We take on every new assignment with the aim of creating the best possible solution rather than minimising costs. Accordingly, we disregard whatever constraints are imposed on the project in question as far as economic resources and creative scope are concerned. For those who know how to create opportunities for a fruitful creative process, this might sound like the obvious approach. And in the past, it probably more often was. But today it is very far from being so.
In our experience you get far better results by scaling down your dream solution to fit your budget rather than starting off by compromising from the very beginning. If you aim high from the start you are far more likely to end up with a better solution. Aim low from the word go and you’ll have little chance of ending up with something exceeding your own or anyone else’s expectations.
No, we are neither naive nor oblivious to costs. The fact is that we are in business today largely because we are able to create cost-efficient projects. But we still don’t think a project should start off with a one-eyed focus on how to cut costs. That way of working will cripple your creative process and rarely result in anything beyond the most predictable and mundane. If you want to create anything that people will actually want, let alone love, you have to aim higher. That goes for both houses and urban planning.
The cost of the architect’s work is usually a very small part of the total cost of more or less any kind of project. For a block of flats it typically stops at two to three per cent of the total spend.
A few extra hours spent freely developing ideas at the drawing board at the very beginning of a project will often be a very good starting point for a higher quality outcome as well as pushing down costs during planning and/or construction. A fundamental problem today is that very few architects are asked to develop ideas and concepts that can actually do this.
Today our job is valued according to how successful we are at cutting costs. But why not instead focus on the values we can add? Like more long-term sustainable solutions that also add improved functionality and well-being. The foundation for those values is laid at the drawing board. And if the time and effort aren’t spent there, they won’t be anywhere else either.
As a client you shouldn’t expect anything beyond mediocrity if you make cost cutting the number one priority for your architects. If you limit our time for developing ideas to a bare minimum, we won’t be able to come up with anything inspiring or innovative. Nor come up with ground-breaking solutions for design and construction. Limiting our assignments to cost cutting is a great business risk, because you will most likely end up with projects that don’t deliver the values which can help you increase prices and, more importantly, profit margins.