MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work

7 November 2015 – A week of turning points

Wow! It's been a long time since we were here, last. Let's see if we can't make this as regular as the page header promises.

This week has had the delight, and also the stress, of a number of turning points on projects. Everybody seems to be adjusting well, moving into the flow as contexts and conditions demand.

A couple of our clients will to move into their new spaces soon. It's been a delight to witness the rising buzz as they sneak peeks into the bustling construction zone. The best delight is the pleasure of the lead designers who are getting called out by the client as they post videos of the space and appreciative comments in emails and messages.

We have both proposed and declined to propose on some very interesting projects this week. This caused us to reflect on the differences between the ways that clients express their requests for proposals from architects. This week included two opportunities forming a great comparative case that we'll write about later. One was an invitation from a very well-positioned client to design a maker-oriented, co-working space in Chicago (that we declined to propose on). The other was from a scrappy automotive startup to design their second-stage maker space in Detroit (which we did propose on). Why would we have chosen to go after the million-dollar project rather than the ten million dollar project? Stay tuned to our blog for the answer.

We have an anthropologist sitting in our offices now. She is researching the nature of the communications between architects and their clients – How the architect (specialized professional domain, jargon-rich internal language, technical talk and documentation, unique vision for things not yet visible, etc.) talks with the client (focused business domain, no technical knowledge, its own jargon, favoring the tangible, nervously representing the not-yet-visible to a skeptical community back home, etc.) and how each gain an understanding of each other. This will be a three-month engagement on the front-edge of a few of our projects. Maybe we'll end up in a book somewhere! (Hope we learn some things!)