Freequently Asked Questions
Why do I need an architect?
Architects, just like doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, etc have studied in universities, taken multiple examinations, completed internships etc towards developing their design skills. Besides the aesthetic side of things, they work towards understanding the client’s requirements and lifestyle to design a space that best suits their needs. While a builder or a home designer may make some adaptations at the client’s request, a good architect will anticipate their needs – even if they are not sure how to express them.
Architects wear many hats. They may create the design, do the drafting, select the materials, and supervise the entire work process. The architect visits the site and observes the direction of the sun, note the prevailing breezes, sketch the existing vegetation and contour lines, and anticipate the best views. During the construction phase, the architect works on behalf of the client to keep checks on the contractor to ensure quality control while constantly cross-examining the budget and timeline of the project. For renovation projects, an architect not only knows what will structurally work but will also appreciate symmetry and proportion – understanding how to make the parts of a building look like one, whole structure.
Even if you are working within a tight budget, it does not make good economic sense to cut corners on design. Talented professionals will help you avoid costly mistakes – and can assure that what you build is ideally suited for the way it should function.
What are the different types of projects that you take up?
We take up architectural, interior design, landscape design, and urban design projects. We broadly classify the typology of projects that we work on among the following categories:
Residential projects such as villas, farmhouses, apartments, mass housing layouts, etc.
Commercial projects such as offices, restaurants, malls, multiplexes, auditoriums, etc.
Institutional projects such as schools, universities, etc.
Hospitality projects such as hotels, resorts, etc.
Healthcare projects such as clinics, hospitals, old age homes, etc.
Urban design projects such as master planning for towns/cities/SEZs/
universities, residential or commercial layouts, development of waterfronts, railway stations, streets, etc.
Do you only take up design consultancy or do you also execute the construction of projects?
We mainly take up design consultancy for a majority of our projects. However, we have also executed a few projects on a turnkey basis, for which we teamed up with a contractor we have previously worked with. In such cases, we shoulder the responsibility of the speed and quality of the construction while sticking to the budget.
For projects where you have not taken up a construction contract, do you offer site supervision / project management services?
Even for projects where we take up only the design consultancy, we conduct a limited number of site visits at critical junctures during the construction phase to ensure that the work proceeds as per design. However, we also offer site supervision and/or project management services for projects especially if they require a certain amount of diligence due to time constraints or complexity of the design.
Our site supervision services include regular visits to the site during the entire construction phase to carry out quality checks and make immediate design decisions based on onsite conditions whenever required. For projects where we take up the project management contract, besides the tasks mentioned above, we also devise a schedule of tasks for the various contractors and subcontractors, coordinate the delivery of materials with the vendors, and keep track of the pace of work and budget throughout the construction process.
Do you appoint the contractors yourself or can the client appoint their own contractors?
Before construction of a typical project, we release the tender drawings along with the bill of quantities and invite various contractors to submit a bid for the project. This will include the contractors that the client recommends and the contractors that we know or have previously worked with. We veto the completed projects by all the contractors to ascertain their quality of work and advise the client on the same. The client then takes the final call on which contractor to appoint for the project.
Will we need any other professionals for our project?
Yes. Most projects will require the services of a structural engineer. Depending on the scale and type of structure, the project may also require the services of an MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) consultant, a landscape architect, a fire safety consultant, etc. We have developed a working relationship with multiple consultants among these various verticals and can bring them on board for your project. If you have a professional that you recommend for the project, we will be happy to work with them too as long as our working methodology and design sensibilities complement each other.
What are your charges for design?
We generally charge our design fee on a per-square-foot basis or as a percentage of the cost of construction. However, the exact fee is dependant on various factors such as the typology of project, the built-up area of the project, the estimated budget, the complexity of design, the amount of detailing required, the timeline of the project, the location of the site (which affects the logistics and time spent on site visits), and other special requirements.
For instance, for an interior design project of about 1,900
Do you take up projects outside Hyderabad?
What are the stages of work that you follow for a typical project?
Stage 1- A typical project generally starts with a meeting with the client either at the site or otherwise where we understand the requirements, the scope, the context and the objective of the project. We then study the site – it’s climatic conditions and micro-environment, potential views, the landscape, and contour lines before getting down to the design.
Stage 2- The next phase involves us working out multiple conceptual designs and presenting the best of them to the client whilst explaining the merits and demerits of each design based on various parameters.
Stage 3- After design finalization, we develop the tender drawings and the bill of quantities based on which the shortlisted contractors submit their proposal.
Stage4- The project is awarded to a contractor based on their financial bid and the quality of their previous works. At this stage, the ‘good for construction’ drawings are provided to them to plan out the construction phases and timelines.
Stage 5- Site supervision for quality check and material/ product selection for execution. We would be involved in the construction process right from the start until the project is completed and handed over to the client.
Do you specialise in Green Architecture?
Yes. Most of our architectural projects are designed in a site and climate responsive fashion and incorporate green practices even if is not a L.E.E.D certified structure. For high performance-based design projects that require much more detailed integration of green practices, we hire green building consultants for advanced computer simulation and optimization. ARKA.DEsign studio in collaboration with TERRA VIRIDIS environmental design consultancy recently won an international design competition for a visitors center at Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary, which focused on designing a structure that was ‘net zero’ with respect to the consumption of energy and having sustainable design practices and materials.
Do you have a preferred style of architecture that your projects follow?
Rather than calling it a ‘style’, we have a few design philosophies that we believe in.
We strive to do sustainable designs which are site and climate responsive and create a unique sensory experience for the users. Where every component and element in the design has a purpose- from a traditional ornate archway to a contemporary minimalist glazed opening.
Every design is a problem-solving exercise where identifying the problem is key. Beyond this, the choice of materials, color palette, etc are dependent on the context, the needs of the client and the design objective.
What is the role of the client in a typical project?
The design is a collaborative process and the client plays an important role to establish the guidelines towards planning, design sensibilities and limitations due to the budget. The architect provides the solutions for most of these issues through constant interactions with the client at the site or in the workspace.
The client can also be involved in the selection of various products, furniture, upholstery, lighting fixtures, artifacts and artworks that express their individuality. However, the final call is taken by the architect in the selection and placement.
The client’s role would also be critical in the aspect of timely payment to the various vendors, the contractor and the architect to ensure that there are no delays in the work schedule.
Why should we choose you as our architects?
If you have emotionally connected with our body of work and find the answers to the questions above satisfactory, then perhaps we are destined to work together. And we would love for us to collaborate and create a unique design that exceeds both our expectations. A work that is not just another structure but a labor of love.