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June 25, 2018 \ Briefing & Interiors
by Catrìona Macdonald

We’re always thinking about how we can improve the quality of the service that we provide to clients, particularly in areas beyond the modern conventional remit of architects. We have a Briefing and Interiors team within the practice who focus on driving forward our quality and abilities within these two particular fields which have a significant impact on the suitability and feel of our finished projects.

We have long believed in the importance of conversation and engagement with our clients, the community and building users to help define the brief for a project from early stages and continue to refine it thereafter as the designs progress. We’ve all been in buildings that have been delivered without a sufficient amount of these crucial conversations, and seen how they fit awkwardly with the needs of the users and the community, particularly when it comes to spaces, rooms and services. Concentrated focus on briefing helps avoid these situations, and also provides benefits to the delivery of projects, limiting the need for alterations and redesign, and therefore avoiding consequential impacts on programme and costs.

The briefing process happens in different ways on different projects – sometimes informally through long, enjoyable conversations, and sometimes in the more structured manner of briefing, stakeholder and community engagement workshops. We’re in the process of assembling a Briefing Toolkit to drive forward our thinking and method in every which way form the briefing process on our projects. Aligned with the RIBA Plan of Work, our Toolkit is a kit of parts that adapt to the particular situation of each project, allowing for variability and provides the ability to plug in the most appropriate processes for the project – be they briefing games devised for student engagement or focussed sessions with end user departments.

In parallel with driving forward our Briefing service we are developing new strands to our Interiors process. Using modern building design software we find that projects are visualised in 3D much more quickly than used to be the case, both for the external appearance of the building and also building interiors. We are using this technological shift to embed discussions around interiors earlier in our project workflow, working with our interiors team and interior designer to develop project specific strategies for interiors right from the start.

“Integrating an enhanced briefing process into our projects we are better able to provide buildings that ‘fit’ the clients needs and aspirations. By engaging the building interior, that tactile part of the building that users touch and interact with, earlier in the process we are better able to design this in to the whole.”

Belgium: forging links with conservation academia

June 3, 2018 \ Heritage & Conservation
by multiple authors