology (http://www.nist.gov/)
Royal Institute of Architects-USA (http://www.members.riba.org/)
SARA Society of America Registered Architects (http://www.sara-national.org/)
SBIC Sustainable Building Industry Council (http://www.sbicouncil.org/)
ULI Urban Land Institute (http://www.uli.org/)
USGBC United States Green Building Council (http://www.usgbc.org/)
Media & Web Resources for Architects in Marin County
Building Design and Construction
California Home & Design
Environmental Design and Construction Magazine
Home & Design
New Old House
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Architects in Marin County within the following zip codes:
94933, 94965, 94977, 94945, 94964, 94949, 94956, 94963, 94973, 94948, 94978, 94938, 94925, 94971, 94904, 94901, 94920, 94976, 94930, 94903, 94966, 94970, 94940, 94974, 94929, 94939, 94957, 94946, 94960, 94924, 94913, 94941, 94914, 94912, 94915, 94942, 94979, 94937, 94950 and 94947
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Architects in Marin County within the following cities:
Ross, San Quentin, Kent Woodlands, Lucas Valley, Tamalpais Valley, Fairfax, San Rafael, Marinwood, Terra Linda, Woodacre, Novato, Stinson Beach, San Marin, Sausalito, Marshall, Santa Venetia, Strawberry Point, Tamal, Muir Woods, Greenbrae, Mission Rafael, Belvedere, Olema, Point Reyes Station, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, Tomales, Muir Beach, Bel Marin Keys, Tiburon, Nicasio, Lagunitas, Inverness, Almonte, Sleepy Hollow, Corte Madera, Ignacio, Kentfield, Bolinas, Belvedere Tiburon, Larkspur, Marin City, Dillon Beach, Forest Knolls, Dogtown, Mill Valley and Black Point