Maintaining Design Intent Through Construction
Architects are visual thinkers. Our critical thinking skills are called upon to translate our clients’ aspirations into three-dimensional forms that inhabit a site and create functional and beautiful spaces. During the design process, from initiation to completion, we build trust through collaboration and communication, allowing us to maintain the integrity and intent of the design. To make the construction process succeed as strongly, we must forge prudent partnerships with all stakeholders, particularly our colleagues on the construction team.
Maintaining Integrity and Creating Continuity
Architecture entails much more than virtually modeling our design and producing meticulously detailed construction documents. Our clients look to us for industry integrity. When we partner with our clients to develop their vision, an integral part of our responsibly is to serve as stewards of the environment and weave the mission of our client into the project.
Equally vital to attaining the client’s vision is formulating a team to deliver the project while maintaining the design intent throughout the lengthy construction process. A first step to ensure that the right team members are in place is to look beyond the details to understand the project as a whole. We encourage assembling users who are engaged in the day-to-day function and operation of our projects, alongside the indispensable construction team members responsible for design implementation. For example, teachers clearly understand classroom needs and pedagogical researchers have in-depth knowledge about the future of education. On the flip side, roofing installers have gained critical expertise in situational installation specifics, and roofing manufacturers know the functional and environmental limits of their materials.
Asking the right questions, involving all stakeholders in the right discussions, and engaging construction professionals at the appropriate time makes them part owners of the design, which ultimately leads to a successful project.
Weaving the Construction Team into the Narrative
Projects typically begin with visioning sessions where key client and owner stakeholders share multiple stories that ultimately inform the vision and mission for the project. Yet, too rarely are members of the construction team included in hearing the stories behind this big vision. Sharing the narrative with construction team members makes them part of it, allowing them the same pride that the designers have in the completed project. This is a fundamental step.
Cooperation with construction experts means spending the time to truly understand the technical limits of specified materials. Conversely, it is our job to carefully communicate how even the smallest details are part of the overall vision – the slope of a roof, the design of a guardrail, the placement of a reveal, or the elevation of a datum line must be woven within the building’s story to maintain the integrity of those elements across the entire project.
Construction of a facility often spans multiple years, making teamwork, constant communication, and respect absolutely critical throughout the duration. The payoff is a truly remarkable project that owners, users, architects, and craftsman can be proud of.