Laurels

Best Architects
2022

The Best Architects
Here Are The Top Architects
GTM Architects

GTM Architects

GTM Architects is a residential and commercial architecture firm serving clients in Bethesda and nationwide. The company offers architecture, planning, and interior design services through a wide array of skill-sets. GTM Architects has experience designing homes, multifamily sites, commercial properties, and commercial interiors. The company works in collaborative studio environments with each focused on specific project types to offer expertise in every area of the project. GTM Architects has won design awards and has been featured in a variety of magazines.

Bethesda, MD 20814

Website

Website
Jonathan Kuhn Architect

Jonathan Kuhn Architect

Jonathan Kuhn is an award-winning architectural firm that serves clients in Washington. The firm has designed homes, offices, multi-site residential spaces, and retail sites. Jonathan Kuhn has experience creating a variety of spaces, including a warm and inviting reception for a law firm, luxury condos, dental and medical facilities, historic renovations, and parks. The company transformed a single family home into a luxurious 8-unit condominium building and has experience with exterior renovations.

Washington, DC 20001

Website

Website
Wentworth Studio

Wentworth Studio

Wentworth is a design-build firm in Chevy Chase with experience in architecture, interior design, and construction. The company offers remodels for whole homes, kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and historic homes. The company can convert garages and attics, and also has experience designing home exteriors. Wentworth reconfigures current floor plans to become more luxurious and spacious, to enhance the function, aesthetic, and market value of the home. Wentworth has experience in several styles, including the American Bungalow, art deco, colonial revival, federal styles, Georgian, Greek Revival, and Tudor.

Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Website

Website
McInturff Architects

McInturff Architects

McInturff Architects is a Bethesda design firm that specializes in small highly-crafted contemporary design for residential, commercial, and small institutional projects. The company offers complete architectural and interior design services, and tailors projects to the needs of the users. McInturff Architects has designed new homes with custom floor plans. The company has also modified homes and created new floorplans for existing designs. The company designs office space, cafe spaces, theaters, and retail spaces. McInturff Architects has won dozens of design awards.

Bethesda, MD 20816

Website

Website
Barnes Vanze Architect

Barnes Vanze Architect

Barnes Vanze is a Washington design firm that has served clients since 1989. The company has experience with commercial and institutional work, including complete rehabilitation and additions to historic commercial properties. The company has designed new university buildings and additions for modern facilities that are expanding. Past projects include traditional and modern designs and vacation homes. Barnes Vanze has won the Traditional Building’s Palladio awards and the DC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Awards for Excellence.

Washington, DC 20007

Website

Website
R. Michael Cross Design Group

R. Michael Cross Design Group

The R. Michael Cross Design Group is a full service architecture firm in Washington that focuses on designing sustainable environments for home, work, and play. The project team is composed of LEED Accredited Professionals with a broad range of experience in both residential and commercial design. Past projects include condo conversions, multi-family residential properties, dental and medical facilities, retail spaces, and single family renovations. The R. Michael Cross Design Group was voted the 2015 Best Architecture Firm.

Washington, DC 20009

Website

Website
Wiedemann Architects

Wiedemann Architects

Wiedemann Architects is a full-service architectural firm in Bethesda with over 30 years of experience designing new homes, estates, residential additions, and large institutional and commercial projects. The firm offers feasibility studies, programming, site planning, master planning, urban design, and interior design. Wiedemann Architect's portfolio encompasses work that is both traditional and modern in design and creates seamless residential additions that look like part of the original design. The company has experience with designs from apartments and penthouses to farms and estates.

Bethesda, MD 20816

Website

Website
Shinberg.Levinas

Shinberg.Levinas

Shinberg.Levinas is full-service design firm in Washington with design experience in multiple industries. The firm has designed residential homes, multi-family units, schools, sacred spaces, and commercial properties. The firm also offers clients interior design packages. Shinberg.Levinas is an atelier-style studio that is strengthened by dynamic and collaborative relationships. Shinberg.Levinas has been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Architectural Record, Interior Design, Home & Design, and Le Figaro.

Washington, DC 20016

Website

Website
Maurice Walters Architect

Maurice Walters Architect

Maurice Walters Architect is a Washington architecture firm that specializes in urban design and the design of residential and mixed-use projects. The company has experience in conceptual design and entitlement of larger scale urban mixed-use projects. Maurice Walters Architect focuses on the redevelopment of existing urban environments in a thoughtful, efficient and sustainable manner. The company aims to create timeless designs that transcend style and trends. Maurice Walters Architect received the Bronze Award in the Brick in Architecture Awards from the Brick Institute of America.

Washington, DC 20004

Website

Website
Martinez & Johnson Architecture

Martinez & Johnson Architecture

Martinez + Johnson Architecture is a design firm in Washington that has served clients for over 20 years. The firm has experience working with not for profit associations, educational institutions, and the nation's largest promoters and presenters of live entertainment. A past client wrote, “M+J’s staff provided that quick attention and an ease to work with that made the project a success not only to the city client and community, but also to the contractors that participated.”

