Choosing the Right Architect

An Interview with Georgia Bizios

Tell us a bit about your company and its foundation.

Georgia Bizios established the practice in 1990. Our 24-year history includes an eclectic mix of projects, from small to large homes and places of worship, and from new construction and additions to small renovations that breathe life into older spaces. Georgia Bizios, FAlA, and our professional staff coordinate every project providing flexible, accessible and personalized assistance to clients embarking on the rewarding journey of designing, building, renovating or expanding their built world. 

We are devoted to creating value for our clients through customized, high caliber design services. Our designs originate from a unique and engaging process that results in a holistic understanding of each client’s needs and dreams. This customized perspective is then carried to the project site, where issues of landscape, neighborhood, views, solar orientation, sustainability and energy efficiency are brought together in a creative, value-focused design process.

The strength of Bizios Architect lies in our approach. We directly and personally engage clients and collaborators. Through our process, the simple acts of listening, learning and discussing provide insight into the unique aspects of each new project. Sketching, drawing and all types of modeling, including 1-to-1 scale mockups, expand design ideas into built reality.

In your opinion, what are three qualities that every architect should possess?

1. Be an effective leader and team player.

2. Be a good listener. Ask pertinent questions and understand the issues behind what is being discussed.

3. Be both pragmatic and innovative. Know how buildings were built in the past and why they were built that way. Have the wisdom to decide when and how to respect the ways of the past and when and how to challenge them.

As an architect, how do you make sure you’re understanding of what your client wants?

Our approach engages the clients extensively as collaborators in the design process. We use comprehensive questionnaires, site workshops, and offer reading suggestions. In order to fully understand the clients’ needs and wishes as well as the site opportunities and challenges, we visit our clients at home, review photographs of places they like. We meet every member of the family including the pets, and we measure and photograph beloved pieces of furniture and artifacts.

What are at least three questions every homeowner should ask their architect before hiring them?

Ask about:

  • The design approach/philosophy and the design process.
  • The type of services offered. For example, in addition to full architectural services we help clients on a consulting basis when they are deciding whether they should move or renovate, or when they are looking to purchase a property.
  • References. Talk to people with projects of a similar scope to understand more about the client/architect interactions and the level of service.

What are a few minor building renovations that can really improve the appearance of my home?

  • Bring natural light to dark places and rooms.
  • Create effective storage and eliminate clutter.
  • Create outdoor rooms such as porches, screened porches, decks and patios that extend living to the outdoors and anchor the house to its site
  • Splurge on a few architectural features such as a unique railing, a beautiful built-in bookcase. a special door with distinctive hardware, or awnings to shade windows (No fake shutters!)