Ask an Architect: Aren’t architects expensive?


Aren’t architects expensive?


There is a conception that utilising the services of an architect is only for high-end, big budget homes. But, not all architect designed homes are expensive to build. If fact, architects often design homes on tight budgets and their quality design skills can even save money during the build and afterwards in terms of running costs.

Coomera Waters Residence by Matthew Dean Architects
Coomera Waters Residence by Matthew Dean Architects

This architect designed home is located in Coomera, Gold Coast, Queensland, 252m2 in size and constructed at a cost of $320k. It is situated on a sloping site with street frontage to 3 sides. Originally, quotes from builders came back 20% over budget. By making changes to cladding materials, finishes and fixtures (e.g. benchtops, taps, fans, lights, basins, toilets, etc.) and negotiating with the builder, the architect was able to bring the cost back into budget.

The home comprises three levels and steps easily down the site. Different materials were used including stained plywood, corrugated metal and rendered masonry, to provide contrast and depth to the facades. The timber clad boxes at the front and rear of the home with flat roofs minimise the height and scale of the building to the street.

Inside, it has three generous bedrooms, open plan study, two bathrooms, open plan kitchen/living/dining, a media room and double garage. One of the main features of the house is the vaulted ceiling over the entry and main living areas. This creates the feeling the space is more generous than its actual proportions.

Despite being in Queensland, the home has been designed without a reliance on air-conditioning. The ceiling fans and carefully placed window locations allow the home to remain cool through the use of cross ventilation and evaporative cooling. The polished concrete floors act as a thermal mass to help keep cool underfoot.

The owner (my wife!) tells me the house is very comfortable home to live in. Actually, we both love living here. The house was designed specifically to meet the needs of my family and sits wonderfully on its sloping site overlooking bushland to the rear and parkland to the front. Also, it is in a wonderful community at Coomera Waters.

So, engaging an architect can actually save you money. Their problem solving and negotiating skills can often prove more cost-effective than having a set of plans drawn up without the expert advice and guidance you get from an architect.

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