Is Fast Design Good Design

Quick! Sketch This! Scribble That! Ideas are flying! clients minds are racing! plans keep changing and evolving at a rate unseen before by any human being... Well that's what some design meetings can feel like when the ideas start to flow, almost as if there is a never ending bombardment of randomised thoughts from a client or the architect or heck even the engineers or builders if they are involved in the design process.

Last night i had a meeting with a client who i've been working on a project with for quite some time, The idea of the meeting was to look at ways in which we could reduce the apparent build costs which had escalated somewhat since the initial brief was taken on this project almost 2 years ago. Back then had we finalised designs within weeks & documented within weeks (unlikely to ever happen) we would have probably been a little over budget, fast forward 2 years though and the landscape is a far different one than it used to be. Builders are more wary than they previously were with costings and costs of materials and labour have skyrocketed for numerous reasons thus leaving us in a position where the initial design came in far above initial expectations. So in a way what we were having was a crisis meeting of sorts, a way to resolve these cost blowouts that initially weren't there in order to get the project back on track and on site for the clients so they could begin to live in this wonderfully designed home.

After an initial discussion about the most recent quote with the builder whom supplied the quote present in the meeting it was time to look to the design and work out how we could reduce the cost of the project without butchering the current concept. With some quick thinking and pencil scribbling i was able to reduce the footprint of the design by around 40m2 without compromising the desired outcome from the clients.

This was achieved by reductions in the size of the Garage which was larger than required and the removal of an additional store room to the rear of the garage that will eventually be built as an outhouse structure in the increased rear yard area at a later date, a small sacrifice to be made in order to reduce the overall costings. Additionally we are looking to remove 500mm from the oversized master bedroom and an additional 200mm from the ensuite as well as 2m from the existing length of the living room which sits at a whopping and very oversized 9m. These initial sketch adjustments held no impact to the first floor in fact when viewed on an overlay we have now found that where initially the front western corner of the first floor was hanging mid room with the need for 2 steel berms to support it, in its new position it now lands on a lower wall thus negating the need for those two steel beams.

This simple reduction in oversized areas has refined the plan into a more streamlined outcome with far less wasted space than was previously available in the layout. Additionally after some discussions with the builder of the assumed savings that these changes could bring the clients noted that if we rotated the living area 90d we would save an additional 5m2 in space without compromise to the living area and intact reducing more wasted walkthrough space from the entry through the living area and into the rear living areas of the home. This however did raise an issue with the location of the Laundry & Powder room which with some quick scribbles as i position the new lounge just seemed to pop into my mind and settled into the layout simply and comfortably.

What i learned from last nights meeting is that no matter how many bizarre and crazy ideas might be thrown about in a meeting if everyone is on the same page then fast design can very easily become good design and lead to an outcome that previously was unseen. It is a similar issue i am faced with through my online studies and one that i have noticed coming out more and more through ongoing client meetings on various projects as i progress through my studies. in essence the study and the pushing of conceptual ideas through my study has allowed me to think more clearly and freely in my client based design projects and thus impart more logical and efficient design resolutions. For this i am rather grateful to be pushed to my limits through study, especially if it means better designs for my clients and more cost efficient housing for them as well.