Picking An Architect

It’s been a busy few weeks on the Carbon Zero building front… So many awesome offers from my architect friends and a few game-changing gems from my non-architect friends. Here’s what I know:

  • My neighbor friend (and architect), Rachael, came over. She dropped off her Architecture MN magazine, May/June 2016. As luck would have it, this is the edition that lists all of the architects in town… She also provided some specific architect recommendations and gave us some navigational pointers.
  • Lady Emily sent me an architect recommendation who does 100% sustainable homes and is fun at the craps table – sounds like my kind of guy.
  • Buddy Will sent a link to a green home (lovingly named the Nordeast Nest) that had an open house this weekend.
    • We went to tour the house and were impressed by the use of space on a small urban lot.
    • We found the blog which has some really interesting insights about building green. These guys have 18 inch insulation, airtight construction and crazy windows. Quote: “The heating equivalent of 3 hairdriers is all it should take to keep the house warm on the coldest MN day of the year.” Impressive.
  • In the process of touring the Nordeast Nest, we realized there were many more homes on tour. On Sunday, Vivianne and I headed to a home on West 7th in the neighborhood we are considering. I think it solidified what we knew – this was the neighborhood for us. And if there was any doubt, we found this neighborhood website. Then we saw the elementary school has an 8 out of 10 rating. Mic drop.
  • I’m more open to a remodel. It depends on the home / lot we find to start with.

So now – picking an architect. I feel like the change in this neighborhood is happening quickly and the window for getting in while the getting is good is shrinking.

The shortlist (in no particular order) is:

Firm Architect Why Shortlisted
Locus Arch Wynne Yelland I mean – one look at their website and I know these are my people. Plus, sustainability is at the core.
TE Studios Tim Eian Construction & design elements that I like for an urban home. I don’t know Tim, but I like what I saw at the Nordeast Nest.
Peterssen / Keller Arch Kris Anderson Really great portfolio. Great sustainable experience. And word has it Kris is a dream to work with.
Strand Design David Strand A bit of an east-side focus and a beautiful eye.

I have a secondary list (Charlie and Co., SALA, etc.) and I will continue reading the Architecture MN magazine on my flight this week. But time is limited and I’m feeling pretty good about starting with the four folks listed above and being able to find something Dave and I can get behind.

For the next 3-4 weeks, my focus shifts to work. I take my first flight on Tuesday. It will be my first few nights away from Vivianne, the first time pumping and traveling. I’m kicking off an extremely interesting project with my client. In short – I’ll be busy. My hope is that we are meeting with architects by early June.


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