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 January 15, 2013
Top 10 Architects in Marin County
|Garnham Wright Architecture|
Send an email to this Company
427 Scenic Ave
San Anselmo, CA 94960
State Architect's License #C15978
Areas Served: Marin incl. San Anselmo CA, San Rafael CA, Mill Valley CA, Sausalito CA, Almonte, ...
Services: Marin County architects for new construction, remodels, additions
Architects in Marin County are hired to design new construction and remodels that are functional and beautiful. Architecture professionals can evaluate your wishes to create a dwelling or room with every original specification you desire. There are Marin County architects who can draft completely fresh blueprints or modify stock building plans to fit your living style. If you've decided to take this route, call a local architectural design firm in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael today. The Prime Buyer's Report has posted some valuable information on hiring and working with architects and architecture design firms. Read on for help getting your building project off the ground.
Marin County Architects Provide Many Services From Design to Completion
Some Marin County architects 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 design 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, surveying, drafting, planning submittal, permitting, and construction management for the design of many types of properties. Architects must closely follow industry standards and will provide the latest technology to assist with your project, such as virtual design, CAD and digital journals.
Architects in Marin County Design and Develop a Variety of Projects
While some Marin County architects specialize in large commercial, industrial or public projects, some prefer to stick to small 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 around 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 Marin County zoning approvals, building permits and town planning. In addition to new construction projects, architects might consult on several issues, such as urban design, conditions surveys, contract documentation, historic structure reports, maintenance and repair recommendations, master plans and specifications and environmental planning.
There are many local architects in Marin County who specialize in certain styles of architectural design.Skilled architects throughout Marin County can integrate into their projects modern architecture and contemporary architecture including green architecture and 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.
There are Many Respected Architects in Marin County
Architectural firms in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael perform an assortment of architectural work, and many of then are NAAB architects in Marin County (meaning National Architectural Accrediting Board accredited). AIA architects in Marin County are those who are members of the American Institute of Architects. The Prime Buyer's Report lists these architects in Marin County: Garnham Wright Architecture, Daniel Macdonald Architects, Danmeier Architects, Robert Symons Associates, Chris Kelly Architects, Martin R Wilson Architectural. Other architectural firms and individual building architects that might still serve Marin County include Alexander Ralph J & Associates, ALB Designs, Kappe & Du Architects, Ferrari Moe, Advanced Design Institute: Sandusky Robert L, Stewart Lyons Architects, 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.
Use Other Means to Research Architectural Firms in San Rafael CA
You should learn about the different options available to you when you undertake a building project. This information can be found within industry magazines and various Web sites. But because of the risk of unreliable sourcing, The Prime Buyer's Report has listed some resources you can trust with this information. See our findings in The Prime Buyer's Report article entitled "Resources About Architects in Marin County."
Explain to the architects the rough ideas you've developed for your building design as well as the intended purpose of the facility. Be consistent in the way that you present the information so each fo the Marin County architects will have an opportunity to process and consult on the same information.
Step 2: Answer Questions of the Architects in Marin County & Take Notes
In order to better personalize your project, 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 Marin County Architects Questions & Take Notes
Ask some questions to determine the abilities of the Marin County architects, their building design background and overall working style. Take notes, not just on the answers to questions, but also how you feel about the specific architects. An architectural building project can be a long and arduous process. Remember that successful architects must be able to communicate persuasively with you and the building professionals involved with your project. You'll want to ensure your architect is one you can respectfully engage with for the duration of the project, and has your best interests in mind.
• How long have the architects in Marin County been in business?
• How many architectural design projects have the architects completed in Marin County?
• Are the Marin County architects NAAB certified? Are they AIA Architects in Marin County?
• Do the Marin County architects specialize in the type of building design you've described? If so, can you check recent client references?
• How busy are the architectural firms' schedules? Will you have to wait long before they can work up an architecture design for your new building?
• Which part of the project do the architects consider most important or the most challenging?
• How will the Marin County architects approach your design and building project and any challenges it presents?
• Will you see models, drawings, or computer animations prior to the final architecture plans?
• Do the architects provide architectural services in Marin County beyond architectural design?
• How can you prepare for the architectural planning? Are you expected to provide anything?
• Who will be responsible for acquiring permits?
• Will the Marin County architects provide a written estimate?
• Will the Marin County architect firms provide a written contract that includes a schedule of services?
• How long will it take the architects to complete the project?
• What process do the architects go through to price the design and work?
• What are the terms of the architects' professional liability and workers compensation insurance?
• If any changes are made during the course of the design or project, will there be additional fees?
• Who will be your point-of-contact at the architectural design firm?
