Below is a copy/paste of a post I offered at www.GearSlutz.com (acoustics forum) pertaining to how one becomes a professional studio designer. I thought in hindsight that this applies to many situations…the process that is.
As your question is asked, a studio designer first and foremost has to completely understand the functions of a studio and ensure/protect those functions to the very highest degree possible (within the given budget).
A studio designer is actually not (typically) a licensed architect or structural engineer. Typically, there is early involvement with local architect if permits are to be submitted. The studio designer does design the architecture, space planning, isolation, internal acoustics, systems and finishes BUT with partners. More and more all architect and engineering processes involve an “egoless” exchange of lead client role (this may extend from a structural engineer the client never meets to a wiring integrator that lives in the space for months). For a complete ground up facility, the studio designer has to be a quarterback and move the ball forward.
Today, there aren’t many ground up facilities…more renovations. But that is not really the point. The point is to have the ability to ask the right question, at the right time, in the right manner to get a great result.
I define the design process as the following: 1) discovery: understanding the client’s needs, goals and existing factors 2) design concept: architecturally called the “program” or schematic design. This may be only plan view, but tells the story of form and function 3) documentation & development: the blueprint process 4) actualization: making it real…bid review, through construction monitoring…lots of communication and support. Important to have clarity on the goals and set proper standards and expectations. 5) verification: did we meet the mark? In a remote situation, this could be simple phone call and questioning…all the way to multi-day acoustical measurements and refinements.
Every job follows that path and each category has the ability to be extremely minimal or vastly complex.
I hope this is helpful. Your passions are headed the right direction…do check out that Russ Berger interview.