Interested in soliciting for unique proposals for a residential project in san antonio


Hello, I am interested in soliciting proposals for a unique home in san antonio, I am looking for someone creative, interested in bringing to life a creative and sculptural home in the city.  I was thinking of offering a prize and opportunity to work with me for the best conceptualization.  Are there places I can advertise this and put together a national/international competition?  I would be really interested in identifying a person just starting out, or a student, and perhaps offer a scholarship or something.  Thanks in advance... 

Feb 11, 19 11:47 am
Non Sequitur

How much of a stipend are you offering to each team as compensation for their time?  

Sounds like you have a million dollar idea but only a McDonald's value meal type budget.  This won't work out well for you as you're trying to skip corners and source free design work.  What you need to do is take some time and research architects in your region who you admire and contact them.  They may, or may not, charge you a consultation fee ($300/hr, most likely) but at least you'll know if they are worth hiring for your project.

Looking for a place where you can say" hey you fancy-pants designer folks, design me a nice house and if I like your design, I'll give you a few hundred buckaroos." is terrible and no self-respecting professional would consider this a real project.

Feb 11, 19 11:52 am

Most AIA chapters will post RFIs/RFQs, or you can peruse their websites to find architects to contact. 

Regardless of whether you decide to go with an architect or an unlicensed designer, make sure to check references and see their past built work.  Hiring a student or someone just starting out is a nice idea, but in that situation you would almost certainly also need someone more experienced to work with them, to spot omissions, things that would be difficult or impossible to build,  code issues, structural issues, permit requirements, etc.  This site is full of cautionary tales of people who hired inexperienced, unlicensed designers and ended up with code problems, disappearing or uncooperative designers, out-of-control costs, and in some cases serious life safety issues.

Generally "competitions" that expect free work are frowned upon.  Most architects will meet with you for free, to learn about your project and to review their own portfolios with you, and will give you an estimate of their fee to do the project.  But once a design professional starts working on your project in any capacity that should be that billable time.  It's unusual to approach a residential project as a competition, but to do it in a way that would attract people actually qualified to do the work you'd need to pay all of the entrants for that preliminary design work.

Feb 11, 19 12:12 pm

thank you.  Great idea... I am really looking for someone that has a creative idea... as opposed to just hiring someone.  Have done that and been reasonably satisfied.  But was looking to push boundaries, perhaps publish the house.  

Feb 11, 19 3:20 pm
Non Sequitur

every student thinks they are the most creative person ever yet none will know the first thing to designing for the purpose of permit or construction. If you have the budget, it's worth interviewing real design offices instead. You've been heavily warned.


I do have some connections with out school of architecture here in San Antonio, was thinking of partnering with them somehow to offer scholarships.  

Feb 11, 19 3:23 pm
Non Sequitur

see my reply above... was intended for here.


There are some architecture schools that take on a limited number of private projects as part of their studio curriculum, or that have university-associated design workshops (which usually operate as non-profits but typically do charge fees) that will take on such projects. If there's something like that at the architecture school near you then it's possible you could shop the project to them - or at least the early design phases of the project - and then, at least in theory, there would be experienced faculty supervising.

You could of course also just advertise for a student or recent grad to provide design services - perhaps advertise through local universities or even craigslist. It would probably be harmless for you to pay for some design ideas that way - though I'm in agreement with others above that 1. you're very likely going to find that you need someone more experienced to help you realize those ideas well - or if it doesn't seem that way then you may not have enough experience yourself to see it...; and 2. it's a bad idea, and even quite offensive to reputable design professionals, even entry-level ones, to structure this as a competition that initially solicits free work.

( o Y o )

I need surgery. Anybody know a med student or someone just staring out? I could offer a scholarship or something. Thanks in advance... 

Feb 11, 19 6:19 pm


Do lots of research, study the work of architect that you admire, meet with several of the top contenders.  Find someone that you have confidence in.  And then trust them enough to hire them and give you something great.

We have been asked many times in the past to do a competitive “bake-off” with other architects.  We have always refused, because is is not the way to find an architect to design you a custom home.  You will never get the best work from someone working under those kind of conditions.  Designing a custom home for someone is a relationship-thing, a process, not a product.  You may get an interesting and fashionable sculpture, if that’s what’s you want.  But not a home.

Feb 11, 19 10:52 pm

i say u should do the competition & i'd like to participate

Feb 13, 19 2:39 pm

Yes please do this and post the results.

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