Our Philosophy

Brian Cleveland Architects is a responsive architectural design firm focused on building sustainable and resilient spaces to live, work, and grow. Our team of architects and designers located in Fairfield County provide architectural, interior design, and site planning services throughout Connecticut on a wide range of project types focusing on single-family residential, multi-family residential, adaptive reuse, office, municipal, and industrial building types. We work with home owners, entrepreneurs, developers, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and housing authorities.  We pride ourselves on the long-term relationships we develop with our clients.

Within all project types we strive to develop highly energy efficient buildings following the principals of USGBC LEED, Passive House, and EnergyStar. We have worked with several manufacturers of factory-built building systems who are able to expedite the delivery of a completed building to market while minimizing waste and energy used in the construction process and allowing our clients to occupy their buildings more quickly.

We spend most of our time inside of buildings and the way that we live, work, and grow within them affects all of us. The design of a building can spur creativity, bring people together to inspire innovation, and affect our physical & emotional health. Creating well designed buildings with connections to the outdoors, natural light, healthy construction materials, and well design mechanical systems all promote health living while being indoors. We believe in bringing together a team of design professionals who are committed to creating resilient and sustainable buildings and landscapes. We partner with engineers and industry leaders who have the proper expertise for our client’s projects.

Where We Came From

Brian Cleveland Architects is a newly formed architectural practice with a long history of successful projects.   Brian Cleveland is a licensed architect with over 20 years of architectural design experience working with innovative and talented teams of architects, designers and engineers over that time.  In 2022, he was asked to join forces with Barry Unger Associates, a design and construction management firm with nearly 30 years of experience in architectural design and in guiding projects to construction completion.

Our People

Brian Cleveland Architects encourages our staff to be creative in their thinking and approach to a design. The office is an open and collaborative environment promoting the sharing of knowledge and experiences between members.  The diverse skills and backgrounds of our staff allows for a wide range of experiences which guides us to the best solution for our clients.

Why Hire an Architect?

Before a contractor can start construction, the needs of a client must be collected, understood, and documented. This program of needs must be complete to ensure that a client’s expectation of what they need is built. Architects have experience interpreting a client’s needs and asking questions that a client may not have considered.  They are able to take these needs and create a layout that considers all parts of the program, optimizes the space to their needs, and creates logical connections from room to room.

Architects are problem solvers taking the requirements of a client and producing a creative solution given all the constraints imposed on the project because of location, budget, connections, zoning, building codes, or energy efficiency. Architects are trained to look at a wide variety of tangible and intangible considerations and provide solutions to satisfy them.  Architects help clients analyze potential buildings or sites that the project could occupy.  The program is considered for each location to determine if the client’s needs can be integrated into the space.  A long, skinny lot will create a building design that is specific to its shape and would likely be different then if it were on square lot. 

An architect is knowledgeable of a wide variety of construction materials, building equipment, and systems.  They consider the relationship of these items and integrate each of their needs into the design of the building.  Architects are able to relate each of these systems to the project cost and make recommendations on how to keep with the client’s budget while still ensuring the program is met.

Taking time at the beginning of a project to work through numerus options, to review the layouts that meet them, and to consider wants versus needs to be included will save clients’ money.  The contractor will require additional time to redo work already completed, the architect will need time to revise the project drawings to reflect the changes, and the suppliers will require additional time to order and deliver building materials.  The lose of time and materials during construction cost money.

Architects can also save a client money during construction.  Architects know what is in their drawings.  When a contract starts to build the project, they are learning all of the information that is included, understanding it and then executing it.  With the learning curve enhearten in getting to know what is in the documents, there are mistakes or omissions that sometimes come from this.  Having an architect provide periodic site observations to review the progress of the project during construction allows the architect to identify areas that are different from the drawings and bring it to the attention of the contractor. Corrections to the construction can be made before the work gets too far along and becomes more costly to correct.

Architects can also make a client money.  Well designed buildings sell for a higher price.  The quality of work that comes from the collaboration between the architect and contractor is observable by buyers.

Architects have a network of other professionals such as engineers, surveyors, designers, and contractors that may be required to complete the project. Having an established network of these professionals that the architect can recommend will save a client time and effort in trying to find and vet them themself.

Construction is a long and complicated process relying on the assembly of hundreds of materials fitting together in a considered and logical way to create an environment that can be utilized for its intended purpose.  When hiring an architect, clients are hiring an advocate for their needs. Architects work for client and their best interests to guide the hundreds of people that work on the project and that they are unified in building a project that meets your needs. 

If you are interested in talking with an architect about your project, contact us by phone or email.  Consultation with you about your project and what services we can provide is free.