This helpful article published by the American Institute of Architects is a must read for any congregation contemplating hiring an architect or architectural firm to assist in a building program. It can be easily downloaded and copied for distribution to a Building Committee or other responsible leadership. There are five categories for a congregation to inquire about. The first is Experience: what is the architect’s philosophy of design? Do they have experience with your type of building? Whom will you be working with? Do they have a portfolio of similar projects? Second, what about the Congregation’s Project itself? What kind of issues does the firm see and are they willing to make your project a priority? How will they collect data? The third issue is Design: what steps will the architect use in the design process? What kind of information will they need from the congregation? The fourth issue is Green Design? If your congregation is interested in a sustainable design, what actual experience does the firm have in this continually emerging field? The final issue is fees: how will they be determined and what is a preliminary estimate for your project?