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Communication Is the Oil in Your Architectural Design System

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © Alex Osterwalder | Flickr

Communication is fundamental in getting your design vision executed correctly. You communicate with a multitude of people as an architect: first and foremost with yourself, then with your team, with your client and ultimately with your occupants. And all of this makes up your design system.

At different points in a project you can use communication to leverage different things. Early on, communication can be a great leveraging tool to get your design optimized both aesthetically and functionally. Later on in your design process, communication can really leverage your building’s ability to stay with or under budget. Furthermore, it is communication that also sees to your building being constructed correctly in the field. Needless to say, communication is fundamental to getting your client what they want, building an environment that your occupant loves, and building an architecture that makes you proud.

Scheduling, Renderings and Diagrams, Are They Helping or Hurting You?

What if the very tools and ways you communicate are actually holding you back instead of helping your designs to move ahead? Yes, speed, quality and cost are paramount to most architectural design projects, but what about the way in which you prepare to communicate?

Much time during an architectural design process goes into preparing communication tools. Everything from virtual renderings of different building design options to the way you coordinate with architectural consultants to get aspects like electrical, plumbing or door hardware integrated can take time and effort.

The reason for this is that a design has to be “translated” multiple times and in multiple ways by you, the architect. With each translation, you engage in different conversations, and the result of each is to modify, develop and refine your existing design. Then, you must consolidate all of these conversations into your design, both as they happen and at each phase.

How Would You Improve Your Communication Techniques?

What if you could optimize your “communication methods” during your design process? How would you do it? What would you change? What would you leave the same?

Would putting your particular building project’s information in a “central” repository be better? You could pull information while updating it in real-time. This could do away with multiple instances “translating” your design into different places. Would a technology and design method like this improve or hurt your design process?

I’m interested…how you refine the way you communicate your architecture?

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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