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Good Design Starts and Ends with Good Communication

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Good Design Starts and Ends with Good Communication

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All of us – no matter what we do or who we are – think our ideas are the best.

Integrating your knowledge and expertise with user input makes for more complete projects. Projects that are not only beautifully designed, but also reflect the community they’re being design for. Projects that make you proud. Projects that make your clients happy.

These architectural firms have made communication a priority:

The Power of Explanation – Toshiko Mori Architects

Award-winning architect Toshiko Mori harnessed the power of communication while designing the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) in Rockland, Maine. Her design was purposeful, created to not only be beautiful, but to respect the architecture of the existing waterfront as well.

All the public saw was a modern sore thumb that stuck out amid the traditional buildings of their beloved neighborhood.

Instead of starting her design from scratch, Mori reached out to the people. She invited them to express their opinions and concerns online. She also used the website to educate them on the thought that went into her design.

The conversation resulted in a 79 percent approval rating for the Mori’s CMCA design. The new center is anticipated to open in the summer of 2015.

I took the community through the thinking process of an architect. People are often presented with an unfamiliar design, but if we take steps to explain how we arrived at the resolution and our complex series of speculation as a narrative, we can form a base of common understanding.” – Toshiko Mori, Architect


From Comments to Concept – IBI Group

Architecture firm IBI Group took communication to the next level as it designed the new Richmond Public Library in Richmond, British Columbia. It hosted an online conversation throughout the entire process on Your Library Your Future.

The platform provided IBI Group with interesting ideas, positive feedback and constructive opinions – all of them from the people who love the library most.

IBI Group used its expertise to guide the conversation, and integrated the feedback into a meaningful design for the community. By giving people the opportunity to be part of the process, IBI Group got direct and precise feedback in return.

For the first time, we could provide a design concept based on real user comments. Before the architect even started, he knew what people would love.” – Oliver Hartleben, IBI Group

People care about their communities. They want to take ownership of them. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that they may have opinions or ideas for the designs that impact them directly. Starting a two-way conversation – with a continuous loop of education and feedback – will mean a more efficient design process for you, and a more meaningful design outcome for your end users.


Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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