Kimberley, the largest city and capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, is located about 480 km south-west of Johannesburg. Although many South Africans will know about the city's historical significance due to its diamond mining past, Kimberly was also the first city in the Southern Hemisphere (and the second in the world after Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) that integrated electric street lights into its infrastructure.
In terms of architecture, Kimberley is home to numerous heritage sites, including City Hall and Market Square, and the Kimberley Club. The Dutch Reformed Mother Church Newton is a good example of Stucco architecture to be found in the city. Declared a National Monument in 1976, it is now a Provincial Heritage Site.
The average estimated value of residential houses in Kimberley is approximately R880,000. For apartments, the price is about R660,000. Three-bedroom properties make up the majority of listings in Kimberly, with about 824 for sale in January 2019.
The responsibilities of an architect far exceed the mere producing of designs and construction drawings, even though these are also vital components of an architect's profession. According to the Cape Institute for Architecture, architects also:
From the very beginning of a project, the architect examines the requirements to produce a detailed brief that meets the needs and wants of the client. Cultural, social, and economic circumstances are also taken into consideration, plus physical factors such as location, landscape, climate and the relevant materials to work with.
Architects undergo up to seven years of training, which is more than any other professional in the construction business. The only architects allowed to practice or provide architectural services directly to the public are those registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP). This also includes Architectural Technologists and Draughtsperson.
Before you start contacting architectural firms, you need to have an idea of what it is you want to achieve with your project, like an extension for a bigger kitchen, a brand-new house built from scratch, a renovated porch or terrace, etc. This idea needs to be put into words and/or images in the form of a brief, which is vital for the architect to decide whether they are interested in taking on your project.
Although you don't need to have every single detail thought out (your architect will help you with that), an idea on the following will be most useful to your architect:
Keep in mind that your architect will help you see which information on your brief is doable and which needs to be amended (i.e. extending your desired timeline to make it more viable for the architect and other professionals who will be working on the project).
So, you've come across a few potential architectural firms here on homify! You've studied their projects, read their reviews, and even saved some of their photos in your ideabooks. Now it's time to make contact and set up a meeting – but what will you ask?
A few important questions (which could also help you come up with other relevant questions for your particular project) may include:
"If I hire you, what will be the process from this meeting to me and my family moving into our new / remodelled house?"
➠Why this is important: If you're new to renovations or building structures from scratch, ask the architect to explain to you what type of services they offer, the timeline which they envision for your project, etc. This will provide you with the relevant info for your own project and planning, plus give you an idea of the professional's priorities and working style.
"Who from your firm will be in charge of my project?"
➠Why this is important: You may be meeting with the principal of the architectural firm, but that doesn't mean that they will be working on your project. Find out if you will be making initial plans with a principal and interacting with a project manager. It's also important to meet the architect who will take charge of your project to see how well you two communicate.
"Does it sound like my project is feasible within my budget?"
➠Why this is important: Construction prices vary, and sometimes we dream a little more than we can afford. Asking this question helps you determine how frank the architect will be with you throughout the process, plus how they communicate and find solutions. It could also reveal whether your project is more suited for someone at the firm who specialise in your type of project or budget.
"What are the top obstacles you predict for my project?"
➠Why this is important: This question gives the architect an opportunity to show their experience and how they approach problem solving. It also informs you about the type of issues which may pop up with your project, plus gives you a sense of whether you are confident that this professional is the right person for the job.