What to Ask Your Mountain Architect

Tips from a top architect on what to ask before breaking ground

Building a new home in the mountains is no easy feat. It can feel like you have a million decisions to make within a number of constraints. To help cover your bases there are some questions you won’t want to forget to ask. Here are your must-ask questions before breaking ground, from Reid Smith of Reid Smith Architects.

Screen Shot 2022 02 17 At 113909 Am

“When it comes to building a home in the Mountain West, the main questions all clients should ask their architect revolve around compatibility, availability, fee, resources, and schedule,” Smith tells Mountain Living. Once those questions are settled, Smith suggests focusing on the three following:

How can we design around the time of year I plan to spend at the home?

You need to consider what seasons you’re wanting to spend in your mountain home. If it’s a summer getaway or a skiing chalet, the distinction needs to be communicated with your architect. Asking this question sparks a good dialogue around what your architect should prioritize in relation to the weather.

Can we design around my hobbies?

If bird watching is your jive, large windows and a big garden would be a priority. Maybe skiing is your passion, meaning you need a space for displaying your gear after a long day on the slopes. Whatever your hobbies include, make sure your architect is well informed. Your home should be customized to fit your lifestyle and hobbies.

What do we need to do to future-proof?

Whether you’re a growing family or empty nesters, it’s important to talk future. Your architect might suggest a different porch design if you’ll someday have kids crawling around. No matter your circumstances, their purpose is to help create a home that will leave you happy for years to come.

Screen Shot 2022 02 17 At 113952 Am

“Bear in mind that the most important aspect an architect focuses on is the views,” says Smith. “The views always come first. Whether it’s a prominent mountain range or a pocket view through the forest, you want to live in the mountains for the connection. Finding that connection while living in your home is what it’s all about. The little details are also extremely important– like a comfortable driveway and sun on the front door. Another important aspect to note is you might run into issues regarding architectural review committees. They have a general set of design guidelines, yet each client is unique and your project can dictate its own personality. The committee guidelines have been known to limit creativity.”

Reid Smith Architects

212 S Tracy Ave

Bozeman, MT 59715

(406) 587-2597

Categories: Architects