Looking for an Architect in Arizona?
Finding an architect in Arizona is similar to searching for a good auto mechanic, a veterinarian, a butcher, a banker, etc. Most of the time it is word of mouth if you have someone you can trust. When hiring most services, your relationship with the company or person is important. Architectural projects can last months or years depending on the scale or complexity of a project, therefore that relationship is important. Finding the right Architect in Arizona can be done with the following factors:
Architects go through rigorous training in college, learning about history/theory of architecture, design/communication, technologies, practice/management, community design, preservation and all aspects of design. Therefore, an architect has an ability to obtain knowledge for any design challenge. Architects generally specialize in either residential or commercial. Even though some architects work in both arenas, most lean towards one. Many architects start in residential architecture getting their feet wet and later design commercial buildings only.
University life as an architect – Serbin
In the residential arena, architects may specialize in single family homes vs. multi-family or apartments. In commercial architecture, an architect may become an expert in a specific type of building such as: educational, office buildings, laboratories, warehouse, manufacturing, data center etc.
When finding an architect, ask them about their expertise to determine if their experience may fit your project type. However, as previous mentioned, an architects training teaches them to gather knowledge on any project, allowing them to truly handle most projects. Ask most architects, and they will confess they can design any type of building.
Architecture is truly a team approach. An architects role is to put together a team of designers and engineers qualified for the type of project. Therefore, even if the architect itself doesn’t have the type of building on their resume, the teams gathered experiences will allow for a successful project.
Architecture can be a long process lasting months, even years. For some clients, it may be a one time project and the relationship short. Some clients have ongoing multiple projects which will foster a relationship that lasts for years. Nevertheless, the relationship between the architect and client is important. Getting along with the architect can somewhat be like a marriage. First is the courtship to determine if you have similar likes/dislikes (styles of architecture and expertise). Second, is the architect committed to the relationship to assist the client with their goals and aspirations (dedicated to making the building satisfy their needs). Third, once the honeymoon is over and the project is underway, can the relationship get through the challenges and struggles of the design and construction process. Can you communicate your likes and dislikes of the design and talk about money and project budget?
Relationship and Trust
Architecture is a contextual art. Buildings are designed to relate to the environment. Architects must understand the general weather, solar aspects and orientation, site irregularities and natural disturbances from weather and even earthquakes. Since an architect, gathers knowledge on any project, proximity to the project is slightly less important. An Architect in Arizona must be registered within the State the project is located. However, hiring an architect for a desert climate like Arizona, one wouldn’t want to hire an architect who designs solely for the tropics.
When hiring local, someone from one side of town to the other, can have little effect upon a project. So finding an architect anywhere within your metropolitan area or even your state should be adequate. Most likely, the architect will travel to you to make the project easier.
Proximity of Architect in Arizona
Timely design is important to getting a project completed. First step is to hire a responsive architect, one who can educate that client on the process process to complete your project. The architect must determine the necessary steps to getting a permit and oversee the construction. Each site requires various approvals from local governing jurisdictions.
A time frame should be established for all the steps involved in the project. From zoning, design reviews, site plan reviews, building plan reviews to general construction durations, establishing a realistic time frame, with some wiggle room, is important. This will allow you to communicate to the architect your concerns if time feels like it’s slipping away.
Just like running track, you can’t wait around if you want to finish
Design services can vary depending upon the complexity of the project. The architect is like the ringleader of a circus. They must gather up the necessary performers (ie. engineers) to allow for a successful show. Some projects may require specialists to ensure a proper design. A required, recommended and desired team of engineers could significantly affect the overall design fee.
List of potential engineers (as needed)
- Mechanical Engineer
- Plumbing Engineer
- Electrical engineer
- Structural Engineer
- Soils engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Security consultant
- Lighting consultant
- Acoustical consultant
- Landscape architect
- Utility Design consultant
Typical architectural fees for commercial projects vary, however ~8% of construction may be reasonable. However project types and overall construction costs factor into the percentage. Higher rates may occur due to complexity of the project. In general, the greater the construction cost, the lower the % fee. When an architect deals with a smaller project, the percentage is typically higher because of the basic tasks an architect must perform for any project. Typically I like to refer to “economies of scale”. If working on a renovation to an existing facility, hiring the original design team or even getting a hold of the original design documents can affect the overall design fees. Hiring an Architect in Arizona vs. outside the state will also save you time and money since the team doesn’t have to consider travel expenses and time within their fees.
Architects fee is worth every penny
Hiring the right architect is important for a successful project. One may hire an architect based upon seeing a completed building, word of mouth from a trusted colleague or a simple internet search. However factors such as expertise, relationship, Proximity, responsiveness and price factor into that selection. An architects expertise or ability to put together a team can create a successful project. Building the relationship with an architect can allow for trust. Proximity of the architect to the job site or more importantly, understanding the local area and governing jurisdiction is important for a well designed building. Responsiveness is important for a timely delivery. Architects design fee are important to allow for the project to fall within the project budget. Good luck!
