• How To: The Appropriate Architectural Brief

A brief is basically a statement of requirements by a client that needs to be accommodated in design. It’s one of the most fundamental items in design. It is of utmost importance to both the client and the architect. As much as it’s a dynamic document the directions of the project needs to be clear from the very beginning, say is it a modern design, conservative or environmental oriented. The rest of the items will continue being crystal as the engagement between the architect, the client and the designs develops.


A good brief to a client is one that is firmed with the architect and or design team, one that evolves through discussions. This brief is more likely to include opportunities and constrains that individually the parties may not have identified. Most architects get frustrated at this stage when clients tell them what to do and where to place what items. Some clients even come with images of kitchens, bedrooms and other spaces that they want accommodated in their spaces. Some of these images do not even match and the architects find hard time achieving harmony in the design. This is not to say that images are outright wrong but they tend to limit the creativity of the designer.  A good client would first look at the previous works of the Architect then see if they meet his/ her needs. This makes it easier for the discussions between the architect and client when the Architect is in his comfort zone.


The best clients, however, are those that explain the experience that they except from the design, they explain their needs to the Architect and let the architect find the solutions. They avoid the obvious items like I want kitchen this side, bedroom window in that direction and stuff like that. Instead they explain their favorable spaces what makes them special and what experience they should get. This helps the Architect start the design from an abstract point of view enabling him/her to be more creative and although the design will be rationalized to meet standards it’s more likely than not to end up unique.


 It’s in line that clients will take time to make their minds as their want value for the money but sometimes they can also be limiting. The most uninformed thought is when clients feel like money spent on design is not spent on the project. However when one employs an inexperienced architect, for example, or none at all, the mistakes likely to happen may cost much more than the design fees.


To the architect the most satisfying objective is to give the client more than they asked for. The Architect needs to clearly understand the requirements of the client translate them to design and offer more. If the Architect just meets the clients brief then it beats the logic of hiring one. He needs to add value to the client brief by giving the brief that touch of experience and professionalism.


The brief is dynamic and can vary from project to project but in all it needs be clear right from the onset of the project for all parties involved to have their requirements,  ideas and desired output executed and achieved.



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