The Challenge of Determining a Client's Architectural Taste

As designers of architecture our job is to create functional, beautiful, affordable buildings that precisely suit our clients' needs and aesthetic taste. How do we determine someone's needs and taste? This can be a surprisingly difficult task especially when the client is not sure of their taste or, in the case of a couple, when one spouse has different taste than the other.

At Element 5 Architecture we have a multi-step process of helping our clients provide information regarding their needs and taste. First, we ask for a basic Program list - a list of rooms and room functions that will give us an idea about the size and complexity of the building. As we get more specific about the Program we ask our clients to fill out a Questionnaire that we've developed over the years. The Questionnaire looks like this:

As you can see the rooms are not only listed but furniture quantities and sizes are listed. This gives us a record of what needs to fit in the room and allows us to tailor each space to the furniture arrangement. 

While the Program offers a pragmatic list of needs it doesn't begin to describe one's taste in architecture. This can be a more involved investigation. The simple fact that a client has come to us to design their house means that they at least appreciate some of the architecture that we have produced. However, we also ask our clients to gather images of architecture that they like from Pinterest or Houzz or any source that they may find.

Interior designer Rebekah Gainsley of has come up with an online "style guide" that can be very helpful in vetting one's design taste. In fact, for a small price anyone can use the Style Guide to determine architectural taste and we encourage our clients to do so. The guide takes about 10-15 minutes to complete and it's actually pretty fun to complete: Style Guide Style Guide

Between the gathered images, the Style Guide and conversations about architecture - both the likes and dislikes - we can move toward designing a house that accurately reflect the personalities of our clients. We feel this leads to a deeper comfort and respect for the houses we inhabit.

Remodeling and Home Design
Austin Architects & Designers