It is important to note that whilst we approach each project with a fresh set of eyes to deliver a design that is unique, we do not lose sight of the practicalities of design such as clear sight lines for supervision and sensible choice of materials, internal and external that provide low maintenance for the life of the building. DRA believes everyone is a lifelong learner.
Another strength is our ability to balance the complex, and often conflicting needs of a diverse stakeholder profile. Navigating and balancing the needs of all the Stakeholders is a delicate, and at times, tricky process. DRA has successfully been doing this since 2001.
We understand our clients’ needs through our briefing process to ensure the design meets the client objectives and achieves maximum innovation. This process is about understanding objectives, understanding personalities, and developing detail progressively, and collaboratively, with the client and stakeholders. Critically, we listen. We listen to each stakeholder groups individual needs by conducting separate conversations with each of the stakeholder groups. And we listen. And we take notes. And we sketch.
To ensure a successful interaction between stakeholders and our team, DRA adopts a transparent and collaborative approach to the relationship. We offer and experienced and proven team that understand the value of sharing information for the purpose of meeting our clients’ needs and the projects objectives. We below our people provide the greatest opportunity to build value for the client.
Our project team has been specially selected, not only for their previous experience on similar projects, but for their ability to work effectively and collaboratively, maintain sound working relationship and display strong leadership.
With each project being completely different to the next, our methodology varies depending on the scale and complexity of the project. A green field site for a new school is a different beast to alterations and additions to an existing building. However, the common thread in all projects, the underlying premise, is the ability to listen and communicate.
Once we have identified the similarities and conflicts in aspiration, vision, and high-level requirements of the stakeholders we meet for play-back to collectively author a set of common project objectives. When these objectives have been agreed we conduct focused meetings with user representatives which enables us to explore more detailed functional requirements. Depending on the scale of the project, the focus meetings may be undertaken in groups where appropriate.
We believe that every project requires a close working relationship between the Architect, and stakeholders to ensure the right information is sought at the right time, timely decisions are made, design direction is always clear and adapt flexibility and act rapidly to manage evolving requirements.
We are also pragmatic designers, understanding that all projects are constrained by budget and programme and that sometimes the refurbishment of existing assets can provide best value solutions to a defined need. The capital cost of the building must be economical; the structure and internal planning must be flexible to allow for future changes and recurrent costs for building operation, maintenance and staffing must be minimised. The cost of energy is rising, so an investment in a higher capital cost solution may be acceptable if it reduces operating costs. We have worked on several buildings with sustainability features that have lowered energy consumption by up to forty percent. DRA believes that buildings can be enablers of change. Our expertise and skills in architecture allow us to become a trusted partner looking for creative solutions to assist in that response.
We need early engagement with the stakeholders to understand the vision and the drivers for the project from day one. This involves design workshop(s) as required depending on the size and complexity of the project.
Our team will ensure we remain continually engaged at critical points throughout the entire process and delivery. Ultimately, we present design progress where it can be reviewed and discussed in a collaborative way to ensure final outputs align with expectations and budgets.