Monday, 13 January 2014

We're listening...

Our listening diagram...

This is one of the most challenging areas of being an architect. It is also one of the most exciting and rewarding. It is vital to actively listen to understand the needs of Clients, user groups and occupants, to ensure the development of a successful design. Active listening involves searching for meaning and asking the right questions and this is achieved in the quality of communication.

We set out to interpret, evaluate and understand the information relayed to us at the beginning of a project and remain in close communication with our Client groups throughout the process.  The diagram above describes our approach to listening and how it relates to design.

Discuss
This is where we gather information on the project brief, background information, and take notes at initial meetings. We like to work as a sounding board to allow the Client or speaker to develop and articulate their thoughts on the project. The information gathering must be as complete as possible to enable the right connections to be made in the design process. We like to stay open minded and not rely on past work or preconceived judgements to influence the process. Our goal is to understand, because every project is different and every Client is individual. 

Evaluate
Time is needed to absorb, assimilate and digest the information gathered, and work out how all the relevant parts best go together. Connections are made to answer the requirements of the Client and the brief, but also to see where additional value can be added to the project.

Respond
Draft proposals make an ideal opportunity to test and develop the design. Initial and developing design responses need to be as complete and as accurate as possible for this part of the discussion process. Highlighting how key project issues are addressed and keeping a close eye on project costs are important.

Add Value
It's important to offer some bright ideas to the project, ways in which innovation might be added to design. It is also important not to avoid any difficult issues and tackle them as a priority. Throughout the design process it is essential to keep listening to the Client and relevant peer groups, focusing more and more on detailed and personal specifics.  These are areas which are of value to them and often underlie bigger issues in the project.  In all areas of architectural design, development can take place on a personal level.  This is understandable.  Humans are social creatures and a central goal of the architectural profession is to build and reinforce the right social relationships. Discussions on a personal level are relevant and important.

Action
A comprehensive and coordinated set of production information produced by the design team leads the way towards construction. 

DesignBox Architecture
At DesignBox architecture we believe there is no such thing as a silly question.  If in doubt we don't pretend to understand and we are not afraid to ask.  We're listening. Lets talk!

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