Step 4: Making a Preliminary Decision Among the Best Architects in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael & Marin County.
After you've interviewed good architects in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael & Marin County, it's time to narrow your field of prospects. Review your notes and decide which information is most important to you. Based on these results, decide which architects most closely matches your technical criteria. Just as important, evaluate the results of your interviews to determine the architects who can maintain the best working relationship as well.
Step 5: Choosing the Best Architects in Marin County For Your Design and Building Project
You may now make your decision official. Call to clear up any final questions before you ask the Marin County architects to provide a written and signed pricing, timing, quality and warranty contract.
The importance of carefully choosing the best architects in Marin County for your design and building requirements can't be overstated. You're not making a casual purchase. You're choosing a highly skilled professional to design your home or office building. Whether you want contemporary architecture design, residential design, green design, sustainable architecture or commercial design, be selective about architects and architecture firms to find the right skill level and style and you're much more likely to get a satisfactory end result.
Write A Description of Your Design Requirements for the Architects in Marin County.
You can better judge the best architects in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael and Marin County if you have a rough idea of your architectural design specifications beforehand. Write down your basic requirements for the structure as well as its intended purpose. Good architects can then assess feasibility and additional features. Presenting a written description to each potential architectural design firm will ensure consistent design review. It will also highlight the differences between each of the architects.
Talk to Several Good Architects in Marin County.
The best decision on architects in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael or wider Marin County will be a well-informed one. This can only be accomplished by interviewing a number of Marin County architects with different perspectives and the resulting estimates.
Get Everything in Writing From the Marin County Architects.
It is important that you document every phase of your architectural design project. The best architects in Marin County will thoroughly record everything as well, including a description of the work, price estimates and proposed deadlines.
Do Your Homework Before You Sign an Agreement with Architects in Marin County.
Before you hire for architectural services in Marin County, be sure to check the Marin County architects licensing, workers' compensation and liability insurances, as well as any other relevant credentials.
Choose Certified Architects in Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael & Marin County.
There are local architects in Marin County who not only have a reputation for superior design abilities but for fierce dedication to their clients as well.
Meet the Specific Architects At the Marin County Architectural Firm Providing Your Architectural Services.
If you hire an architectural firm in Marin County whose members vary in design specialty and experience, find out shich specific architects at that firm will be commissioned for your particular building design project. See that the managing architect is experienced in the type of design and building work you need and ensure that he or she is sufficiently staffed to meet your needs through completion of the project.
Communicate Regularly with Your Marin County Architects.
The detailed nature of architectural design in Marin County requires that you stay involved in each stage. To ensure unwavering commitment to your requirements and smooth work, you must stay in touch with your architect and monitor progress. Any questions or concerns that arise for either of you can be taken care of quickly, without wasted time or unnecessary confusion.
Know Your Rights When Working with Marin County Architects.
Regardless of the scale of work and the overwhelming details involved, you are still your architect's paying client. If any conflict should come up, you are allotted certain local consumer protection laws. View the details of Marin County consumer advocacy legislation at the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
Make Sure The Marin County Architects are Like-Minded About Your Architectural Design and Project.
If the architects don't seem as devoted as you are to realizing your goals for your building design, they are not likely to produce favorable results. The architects should have intimate knowledge of even the finest details of your plan and exhibit true dedication to thorough completion of your architectural design project.
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 Novato, Sausalito and San Rafael and 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:
94901, 94903, 94904, 94912, 94913, 94914, 94915, 94920, 94924, 94925, 94929, 94930, 94933, 94937, 94938, 94939, 94940, 94941, 94942, 94945, 94946, 94947, 94948, 94949, 94950, 94956, 94957, 94960, 94963, 94964, 94965, 94966, 94970, 94971, 94973, 94974, 94976, 94977, 94978 and 94979
The Prime Buyer's Report provides information for the TOP 10 Architects in Marin County within the following cities:
Almonte, Bel Marin Keys, Belvedere, Belvedere Tiburon, Black Point, Bolinas, Corte Madera, Dillon Beach, Dogtown, Fairfax, Forest Knolls, Greenbrae, Ignacio, Inverness, Kent Woodlands, Kentfield, Lagunitas, Larkspur, Lucas Valley, Marin City, Marinwood, Marshall, Mill Valley, Mission Rafael, Muir Beach, Muir Woods, Nicasio, Novato, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Ross, San Anselmo, San Geronimo, San Marin, San Quentin, San Rafael, Santa Venetia, Sausalito, Sleepy Hollow, Stinson Beach, Strawberry Point, Tamal, Tamalpais Valley, Terra Linda, Tiburon, Tomales and Woodacre