about

Introduction: 

Charles Todd Helton Architect, Inc. is a full service Architectural firm, with offices in both Houston/The Woodlands & Austin, Texas. We specialize in residential Architecture - designing homes for families to enjoy for more than 13 years now. The key is listening to, and helping clients, in order to design the exact home that they desire. The budget is also key - if you can let me know your budget and desired square footage, the first task is to check them against each other to make sure all is feasible. Building a home is usually the most expensive purchase in your life, so it is key to make sure all aspects are done correctly so the final costs are within the desired range. Most of my clients have never used an Architect before, so don't be worried if you have never been through this process before - most have not. But it is the only way to get a true custom home designed around your needs. 

The principle, Charles Todd Helton, Architect, graduated with a bachelor of Architecture from the University of Houston in 1999 - Cum Laude. He interned at Bianchi Architects, Planning Design Research, SDT Architects and Lancaster & Associates, before starting his own practice in 2003. Mr. Helton is a registered Architect in the state of Texas and a member of the following organizations: The American Institute of Architects (AIA), The Texas Society of Architects (TSA), and the Rice Design Alliance (RDA). 

Design Philosophy: 

Architecture is the creation of buildings and spaces that are both artistically and logically thought out, a sort of balancing act between the right and left brain. I strive not to create in a certain style, but to let the Architecture be what it needs to be. Each building has a unique set of parameters and circumstances which should be reflected in the buildings design. Context is equally important, there are always existing external forces that cannot responsibly be ignored. Just as important, the Architectural process should be an enjoyable experience. I strive to build good relationships with all of my clients. I find that the best way to satisfy design needs is to learn as much as I can about my clients. 

WHAT WE DO

 Architectural Services:

Feasibility Studies: Feasibility studies help a client understand the scope and cost of a project with little time or cost involved. By completing a few 'quick' designs and sketches, and by having an experienced contractor provide preliminary cost estimates, a client can determine whether or not to proceed to the next step. 

Site Selection: Site selection is an important step in the design process. Appropriate site selection can help to create a community presence, maximize views, and can even lower heating and cooling costs. 

Programming: During programming, I meet with the client to fully understand their needs and expectations. This is a very important process, it is the 'foundation' of any successful building project. You must know the whole question before any answer can be given. I am a firm believer in completing the programming phase before beginning the graphic design solution process. 

Master Planning: Master planning is realizing the clients'  final goal. During master planning, I translate the programming information to a visual format, by designing the site plan, floor plan, exterior elevations and sometimes a model. This phase is more conceptual than the design process, and is usually intended to locate the general spaces, or massing, of the project. Only after realizing the total scope of a project within its parameters, can one begin a responsible design process. 

Design: Design is taking all of the clients needs, desires and limitations, and converting them into a pleasing, responsible and affordable building format. This process can only be successful if the programming and master planning phases of the project are thorough, and for the most part complete. This phase of the project is where the 'building' takes a realistic shape, usually through the use of sketches and study models, until an appropriate and pleasing solution is realized and agreed upon. 

Construction Documentation: Construction documentation is the transformation of all of the design ideas into a useable set of working drawings, or construction documents. The project is constructed from these drawings, so extra care will be taken to make them as clear and as accurate as possible. A thorough knowledge of building components, as well as materials and methods of construction, is required to successfully complete this aspect of the building process. 

Bidding and Negotiation: The bidding and negotiation process involves: distribution of bidding invitations, bidding instructions, providing sets of drawings to contractors, answering questions, receiving bids, reviewing bids with the owner, and helping the owner to select the appropriate contractor. 

Construction Administration: The construction administration phase runs concurrent with the actual building construction process. Working closely with the owner and contractor during this phase is essential to the accurate and timely completion of the building process. Being able to answer questions and resolve problems in a timely and honest manner, directly reflects the Architect's knowledge of the building process, as well as knowledge and care for both the client and the contractor. 

Code Review: Documenting the existing facility as needed in order to obtain a permit: site visits, code review, talking with fire marshals and building code reviewers at the city, etc...