"People who build their own home tend to be very courageous. These people are curious about life. They're thinking about what it means to live in a house rather than just buying a commodity and making it work." -Tom Kundig
The best decision we made was hiring Olson Kundig. When you hire a firm you aren't just getting the principal architect. You get the experience and creativity of the collective. Culturally, Olson Kundig invests in their people and traditions such as the project crit and the continued education and learning all contribute to the firepower they offer their clients in terms of the project management and creativity that comes through in the concept and vision and work they deliver. The first stage before hiring an architect is research. Luckily there were magazine articles, monographs, lectures, podcasts and more to dive into to learn more before reaching out with the first inquiry. Beyond that there was education into general principles of architecture and design to gain more familiarity in a area that we don't operate in daily. Learning to communicate and getting a common understanding of that world was helpful in managing the project successfully from an owners perspective. Resources like Dwell, documentaries and architecture sites were all go-to's for inspiration and context. Nothing beats the actual in-person interviews and site visits. The connection and relationship with the architect is critical as most of these projects take years and you'll be spending a lot of time with and communicating so it is best if you have shared connection and understanding of of how to work together. Cultural fit is huge. Nail that and you are set up for success. Respect and provide direction but don't do the architects job. Don't be afraid to push back along the way but remember everyone has their role and part and the ultimate outcome of the project hinges on collaboration and distribution of experience and expertise. Empower, respect, inspire.