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Ghafari Design Architect in Grand Rapids, Michigan


General Summary

The Design Architect is a skilled listener and interprets and translates the needs and desires of a client into user experience and/or built environment. While responsible for leadership in discovery, feasibility and conceptualization, the Design Architect also guides the development and documentation of a project. The design architect offers new thinking, inspiration and motivation to internal teams and client groups alike.

Key Responsibilities

  • Inspires and leads others in project team setting while under the guidance of the Director of Design and Principal in Charge

  • Conceptualize a building design from both a functional and aesthetic perspective in concert with a client's requirements, budget and program

  • Development of a design through sketches, physical models, electronic models, diagrams, massing studies, and other visual formats to express the design intent and communicate to project team, client, and building user groups

  • Demonstrates advanced understanding and application of design practices, theories, and methods.

  • Understands and responds to the technical implications of design decisions

  • Facilitates goals for excellence in design, execution, and sustainability

  • May participate in marketing presentations and client meetings

  • Coordinates contractors, consultants and vendor assignments

  • May organize, direct and mentor junior staff

  • Utilize BIM technologies in development of three dimensional models of building and their components

  • Lead design pin-ups

  • Understands complex facility program compilation, analysis and implementation

  • Develop space planning, block planning, and adjacency diagrams in coordination with building program

  • Presenting the building design to stakeholders (client groups and project teams) during early project phases

  • Interpret and apply building codes and requirements of regulatory agencies in development of the building design

  • Evaluate and select building systems and materials

  • Coordinate building systems (structural, mechanical, electrical, etc.) to ensure compatibility with the design intent

  • Implement sustainable design principles into the building design and surrounding environment

  • Analyze site incorporating geotechnical, hydrological, environmental, social and economic conditions.

  • Develop building design in accordance with cost parameters

  • Ensure that design intent is maintained through documentation and construction

  • Present the building design to stakeholders (client groups and project teams)


Experience, Capabilities and Credentials

  • 7-10 years of design experience required

  • Architectural licensure must be in-progress or in-hand; ability to meet NCARB requirements for licensure in other states required

  • LEED Green Associate Accreditation or LEED AP preferred

  • Architectural design experience in educational, commercial, multi-family residential, hospitality, institutional and workplace markets is preferred but not required

  • Ability to hand sketch and communicate concepts and ideas to clients effectively

  • Ability to apply accessibility codes, applicable building codes, and life-safety codes to the design of a wide variety of project scopes and complexity

  • General knowledge of building construction systems, constructability, materials, and industry associated standards

  • Ability to check work of others for accuracy and completeness and manage team to meet project budget and schedule

  • Ability to interpret sketches, drawings, codes, building program and other similar material

  • Ability to clearly present abstract ideas to the client and client representative

  • Ability to engage in new thinking and critical thought

Education and Software Experience

  • Degree in support of an Architectural license required (accredited Master's degree or 5 year Bachelor's degree)

  • Experience with modeling/drafting software (Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD)

  • Strong experience with design software (Sketch-up, Creative Cloud, Rhino, etc.) required


Ghafari is a global engineering, architecture, process design, consulting, and construction services firm driven to understand and meet the distinct needs of every client. For nearly forty years, we have taken a personal approach to highly technical projects in complex markets. By blending insight with technological innovation, we help clients elevate their efficiency, sustainability, and impact.

Our full-service, in-house team works together to meet the unique demands of each project. Working side by side, market experts and discipline leaders exchange insights to uncover new opportunities for efficiency. This rigorous collaboration allows us to bridge smart design with precise functionality.

Ghafari was founded on the promise of technological innovation. Today, we are recognized as a pioneer in adopting and standardizing the latest advancements in our field. We aim to remain at the forefront of our industry and create ever-smarter spaces that help clients navigate new demands within their field.

Join our team and work on forward-thinking projects around the world.

Ghafari Associates, LLC is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action employer and is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities in the employment application process. If you need an accommodation due to a disability in order to use our online system to apply for a position at Ghafari Associates, LLC, you may apply for positions in the following ways:

Connect to our job portal (

By fax at 313.436.8624; Attn: Human Resources

By mail at 17101 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI 48126; Attn: Human Resources

In person at 17101 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI 48126.

By email at

If there are any questions or additional accommodations that are required, please contact 313.441.3000 for assistance.

It is Ghafari Associates, LLC’s policy not to discriminate in its employment and personnel practices because of a person’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, weight, height, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a qualified individual with a disability or a protected veteran, or any other classification protected by federal, state or local law or ordinance.

Job ID 2019-1397

Job Location US-MI-Grand Rapids

Category Architecture