You certainly can’t design a building in a day. But we’ve found that in just one day, we can help clients identify needs, discover options and test ideas so they can make collective, high-level decisions on specific projects.
Many times, clients come to us with complex projects or the need to create a vision for the future of their facilities. This is when our standard architecture and master planning services are delivered in full effect.
But other times, clients need something different. They have a particular facility question with uncertain answers. Their busy professionals don’t have a lot of time to give. They want meaningful discussion focused on one particular need that has uncertain possibilities. We have a solution for this, too.
Our Design in a Day solution can test ideas, build consensus and create a road map to move a project forward with clarity and confidence. There are three simple components to the process and, with compressed time table and commitment from the right team, you can create big impacts. For example, as described below, when Muscatine Community College used the Design in a Day program to begin conversations about converting their 1970s library into a modern, 21st Century space, they walked away with award-winning grant material and a solid start on a future project.
Three components to Design in a Day Success
Here’s what you can expect with INVISION’s Design in a Day program:
- Gathering Information
Decision-makers, key users and facilities staff each share their needs with INVISION staff. We also conduct high-level facility assessments and reviews existing facility diagrams and plans. This allows us to walk in with a basic understanding of the situation and hit the ground running to make the best use of your time.
- On-Site Working Session
The entire team comes to the table and, together, we quickly establish the needs and drivers, tour the buildings and talk about precedent trends that push innovation and best practices that inform key data elements. Then, we invite everyone to draw—we test ideas from all around the table and talk about construction and design opportunities, as well as limitations of these ideas. Before the team parts, we select one option for further development. That’s it for the client, owners and users—they go back to their day jobs. The design and construction, right there on-site, starts an intense, exhilarating and fun process to flush out an idea, including conceptual drawings, broad costing and a broad schedule. The solution is presented and discussed to identify opportunities for further refinement.
- Final Deliverable
The design team incorporates feedback and finalizes the visionary plan. The client receives a formal document that turns the team’s idea into a tangible concept, ready to support the next steps in the process. When the idea becomes a reality, you’re ready to kick off the traditional architecture process with a solid foundation, complete with initial needs, buy-in and high-level concepts.
Case in Point: Muscatine Community College’s Library Renovation
Muscatine Community College came to INVISION with a need to better understand their options before submitting a large grant application. The College knew they had one key need: To transform their 1970’s library into a 21st Century space that accommodates new and emerging student, faculty and campus needs. What they didn’t yet know was what the library of the future looks like, and how they could leverage the good bones of Loper Hall to re-organize their space.
INVISION quickly kicked-off the Design in a Day program, pulling the client’s four staff together with two architects and two construction professionals. Together, they boiled the project down to eight key drivers:
- Provide a better student experience
- Transition to a 21st Century learning center
- Integrate the Student Success Center and the Learning Center
- Maximize flexibility
- Improve access to technology
- Provide a layering of public, semi-public, collaborative and private learning spaces
- Address building deferred maintenance
- Create a welcoming entrance and learning environment
The team discussed several options, the changes and trends in libraries of today, as well innovative ideas that address the future.
The best solution was further developed to show, at a high-level, how the school could reimagine the space. It focused on zoning to identify public, semi-public, semi-private and private areas. The plan also outlined the transfer of technology and structure as the environment shifts from hard copies to electronic resources. A schedule outlined a 36-40 week project duration. Sketches and imagery completed the concept, giving an overall idea of what the space may become.
The results of the Design in a Day experience gave Muscatine Community College a detailed plan to include in the application and resulted in a $750,000 Carver Trust grant.
Getting Started with Your Next Project
We’ve all been there—faced with an immediate facilities need and limited time to find a solution. Whether it’s an adjustment to a standing master plan, or a new pressing situation, Design in a Day can offer a collaborative, focused and fast-paced solution. It helps you build consensus, tap into subject matter experts and define a road map without sweating the small stuff, yet.
As you think about how this process can fast track progress in your facility management plans, consider these three keys to success:
- Build an integrated team from the start
From the client side, include decision-makers, users and facilities management staff as time permits. From the design team, we can partner with contractors, engineers or other consultants you already partner with so they can support the design and construction process right from the beginning.
- Commit to the time needed, including prep work
To be successful in just one day, everyone needs to be committed to the project during that time. The project owner will also need to spend some time gathering materials in advance of the event.
- Continue immediate focus
Some follow-up decisions and input will be needed before the final deliverable is produced. It is important to continue moving forward so the team doesn’t lose momentum.
Done right, Design in a Day can be the most effective architectural process that leads to design solutions for transformative needs.