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  • Writer's pictureMPR Architecture

Get with The Program! The first step in working with your architect.

Background image of living room with large windows. Foreground text: Get with the Program - the first step in working with your architect

It all begins with 'The Program.' That sounds very official and perhaps a bit intimidating. What exactly is The Program for an architectural project, and why is it so important?

In short, The Program is a list of requirements that the homeowner (that's you!) provides to the architect at the very beginning of the project. This is your opportunity to ensure your wishes and needs are clear. It's also the first step in building a collaborative, productive partnership with your architect.

The Program should include everything you want to achieve with your renovation, addition, or new construction project. One way to think through creating The Program is to focus on the problem(s) you want to solve. Really spend some time thinking about how you want to use your space, and let that guide you in creating The Program for your architect.

A few examples of the types of information you may want to include in The Program include:

  • How you will use your space on a daily basis, as well as on special occasions

  • Which rooms/functions you want to be adjacent or near one another

  • Room sizes

  • Style and desired design details (Tip: Linking to a Pinterest board can be very helpful in conveying the style you like!)

When creating The Program, don't neglect to think about your long-term use of the space. You want the project to meet your immediate needs of course, but a construction project is a significant of investment of time and money that you don't want to repeat sooner than necessary.

Consider how the needs for your space will change over the next 10 or even 20 years. Perhaps you have small children who will be out of the house by that time. Or perhaps you want to consider the ability to age in place within your home. Share these future goals and expectations with your architect as part of The Program.

Once you've thought through all of your goals and requirements for your project, it's time to begin creating The Program. The format of The Program can be whatever you're comfortable with, though clear headings with bullet points is often an effective way to convey information. Feel free to include photos of your current problem areas and links to Pinterest boards or inspiration photos.

Your architect will review the first draft of The Program you submit and will discuss it with you. There may be questions or points of clarification needed, at which point you can update The Program and resend it to the architect.

This process may take some time, but it is well worth it. The time you put into planning and articulating your project goals will result in a design you truly love.

To learn more about the rest of the process of working with an architect, please visit our Process page. If you'd like to schedule a call to discuss your project, please use our contact form and we'll get back to you right away.

Happy programming!


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