A tightly knit working method and design philosophy has resulted from limiting the size of the firm and by having substantial participation in all projects by the principals. In the same vein we have developed and consistently embraced a design methodology that revolves around design teams framed at the outset of each project to work together from concept phase to completion. The teams provide a consistent attitude towards conceptual issues and technical matters to assure proper implementation of each project. It is not enough to arrive at a design concept and then to treat the design development ailed working drawings as an independent activity. The development of design details follows from the conceptual base of the project and generates a formal vocabulary that ultimately influences even the smallest details. It is for this reason that the firm is not departmentalized - those architects involved in the conceptual decisions also develop construction details for the building, review fabrication drawings and observe construction at the job site along with the various specialists and consultants added on board at the inception of the job.
As the work progresses through the design phases, close contact with the client is maintained to assure that there is agreement at every step on the way. There is nothing more troubling than to reach a point where the client feels that he or she is not being heard - or that the design is not responsive to the stated needs.
An essential part of this philosophy is the construction of scale models and of full scale mockups to make decisions jointly with the client about the building. At this stage alternative specifications, construction techniques appropriate monitoring schedules can be fine tuned with the contracting agencies to prepare detailed construction documents. Greater involvement, greater care and more testing at this stage, we have found, pays tremendous dividends at the later stages.
In fact the success of any project depends on effective construction, contracting, logistic planning and co-ordination. There has to be a more detailed planning of the distribution of the construction activities over time on a critical path basis to meet the overall schedule targets. The client must develop the means of monitoring the progress vis a vis the construction plan as well as cost and cash flow requirements compared to the budget. A management information system is essential to give early warning of potential deviations from the plan and assist the client the to correct the deviations.
As a rule we stress post-occupancy evaluation so that our clients and us get a true feedback on the assumptions we have proceeded along and adjustments and further improvements that can be added as the various phases proceed.
In summary, it may be said that architecture for our firm is fundamentally a social enterprise. The form it takes is a result of personal expression informed by history, culture and human behaviour, is the way in which it is appropriated by its inhabitants. And secondly, the degree to which it is imbibed with a timeless and memorable presence.