Renovation of Data Center buildings
Since, 2004, or the past 15 years, Serbin Studio has been re-designing Data center buildings in Arizona. As computer storage and computing continues to grow due to new technologies, buildings are requiring more data storage. Since 2004, data hungry companies have been adding to the required storage on the web, such as Facebook (2004), Netflix (1997), Wikipedia (2001), Amazon Cloud Computing (2005), Apple / Iphone (2007), Black Friday web (2005), Youtube (2005) etc. During the life of these buildings within existing colocation (cloud) facilities, tenants move in and out of leases. This creates opportunities for data centers to refresh and update their systems to meet current demands and upgrade to new equipment for better efficiency. Prem Data Centers also need to be refreshed or expanded to meet current and future needs as companies grow or change.
Colocation Data Center or Cloud computing – “Multi-tenant environment that is contained within a building outside of a company’s facility. It can house all the companies data or be a backup facility for disaster recovery. The data hall environment can be maintained by the tenant (triple net lease) or all operation of the systems (ie. power distribution, mechanical cooling etc.) can be maintained by the Colocation Facility. Cloud computing allows a company to minimize infrastructure of onsite while having a backup to their data in a maintained secure environment”
On Prem Data Center – “Refers to private data centers that companies house in their own facilities and maintain themselves. Benefit to onsite is ultra controlled environment with minimal latency. It is measured in Mbps or Megabytes per seconds.“
Latency – Delay of transfer of a packet of data from one designated point to another. This can be affected by number of router hops. Since data centers can be physically located anywhere in the world, a customer may want to consider the geographic location of their data to minimize delays.
In Colocation facilities, when tenants move in/out, the new tenants needs are unique and the Data Halls are updated internally. Improvements to Data Center facilities don’t just stop at at the Data Hall. Common meeting spaces such as Lobby’s, customer lounges, conference rooms, common hallways, restrooms etc. need refresh as well. Exterior of buildings also require updates to be competitive with new facilities.
Raw space within Data Center building prior to remodel
Data Hall remodel prior to Colocation tenants moving into space
Data Center restroom prior to remodel. Circa 1980’s design
Restroom remodel in progress prior to completion. Terrazzo flooring, ceramic tile full height walls, solid surface counter with undermount sink etc.
Installation of new mechanical systems can upgrade the cooling capacity of the Data Hall. New power distribution systems and lighting systems can provide additional power and improve building efficiency.
Two types of Architects are required for a successful Data Hall environment.
Data Center Network Architect – “Design and support in the network planning, network architecture design, hardware and software, transmission and signaling links and protocols for a complete computer network. They evaluate new products and perform network problem resolution. Develop technical standards …… etc.”
Data Center Building Architect – “Design of building systems to support the Data Hall environment including a safe and secure invironment with adequate power and cooling required within the space to support server equipment. Buildings are designed to structurally support the equipment as electrical equipment can be quite heavy. Architects specialize in the design of support spaces (ie. lobby, offices, conference rooms, restrooms, customer lounge etc.) to provide a comfortable working environment.”
Serbin Studio specilizes in Data Center Building Architecture. We have put together a highly experience team of architect, Mechanical, plumbing , Electrical Engineer and structural engineers and other necessary design support to ensure quality, efficient and timely designs. Projects can be design-bid-build and design-build. The design team can handle all aspects of renovations to existing Data Center facilities and New builds. From small power upgrades to a rack, building cooling upgrades, Common space remodels, to conceptual space planning, our team is ready to handle any task. Since 2004, we have facilitated over 300+ projects ranging from several thousand dollar upgrades to multi million dollar upgrades to existing facilities.
Data center’s are used to house computers which store information.
The information is stored away for ongoing importing and exporting of information, long term safekeeping and storage for future retrieval. Because the majority of this information is “for your eyes only”, the environment has to be secure from others and available to you whenever you desire it.
The information stored varies from personal to business. Banks store financial information, companies store information relating to their business, Facebook has your photos and posts, Twitter holds on to your tweets, Amazon stores your past orders, Apple Icloud stores your photos, your online retailer stores your credit card numbers, your kids snapchat floats in the cloud, this post is stored there etc.
Most people don’t realize where this information really goes or where it is stored. The term ‘cloud’ makes you look up in the sky, like a scene from Avatar, but it is all rooted firmly on the ground in Data Centers.
