How can we quantify experience and what is its value?
How our clients and their users experience a space is vital to the success of our architectural projects, along with our ability to problem solve, meet budgets and complete projects on time.
The architecture industry has a firm foundation in creating experiences for people. Historically, time was the key method that enabled architects to gain an empathy for those using space. Architects spent a lot of time with clients and users to gain an understanding of their needs and experiences. Designers would then apply their skills and creativity to translate a client’s needs into a physical form.
Contemporary processes have reduced the available timeframes on many projects, with fast-track programs the norm. As a result, the architecture industry has embraced ‘stakeholder workshops’ which enable designers to be in a room with a diverse group of people who have an interest in the project.
Unfortunately, many workshops held by architects rely on the dynamics of the group, with often the views of a few being heard over the rest.
In 2013, we began a journey to deliver our workshops differently.
In collaboration with community consultation group, Surroundings, we undertook a series of workshops for our Hummingbird House project (Queensland’s only children’s hospice).
At these workshops, we brought together:
We structured the workshops around individual exercises and sharing. This enabled us to create a safe place for everyone to share their experiences.
There was laughter and tears, and in a relatively short period, the designers developed a high level of empathy for users of Hummingbird House.
When issues were raised, no one was looking to provide solutions. Instead, the ThomsonAdsett team was there to listen.
This process resulted in a series of clear individual experiences. Our team then reviewed the learnings obtained from the workshops.
Thereafter, we began to imagine a designed experience that would make all participants’ lives better.
The rigor of our workshop process elevates these critical emotional issues to sit equally with other traditional measurable project-related outcomes.
The key elements of our workshops involve:
The design solution for Hummingbird House is a direct result of this empathy and human-centred design process. We have successfully translated this process to large university projects, corporate office refurbishments, and school master plans.
We immensely enjoy this process and the honour of getting to know our clients and cherish designing great environments for them to enjoy.