Single point design: a new practice model

Architects need to invest in the art of collaboration, through innovation and technology


Ben Derbyshire is speaking at the Digital Thinking, Smart Building conference - You can book your tickets by clicking here


Architecture cannot survive as a craft.  No complex problem can be successfully solved without collaboration and these days collaborators will naturally turn to the integrating power of information technology for speed and efficiency of communication and access to data.

But IT is a threat as well as an opportunity.  Remember how the advent of desktop publishing wiped out typography, typesetting and the print industry?  Free design services offered by kitchen suppliers, loft converters, and manufactured home builders are an indication of things to come.

Architects need to innovate and invest to create core competencies in collaboration with other disciplines to offer design services that provide our clients with unbeatable value.  At HTA Design LLP we have adopted 'Single Point Design' to describe our vision of the practice of the future.

Designers will still design, but they will do so with ready access via their desktop to real time input from other disciplines, suppliers and subcontractors.  We will have access to mass data on capital and operational expenditure and we anticipates that projects like our Home Performance Labelling Pilot (with Housing Forum and BLP Insurance) will have developed into on-line information about how designs perform and which solutions end users prefer.  Customer feedback will at last be a reality.

We have discovered through R&D projects like this that the innovation process itself needs to be as smart as the systems we are researching.  Smart innovation must engage with the behaviours and understanding of professionals, collaborators, clients and end users which need to be developed alongside technologies.  And smart innovation needs to appear simple and obvious to its users - possibly the most difficult aspect to deliver.


Ben Derbyshire is speaking at the Digital Thinking, Smart Building conference - You can book your tickets by clicking here