Our Process Our Process is based on AIA (American Institute of Architects) standard contracts and contract deliverables, and are usually delivered in five phases: Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding and Negotiation, and Construction Administration. Our design process is heavily influenced by The Universal Traveler, originally published in 1971, subtitled “A soft-systems guide to creativity, problem solving, and the process of reaching goals.” The book’s introduction states, “Any problem, dream, or aspiration, no matter its size or degree of complexity, can benefit from the same logical and orderly ‘systematic’ process employed to solve world-level problems.” It can best be explained, however, using the quote from the original back cover, “Design is the process of making dreams come true.” We couldn’t agree more. Programming Programming is the process of defining the needs, goals, and requirements of a project as a concise problem or question, the answer to which is architectural design. If we use the Universal Traveler as a guide, with the first step being “Accept the Situation,” then Programming defines the situation. Our Process usually includes a written list of needs, goals, and requirements, and begins to translate those aspects into spacial blocks and adjacency relationships.
Pre-Design and Image Boarding Prior to initiating the formal design phases (pre-design), our Process includes a visual analysis of design sensibilities, materiality, spacial qualities, and compositional starting points that we commonly refer to as Image Boarding. Our Image Boards select, edit, and arrange these visual elements into specific reference documents that are extraordinarily useful during the design process. It is highly participatory, and often-times the entire catalog of visuals is provided by the Client. Schematic Design Our design Process begins with the initial Program and Image Boards, and works its way through the systematic steps of Analysis, Definition, Ideation, Selection, Implementation, and Evaluation. Usually, the process is cyclical, as evaluation begets a further refinement of the Program and Image Boards. The result is a Schematic Design that sets the size, relationship, and general character of the project components; it includes an arrangement of the solution as block diagrams, and is further translated into hand-drawn architectural plan sketches and elevations.
Design Development Design Development builds on the Schematic Design and adds further detail and refinement, with a particular reliance on computer modeling and graphics. Although the usual deliverables are Plans, Sections, and Elevations, each element within the drawings (i.e.. windows, doors, walls, floors, etc.) is part of a component-based database for use in subsequent phases. The addition of keynotes and preliminary schedules completes the phase. When the project requires additional entitlements (such as Design Review, Conditional Use Permits, or Variances) our Design Development documents forms the basis for these submittals.
Construction Documents Construction Documents sets forth in detail the requirements for the construction of the project, and include drawings, schedules, and specifications. These drawings are submitted for approval by governing agencies, form the basis for a building permit, and are submitted to contractors for pricing and development of the construction contract.