A Data Center therefore must be a highly secure environment which allows for oneself to access that information on a moments notice. For the most part, it is instantaneous. There are two main scenarios. (1) A company can build and operate their own data center or (2) rent space, called a colocation Data Center. Colocations Data Centers manage the facility, similar to renting space within an office building. The rental of space may be as small as one computer server, a rack which may store a dozen computers, a cage of any size storing 100’s of computers or a room storing thousands of computers. The top 4 Wholesale colocation Data Center providers as recognized by Data Center Knowledge are
- Digital Realty
- Global Switch
- China Telecom
The typical data center is comprised of a large room anywhere from a few thousand feet upwards to 40,000 s.f. The room is supported by a large electrical and mechanical infrastructure to maintain power to the computer servers while keeping them at a desired temperature. Computers use energy which give off a lot of heat. This heat if not removed will build up in a room which eventually will shut down the servers.
The power consumption within a Data Center is similar to how one uses power within our homes. At times, you have peak power when everyone is at home, turning on lights, cooking something in the oven, running our A/C to keep ourselves cool while watching television show. At other times, your power consumption is low, when your not home or asleep at night. Power companies need to supply enough power to handle the peak times a Data Center has when its servers are in heavy demand or else outages occur and clients are not happy. Therefore, data centers are similarly designed to handle higher than expected use so they can ensure that any demand is met. Data Centers use approximately 4% of the energy consumption within the U.S.
The quantity of Data Center is surprising. There are 40+ colocation Data Centers within Arizona and 100’s of privately run Data Centers.
Serbin Studio has been specializing in Data Center Design since 2004. The data center building is usually inconspicuous, not one to stand out and draw attention to. They have a level of secrecy so they can float under the radar. Most projects require the designers to sign a Non-disclosure agreement so the secrecy of the design methods are not shared with the competitors.
Within that 14 year period, we have worked on over 300 data center projects relating to conceptual designs, data center renovations, commercial office renovations, elevator renovations, exterior facades etc.
Our most recent projects in 2018 which I have sworn to secrecy include:
- Master planning for a new facility
- Exterior renovations to enhance an existing facilities tired facade
- Lobby, Customer lounge, restroom, offices and conference room renovations to enhance the customer experience
- Power upgrades to an existing facility
The Liquor Corral is nearing its completion of the renovation process. We are just completing the final details. From the initial design concept to the final product, it has maintained its vision.
Located in the heart of downtown Buckeye ‘Historical district’, the original building was essentially a prefabricated metal building, with an entry reflective of an old western facade. It had wood siding, a wood deck and security bars adorning its windows.
Our initial goals was to give it a fresh new look while still maintaining the old west feel. We wanted to get rid of the bars on the windows which was not welcoming. However we did need to consider security in our design.
The building owner, who is originally from Iran, wanted to reflect upon the wonderful architectural character of his cultural background. He wanted us to look at architecture from the middle east and somehow blend this into our design. Through both our memories from college architectural history 101 and our research for this project, we fell in love with the lattice work type design of ‘mashrabiya’ or ‘Shanasheel’. It become our goal to fuse this design element.
We wanted to develop a design which didn’t completely change the basic bones of the building or structure. We had to be very cost conscious. We began looking at cowboy western wear, specifically cowboy boot design. We concluded that the patterns of leather on the boots was similar to the cut patterns of mashrabiya screens. With the use of rusted metal panels and the use of a plasma cutting machine, we were able to create our own mashrabiya meets western wear motife.
We took this design element and developed custom sliding barn doors which open during the day and closed for security at night. This allowed us to get rid of the security bars.
Barn Door Detail
With the help from the City of Buckeye Economic Development Catalyst Grant Program and the trust of the business owner in our design, the project became a reality. With the dedication form Chris Rounds of Rounds Construction, we worked through the design challenges to create this custom one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece.
Riding in the elevator shown below (Prior to the remodel) was quite uneventful. Maintenance was an issue as well.
original elevator cab
To make the elevator enjoyable for everyone, whether you just want to get to your designated floor safely in a modernized elevator cab or enjoy your time going up and down and relive your childhood, Serbin Studio, VTX and Brignall Construction have updated and modernized the City of Phoenix Elevator servicing the City of Phoenix Transit Department.
The Elevator was over 30 years old and in need of an uplift to the inner workings (motors, machine room, control center etc.). In the meantime, the elements which you and I see, the elevator cab was also in need of some new finishes. The original elevator cab was like an old Lawyer’s office from the 80’s. I know the 80’s are making a comeback, but hopefully nothing like the existing cab look.
Here is the original sketch and the end result. Sometimes a sketch can make things look better than the real thing, but I must say the real thing looks and feels great.
New Elevator Cab
We brought in new finishes and a little bling, stainless steel and shiny mirrors which make the elevator look bigger and modern. So far, one elevator complete and 3 to go in this exciting renovation.