#Architalks: Advice for Clients

Usonion House - Lakeland FL - FLW

Usonion House – Lakeland FL – FLW

The physician can bury his mistakes,—but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.

~Frank Lloyd Wright – ‘To the Young Man in Architecture’

This month’s topic of discussion for #Architalks is ‘Advice for Clients.’ Unlike the pithy suggestion from Mr. Wright, I have something of a different bit of advice that I provide to all my clients:

Think longer term.

There is a tendency when pressed against construction timelines, finish decisions, and all the real world realities of a construction project (especially a single family residence) to focus on two things: time and money. Both of which are obviously of critical importance, but I’d suggest that we look at them both  in a slightly different light.

Florida Southern College - FLW

Florida Southern College – FLW


Yes the project needs to be complete, usable, and in a timely fashion so the client can move in. In the latter stages of a project, the finish line is often the only thing that’s really on a client’s mind. When can I get in, when can we close on the loan, when will I have my building. It’s of the utmost important when focusing on the near-term timeline, a client not neglect the long term. Think about what it will take to maintain the house, choose long lasting and durable materials. Think about how long you’ll be in the house, make decisions for not just your life today, but looking forward five years, ten years, and beyond. Think about what will happen to the house when you sell it, or your children inherit it. Cut corners may get you ‘in the building’ sooner, but inevitably, always, will lead to problems down the road.

Crumbling Concrete Block at Florida Southern College

Crumbling Concrete Block at Florida Southern College


I have an idea on how we can save money here. Being on budget is just as important as being complete on time, without a doubt, but at what cost? The project we’ve designed together was arrived at through careful consideration by both architect and client. Cutting things or making substitutions of alternatives, without the same careful consideration, in the aims of saving money, often hurts in the long run, and leaves a client with a thirty year amortized structure that is not what they intended, incomplete, or diluted. Consider the longer particularly about durable materials and anything related to energy efficiency. The payback on upgrades related to the building envelope and energy efficiency, especially when amortized over 30 years, are easy decisions. Often resulting in a net-positive versus the ‘cheaper’ alternative from day one.

Planting vines may be an option to cover up bad decisions down the road, but thinking long term throughout both the design and construction process can result in a beautiful, longer-lasting structure that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

Spanish Moss at Florida Southern College "Vines"

Spanish Moss at Florida Southern College “Vines”

More thoughts and advice for clients can be find at the posts from the rest of our merry band of #Architalks misfits below:


Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: Advice for Working with an Architect

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Advice for ALL Clients

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
advice to clients

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
ArchiTalks: Advice for Clients

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Trust Your Architect


Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Advice List — From K thru Architect

Rosa Sheng – EquitybyDesign [EQxD] (@EquityxDesign)

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
advice for clients


Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A Few Reminders


Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
[tattoos] and [architecture]


Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Changing the World

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Advice for Clients


Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Questions to Ask an Architect in an Interview: Advice for Clients

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Dear Client,

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Advice for Clients

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Advice for clients

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong) *Yes that’s me, you’re already here
Advice for Clients

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Advice 4 Building


Gabriela Baierle-Atwood – Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
What I wish clients knew

This entry was posted in ArchiTalks, Architecture. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Posted May 10, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Great advice – Mark

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>