Assessing the Effectiveness of Architectural Design Communication through Public Participation Methods

By Michael Serginson, Vladimir Ladinski, Bob Giddings and Sebastian Messer.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The range of communication methods available to architects to present design development has expanded over recent years. With an increase in competition between architectural practices and the resulting reduction in professional fees, it is becoming increasingly important to deliver quality projects in an efficient manner. A greater understanding of user interaction is invaluable for architects in order to assess specific requirements and produce design solutions. Effective design communication is also beneficial in the reduction of backtracking during the design phase and remedial work to buildings during construction. As a result, Architects are required to make difficult decisions about which method to use to present work at specific stages of the design process. Principles from public participation processes provide an underpinning for data collection from stakeholder representatives of an educational refurbishment project in the UK. Three forms of media were used to present the design: 2D drawings; a 3D model; and a VR (virtual reality) model. The stakeholders were divided into three groups with the environment, presentation and method of expressing opinion controlled. The results showed that a similar number of opinions were expressed in each presentation although with reference to different aspects of the design. The balance between positive and negative opinions also differed between each of the media. The findings of this paper suggest several themes, including that a balance of media should be used at different stages of the architectural design process. 2D drawings appear essential in representing the arrangement of spaces; the 3D model encourages a balanced view, providing architects with information to aid critical design decisions; and finally, the VR model could be used for marketing purposes as critical analysis appears to be adversely affected by high quality rendered images.

Keywords: Architectural Design Process, Public Participation, Design Communication Methods

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.61-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 7.020MB).

Michael Serginson

Research Associate, Property and Design, School of the Built and Natural Environment Northumbria University, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Michael studied Architecture at Northumbria University and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, registering as an architect in 2012. He began studying towards a PhD in 2010, with his research focused on developing a theoretical framework for the architectural design process. The findings are being trialed by a UK architectural practice through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project. The findings to date have led to several publications and presentations at international conferences for design and the built environment. With experience in public and private architectural practice, Michael is currently working as a Senior Researcher for the BIM Academy, a Building Information Modeling consultancy based at Northumbria University.

Dr. Vladimir Ladinski

Principal Architect, Property and Design, Property and Design, Gateshead Council, Gateshead, Gateshead, UK

Vladimir is an ARB Registered Architect and CIC Registered DQI Facilitator with interdisciplinary education encompassing architecture, urban and regional planning, disaster mitigation, and management. His professional experience spans over three decades predominantly as a practicing architect with Makedonijaproekt AD, Skopje; NRAP Architects, Cambridge; and Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council. At present, Vladimir is Principal Architect at Gateshead Council Property and Design; External Examiner at Newcastle University and Assistant Professor in Architecture at UACS. The majority of his professional experience has been in the field of educational, public and residential buildings covering both new build and refurbishment, conversion and extension of existing buildings, including work on Grade I and Grade II* Listed Buildings. Some of these projects have received external professional recognition, such as RIBA Award for the St. Mary’s Heritage Centre in Gateshead. His research interests are in the areas of post-earthquake reconstruction; sustainable design; design for dementia, and architectural design practice. His blend of professional practice with teaching and research activities has resulted in a range of lectures and publications throughout his career.

Prof. Bob Giddings

Director of Postgraduate Research Programmes, School of the Built and Natural Environment, School of the Built and Natural Environment Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Bob Giddings studied Architecture at Newcastle University and for a Doctorate in Architecture and Urban Design in the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies at the University of York. He has pioneered the development of three innovative degree courses, including Architectural Design and Management; and teaches design principles to a variety of student groups. Bob supervises and examines PhD candidates. His own research in Architectural Design Methodology, Quality Assessment and Urban Design has produced papers for conferences around the world as well as in the UK. He has published a number of academic journal papers and a book with Margaret Horne on architectural representation, titled Artists’ Impressions in Architectural Design. He is a lead examiner with the Architects Registration Board, subject specialist reviewer for Architecture, Building and Surveying with the Quality Assurance Agency, and member of the judging panel for the CIOB International Research and Innovation Awards. For the last six years he has been Visiting Professor at Belgrade University Faculty of Architecture.

Sebastian Messer

Senior Lecturer, School of the Built and Natural Environment, School of the Built and Natural Environment Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Sebastian studied at The Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London and at the University of Newcastle, registering as an Architect in 2000. Whilst in practice, he tutored on the Architecture degree course at the University of Central England, Birmingham, University of Newcastle and Northumbria University, before taking a full time position at Northumbria in 2008. Since 2006 Sebastian also tutored a student undertaking the RIBA Examinations in Architecture for Office-based Candidates who was one of only two of the twenty students in his cohort to pass the Part 1 Examination in May 2011. He is currently tutoring two students undertaking the Part 2 examinations. In January 2010, with Carol Botton, Director of Northern Architecture, and Matthew Margetts, Director of +3 Architecture, Sebastian began the G.R.A.D Programme to assist graduates struggling to find suitable employment after University. The Programme has undertaken a number of ‘live’ and self-instigated projects, as well as offering mentoring to the participants. With around sixty percent, of the one hundred participants to date, having found paid employment within four months of starting.