Free Design Advice!

Good professional design advice don't come cheap—but for two days at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, it comes free! This coming weekend, Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Architizer is sponsoring free intensive 40-minute design clinics with experienced architects, designers, and landscape architects from nine firms. All you have to do is sign up for a time slot, describing your "architectural malady" and stating some preferred day to meet. (You also need to have purchased a ticket to Dwell on Design).

Architects dispensed free advice for design maladies at the Architizer booth.<br /><br />This year was the best yet for Dwell on Design. We definitely couldn't have done it without the army of volunteers who helped out, the attendees, the exhibitors who s
Architects dispensed free advice for design maladies at the Architizer booth.This year was the best yet for Dwell on Design. We definitely couldn't have done it without the army of volunteers who helped out, the attendees, the exhibitors who spent three busy days on the show floor, the bloggers who covered the events, and everyone who followed our coverage. Can't wait to see everyone next year!

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To better understand what a free design clinic consists of, who will be on hand, and what you'll get out of the experience, we spoke with Architizer program director Ryan Quinlan.

Tell me: what's a design clinic? And what's your goal in holding them?
A design clinic is a chance for people who might not think to hire an architect to be able to sit down and talk to a designer. At Architizer we are always trying to make architecture more approachable and less intimidating to people who care about design but might not have the formal training and years of education that can set architects apart from everyone else. The hope is that with the clinics, people begin to see the value in hiring an architect, and understand that they bring something to a design problem that a contractor can't.
Where else have you held design clinics before, and how many have you held to date?
Our first clinic was at Dwell on Design in 2010. Its success encouraged us to continue the initiative this year, and we hope to expand the service to many cities.
Who typically comes to them? And what are people's reactions to the clinic?
We generally have found that homeowners are the main 'patients'—people who want to remodel or do an addition to their existing residence. People are super-excited to have the chance to meet with an architect and often are looking to get more out of their space; they know they can do something but need a professional to impart the best way to do it.

At last year's Design Clinic at Dwell on Design, Justina Garcia and her husband consulted with Jenda Michl of Vertu Studio on space planning and interior reconfiguartion for their un-optimally renovated open plan home in La Habra Heights. Photo by Jodie B
At last year's Design Clinic at Dwell on Design, Justina Garcia and her husband consulted with Jenda Michl of Vertu Studio on space planning and interior reconfiguartion for their un-optimally renovated open plan home in La Habra Heights. Photo by Jodie Bass.

Who's offering their services at the clinic at Dwell on Design? And how did you choose them? What is their range of expertise?
We have a wide range of LA-based architects. They were all found through Architizer, which allows architecture firms to show off their work to the world. Some firms have many years experience and an established portfolio of built work, others are more emerging talents that might be considered more avant-garde. The firms are: Vertu Studio; MAKE architecture; Tima Winter Inc.; Hughes Umbanhowar; Roger Sherman Architectural + Urban Design; Standard; formLA; tecDesign; and Matthew Gillis.
What are some examples of "architectural maladies" people come to design clinics to discuss?
Examples we've already received for this weekend's clinic include: A hillside home that needs an entry allowing for connection between the street and elevated first floor; circulation modification; and additional bedrooms. A house with an asphalt parking area for a front yard, which will hopefully be transformed with landscaping. A house needing a transitional space between driveway and front door. A house looking to maximize the ocean views that are presently only available from 2 rooms.
Architect and 'client' get into the nitty gritty. Photo by Sayamon Riddang, Bailey/Gardiner Creative.
Architect and 'client' get into the nitty gritty. Photo by Sayamon Riddang, Bailey/Gardiner Creative.

What's the biggest "malady" anyone's ever come to a clinic with? And what solution was proposed?
People are generally realistic about what they hope to accomplish in a 40 minute consultation—so there were no open-heart surgery moments at last year's clinic. But it's a testament to the clinic's effectiveness that people come looking for real answers to their problems—not transforming a small Santa Monica bungalow into a manse.
Last year, Chava Danielson of DSH Architecture met with Renate Doerry to discuss approaches for uniting the exterior of her Tudor-style Palo Alto home, with modern updates made to the interior. Photo by Jodie Bass.
Last year, Chava Danielson of DSH Architecture met with Renate Doerry to discuss approaches for uniting the exterior of her Tudor-style Palo Alto home, with modern updates made to the interior. Photo by Jodie Bass.

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