First, ask your friends, family, colleagues, neighborhood groups, etc. Chances are, people you know and trust have worked with Architects or know people who have. Ask them who they worked with, whether they would recommend them, how the project went [both during design and construction phases], and what services the Architect provided. Think about when you need a new dentist or accountant – you ask your friends! Most of our work is through referrals like these – it works well for everyone, as the conversation starts out with a mutual, trusted referral.
Next – Google them! Do you like their work? Do they have a blog or Instagram, so you can see how they talk about their work, and where you can get a sense of their personality, values, and priorities? If you like what you see, then ask for an interview, and ask them about their process. They should include you in their process, and should have a proven track record with other clients—ask for references! [We have a document posted on our website under “Resources” that provides a list of questions you can ask potential architects, to make sure you’re covering your bases!]
And finally, you should choose someone you think you’ll be able to work well with. The Architect-Client relationship is intense during the project—think about your energy and theirs, about their demeanor and yours. You want to work with someone you’ll get along with, who’s good at helping you make decisions [there will be LOTS!], and who makes you feel confident, reassured, and inspired. It’s not enough that they know their stuff – they should be a good fit for you personality-wise as well!