How We Work
Our approach is shaped by our experience as practitioners and professors of architecture. The challenges of architecture inspire us; we strive to elegantly solve problems, exceed the expected, and find opportunities within given limits. The strength of our work is the direct result of the creative collaboration between our clients and ourselves. Collaboration is also an important part of our design and managerial process. As designers, we work together in the same open loft space, in dedicated teams assembled to meet the needs of each project. At 3SIXØ, our process is typically organized into seven phases:
Sometimes clients come with nothing more than a photo, or an idea, or drawing of a site. It can be that simple. From here we discuss the project. We listen. We explore options. We ask questions to better understand the client’s motivations, aspirations, and parameters.
2. Establishing Milestones / Gathering Facts
We work with the client to establish a budget, timeline and project scope, three of the key parameters for managing a successful project. We also gather requisite information ranging from the technical, (site surveys, zoning and building regulations, operational procedures) to the personal (needs, dreams, wants and desires). Together with the client, we establish a solid framework within which to develop the project.
3. Pre-schematic Design
With the project parameters in place, we begin sketching out strategies to organize the project. We study and present multiple options for arranging and planning spaces. Based on our discussions, the best features of multiple sketch approaches will be consolidated into a single strategy.
4. Schematic Design
Once a sketch approach is established, a concept and a plan are developed together with accompanying drawings such as elevations and cross sections. The process involves frequent meetings to discuss and assess the design. The spaces and forms of the project are developed in three dimensions and refined to accommodate changes in project scope, or preferences. Spaces, door locations, and elements such as stairs and windows are given dimension. At this point the project can be assessed for initial pricing and engineering solutions.
5. Design Development
When schematic design is complete, we choose the materials and finishes and study the design from a construction point of view. The project is adjusted for the inherent nature of the materials; we believe construction techniques and material characteristics should inform design. The material choices are made with the aid of samples and mock-ups which are thoroughly studied before presentation and discussion with the client. At this time we also discuss the project with a range of consultants, from site engineers to structural engineers, to lighting consultants. We also involve select contractors and fabricators to help weigh cost, construction and fabrication factors.
6. Construction Documents
Construction documents are the key “blueprints”. They are detailed instructions for the project; include drawings of every critical juncture, with accompanying notes and specifications for the assemblies, materials, finishes, performance, and code compliances. All doors, windows, hardware, fixtures and finishes are enumerated and detailed. The rigor and accuracy of construction documents ensures successful and precise execution of the project. We coordinate all the consultant input making sure to avoid conflicts between building elements such as pipes and walls. At this point fabricators present informal pricing. Given this input and the need to work within the budget , we (if necessary) make adjustments to the project such as finding alternate materials and sourcing and/or modifying a design to make it easier (and less expensive) to construct.
7. Construction Administration
Both before and during the construction phase, strong management is key to success. We provide continuous oversight and administration throughout the project. Before construction commences, we assist with the selection of contractors, reviewing budgets, and assessing bids. We work closely with all parties ensuring good communication, record keeping and timely review of requests for information. We supervise the construction process, frequently visiting the site and inspecting the work for compliance with the construction documents and quality standards. When unexpected conditions are encountered we work the client and the contractor to develop the best solution and act decisively to ensure quality, timelines and costs are well controlled.