Working with your Architect – Pre-Design

Working with an architect can be a daunting task. After all, don’t they just draw your plans?The fact is that architects have years of education and a strict licensing process. This ensures they are knowledgeable and add value to your project.

There are a couple different phases of design and drawing when working with an architect. When it comes to designing custom homes everything follows the same general path, but may use different terms. At MUES Architecture Firm we have six basic phases one you’ve engaged with us.

Those are:

  • Pre-design
  • Schematic Design
  • Design Development
  • Construction Drawings
  • Permitting
  • Contract Administration


This is the big picture phase of the project. It’s about discovery, there are no wrong answers. Only better answers. Everything has to be kept loose, fluid, and flowing. We’ll visit the site with you. Learn what you love about it. We’ll apply our expertise to see where opportunities and challenges reside.

One of our clients absolutely loved a certain rock out cropping (common in Colorado) so we situated the master bedroom and the home office near that outcropping. They also had a favorite cross valley view. So, the main living room was positioned to take advantage. Finally, they have another great view so we set the dining room and kitchen to take advantage of that. They also had a view they didn’t love. So we configured the home so it would avoid that view.

For this client exterior views and privacy dominated. That in turn helped set the room relationships. Your preferences may be different. Perhaps internal relationships are key.

We also want to learn how you live. Do you rise with the sun or sleep in? This can affect bedroom locations. Does someone have to come and go without disturbing others? How often do you entertain? Large or small groups? This all needs to be sorted out early on so we can focus on what drives the decision making.

image of hand sketch architect design process

Above is an example of the Pre-design phase on an apartment project. Every project goes through this process. By taking all the information and synthesizing it we arrive at a variety of schemes. In turn it becomes one. Okay, maybe 2 or 3, it’s been known to happen. We then present to you during the next phase, Schematic Design.