Designing and constructing a building may sound like a complex task, but Foss Architecture + Interiors hopes to make building design enjoyable and stress-free by clarifying the process. Although your project might be unique, most building projects follow these 7 steps:
This is where we gather information about your project goals and learn what you need for space requirements. For example, when designing an office building, we may ask whether you prefer collaborative open office layouts or enclosed private offices. If designing a hotel, we will try to better understand which amenity spaces you wish to provide your guests and how many guest rooms you’d like. We’ll also gain a better understanding of your hotel’s theme and how the architecture can enhance your brand. For public entities, we occasionally hold a design charrette where all stakeholders and community members can provide their input. If you’re looking to remodel an existing building, we’ll measure your current space and create existing floor plans during this phase.
This phase translates the pre-design information into a conceptual floor plan diagram so you can start seeing where the pool is in relation to the hotel lobby. Or, in the case of an office building, which direction your office faces to get the best view. We’ll also look at building form during this phase so you can see how large your building might look compared to the house next door, or how much sun the pool gets.
During this phase, the floor plan is refined and consulting engineers begin laying out the structural, mechanical and electrical systems. Interior and exterior finish options are reviewed for life cycle costs. Can you afford a stone exterior cladding which will look great and last forever, or is it best to use a siding product that is less expensive but doesn’t last as long? Once exterior materials are determined, we will create exterior renderings for your review and approval. This is when the design comes to life! Regardless of your budget, Foss will ensure your building design looks great prior to moving into the construction documents phase.
The design is developed into a precise set of construction documents that include detailed drawings and specifications. For instance, the hotel’s pool dimensions, depth, floor slope and construction are fully illustrated, and the specifications call out the manufacturer, features, and color of the diving board. The contractor will use these documents to establish the actual construction cost and to build the project. At Foss, we believe a detailed set of construction drawings reduces errors by the contractor and lowers the potential for cost change orders.
Once the construction documents are complete, they are submitted to the local jurisdiction for review and compliance with the building codes, energy codes, zoning, and land use codes. They will issue a building permit once we respond to the code official’s comments.
Foss has worked with several trusted contractors. If you are a private entity, we’d be happy to provide our recommendation. If you are a public entity or prefer contractors to compete for your project, then the construction documents are issued for competitive bidding. We’re here to help answer any questions the contractor may have and issue clarifications. Once bids are received, we’ll assist you in tallying the bids and making a contractor selection. Then it’s on to construction!
During construction, we’ll serve as your advisor and make sure the work is completed to your satisfaction. We’ll conduct regularly scheduled construction meetings and visit the construction site to make sure your building gets built per the design and address any issues that may arise. We’ll also review shop drawings which are drawings submitted by subcontractors for individual components of the building. For example, window shop drawings are reviewed to make sure they are the correct manufacturer, size, color, glass type, etc. After the building construction is substantially complete, we’ll form a punch list of items that still need fixing or are not up to our standards. For example, if there is cracking drywall, we’ll ensure that the contractor fixes it before final completion.
Good design takes into consideration an overall design theme and melds exterior design elements with the interiors to create a cohesive architecture. Interior architectural details such as finishes, furniture, accent lighting, signage and artwork add scale and comfort to any space while reinforcing your organization’s brand identity.
All Foss projects implement sustainable design strategies that make the most economical sense for our clients. Utilizing our knowledge as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professionals, Foss Architecture + Interiors have committed themselves to effectively implementing solutions that are better for our environment and communities. While several Foss buildings are LEED certified, we are always looking to take that next step in innovation. Whether you’re looking for a net zero building or one that produces positive energy, we strive to educate and work with our clients to understand the sustainable design process and the environmental impact of any specific project.
Foss has been designing buildings for more than 125 years. We understand and appreciate the story that historic buildings tell. While we have several original projects on the National Register of Historic Places, we love giving any building new life. It is especially rewarding when transforming a blighted building into a vibrant and contemporary facility that services future generations for years to come.
Master planning is a macro view of a site, block, neighborhood, or city and can provide a plan for future phased development. For instance, Foss works with developers and city planners to better understand how one or several buildings fit on a plat of land while providing the necessary green space, parking requirements, and zoning setbacks. In addition, our team has experience working with schools, universities, and medical campuses in creating a framework for future building phases.
Site Planning is a zoomed in view of a project site and includes development of areas surrounding a specific building such as landscaping, pedestrian & vehicular circulation, and site lighting. At this level of design, the building footprint becomes a part of the landscape using views, orientation, and form.
Facility assessment involves the evaluation of an existing building’s components. For instance, Foss has worked with several school districts to create facility assessment reports for components such as roofs, walls, windows, and mechanical & electrical systems. We will also verify that the building meets current building codes, accessibility standards, and determine which components should be improved or replaced.
The benefit of 3D modeling and renderings is helping the client visualize the opportunities created from a particular challenge. Whether using a 3D model for energy modeling, coordination of building systems, or for creating a virtual walkthrough, we have proficiency in utilizing technology that resolves challenges prior to a shovel being placed in the ground.