Washington, DC 20001

Website

Website

Expert Answers To Common Questions:

  1. Introduction
  2. How much does an architect cost?
  3. How much do residential architects charge?
  4. Do I need an architect to build a house?
  5. How can someone draw like an architect?
  6. Do you need an architect for a renovation?
  7. How long is an architect liable for a building?
  8. Should I hire an architect or draftsman?
  9. Do you need an architect to finish a basement?
  10. How much do architects make?
  11. How long does it take to become an architect?
  12. What degree do you need to be an architect?
  13. Can you become an architect without a degree?
  14. What programs do architects use to render?
  15. Do architects need insurance?
  16. How much is professional liability insurance for architects?
Q: Introduction
A:
Architects are skilled professionals who create designs and plans for a variety of reasons. While the term architect traditionally refers to a professional who creates building plans, either for residential or commercial properties, the word can also refer to an architect who works with technology and digital infrastructure. Below are some of the most common titles an architect may have:
  • Landscape architect: Designs outdoor spaces, such as parks, gardens, and college campuses

  • Restoration architect: Preserves historic buildings and monuments
  • Lighting architect: Designs, installs, and operates lighting for theater and film productions
  • Extreme architect: Creates buildings that withstand major disasters or severe weather
  • Residential architect: Designs homes and multifamily properties
  • Sustainable/green design architect: Designs buildings that have a minimal environmental impact
  • Industrial architect: Develops plans for industrial buildings, such as factories and plants
  • Conservation architect: Preserves unprotected heritage sites
  • Interior architect: Designs interiors for commercial and residential buildings
Q: How much does an architect cost?
A:
The cost of hiring an architect varies, depending on what type of work needs to be done. According to Home Guide, most traditional architects charge anywhere from $100 to $250 per hour to draw plans; however, this cost may vary depending on experience and project scope.
Q: How much do residential architects charge?
A:
Residential architects typically charge anywhere from $2,000 to $8,500 for initial plans and small projects, according to Home Advisor. For large projects, revisions, and extra services, this cost can increase.
Q: Do I need an architect to build a house?
A:
While it's not required to hire an architect before building a house, it's usually a good idea. An architect can ensure that all housing plans are done per local housing codes while ensuring the home is beautifully designed.
Q: How can someone draw like an architect?
A:
It requires practice and knowledge of drawing different perspectives and dimensions. Tutorial videos can be found online that advise beginners; however, without proper instruction and technique, architectural drawings may not be in accordance with building laws.
Q: Do you need an architect for a renovation?
A:
An architect isn't always required for a remodel or renovation; however, some municipalities may require professional architect drawings before construction permits are approved. In most cases, it's best to check with local laws before undergoing renovations.
Q: How long is an architect liable for a building?
A:
Architects may be held liable for up to 15 years after the completion of a project. Until that time has passed, architects may face claims for defects in design.
Q: Should I hire an architect or draftsman?
A:
If no design exists, an architect can help take a project from start to finish. However, if a design already exists and an engineer has reviewed the project, a draftsman can use plans and engineering drawings to create a blueprint for construction professionals.
Q: Do you need an architect to finish a basement?
A:
Just as with remodeling projects and renovations, an architect isn't normally required to finish a basement. That being said, some municipalities may require architectural drawings before construction is approved, so it's best to check local laws.
Q: How much do architects make?
A:
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, architects earn an average of $82,320 per year. Of course, this salary can vary depending on experience, skill, and projects they undertake.
Q: How long does it take to become an architect?
A:
An undergraduate degree in architecture takes about five years to earn while attending school full-time. Some architects may choose to earn a master's degree in their field, which normally takes an additional three years.
Q: What degree do you need to be an architect?
A:
While some students become architects with a bachelor's of architecture degree, many prefer to further their education with a master's of architecture degree. Those with master's degrees typically earn a greater salary.
Q: Can you become an architect without a degree?
A:
While an architect typically requires at least a bachelor's degree, those who wish to become an architectural technologist, an architectural technician, or a draftsperson can earn certification at a technical college.
Q: What programs do architects use to render?
A:
Several programs are commonly used in the architectural community. While AutoCAD is the most common, some architects may prefer to use programs such as ArchiCAD, SketchUp, Revit Architecture, or Rhino 3D.
Q: Do architects need insurance?
A:
Architects should invest in professional liability insurance to protect them against claims of faulty designs. In some states, architects must carry this type of insurance before they're able to practice legally.
Q: How much is professional liability insurance for architects?
A:
The average cost of professional liability insurance is $35 per month, according to Insureon. It's important to note that this cost may vary depending on policy options, such as deductibles and limits and the provider.