8 Values : 1 Vision
8 VALUES >
1 | ARTISTRY
2 | COLLABORATION
3 | EXPLORATION
4 | INTEGRITY
5 | LEADERSHIP
6 | PASSION
7 | SUSTAINABILITY
8 | VIABILITY
1 VISION >
Inspire, enrich, and transform lives through great design.
2 | COLLABORATION
We define COLLABORATION as “working as a team toward common goals and striving to deliver the best possible solutions for any given problem.” Today we explore COLLABORATION and how it is integrated into our culture and our work.
I love watching and participating in the design process. It is super rewarding to see a new designer make a recommendation for a design solution to a more senior designer and then see that idea implemented into the final project. I also love delegating project components to others in the studio and then working with them to refine their concepts into the final design. Working as a team makes for better-thought through and more robust design.
Most of the computer tools we have in our office are cloud-based, and it makes for super COLLABORATIVE working sessions both internally, and externally with our consultants. Presentations, to-do lists, specifications, drawing review/redline pickups, you name it; They all happen in real time with multiple levels of involvement. In fact, as I’m typing this sentence I see my other team members sharing the same document screen and typing along simultaneously.
COLLABORATION between disciplines, specialties, and skillsets is constantly taking place in our office. The fact that we are a multidisciplinary firm encourages collaboration between architecture, interior design, graphic design, and research and analysis. We also collaborate with specialties outside of our own office. We highly value our relationships with our consultants because we know that good design can only happen when multiple disciplines come together in synchronicity.
Centuries ago, it was common to hear of designers and artists hiding away their works and sketches, lest somebody take their precious claims to their own designs. However, in the design world, we are always designing for multitudes of different people, and it is only through having many different minds working that we can find a solution that works for everybody. At WORKSHOP8, allowing everybody to have a say is highly valued, and keeps us cognizant of other viewpoints. Even the most senior members will always make time to review and critique anybody’s work who asks. Bringing on a fresh pair of eyes helps us deeply to plan for problems that might not be on the radar yet, and it helps us generate works that function far better as a result.
Our clients are experts at what they do. Whether that be providing and managing affordable housing, developing a coworking space, running a business, or brewing beer, they know what they need to be successful. COLLABORATING with our clients is of the utmost importance in designing a functional space that suits their needs. I love learning the ins and outs of their business, what has worked, what hasn’t, and what is on their wishlist. After asking half a million questions, we hit the drawing board and come up with a space plan that incorporates their needs (and hopefully a few of their wishlist items), and then ask half a million more questions so that we can refine the space even further. Collaboration between W8 and our clients is critical in creating a successful end product and developing a happy working relationship.
COLLABORATION at WORKSHOP8 is always happening either with our consultants or with each other. The open layout at the office encourages collaboration and learning; There isn’t really such thing as a private conversation around here. Every private interaction turns into a group dialogue, which helps everyone learn and find creative solutions. This collaboration makes us more efficient and speeds up the productivity of our projects.
Marcel Van Garderen
Architecture would not exist without COLLABORATION. Besides the obvious collaborating with consultants like Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Structural, Civil, etc., where those engineers provide their expertise in specific systems of the building, collaboration within the WORKSHOP8 office is critical as well. W8 collaborates during the design process to get as many members of our design team to provide input and thus provide the best design possible for our clients. This collaboration is seen all the way through Construction Administration (CA). During CA W8 typically has two to three people who are copied on all communication to ensure that we have more than one point of contact for optimal collaboration with the Contractor during the building process.
Wright, Corbusier, van der Rohe… long gone are the days of the lone Starchitect (Star Architect). COLLABORATION, in my opinion, is one of WORKHOP8’s biggest strengths, as smaller Architecture firms are, by virtue, more collaborative. Where other firms may have a team of 2 people working on a project, at W8 every one has the opportunity to present their ideas to make the project better through our desk critiques, where people who are not working on a project are encouraged to participate and provide feedback on a design from an outsiders perspective.
Every Monday morning, the WOKSHOP8 crew comes together in the art of COLLABORATION and hashes out what each team member is working on, and we determine who has the capacity to help others out. We call this gathering of great minds, SCRUM. We discuss such things as project goals and deadlines, budgets, and staffing needs. It is this collaborative spirit that allows WORKSHOP8 to accomplish many task and projects creatively and within budget, and have fun while doing it.
I think many designers come out of school wanting to be the next big name Architect. When I first went out on my own it was just me and my computer, where I got to make most of the decisions. From then, I just never wanted to work for a firm with someone else’s name stamp; I needed to feel that my ideas were being directly contributed to a project. Our goal with being a collaborative office is so that each designer can have a say in a project’s design and feel proud of the outcome.
We are a nimble office that takes on large projects and therefore COLLABORATION is of the essence. I focus on procuring new projects for the team and this is no job I could do alone. Oftentimes, we send our project managers to pre-bid meetings, as with their education and background they will be able to comprehend the scope of a project better than I. The project manager who attends the pre-bid meeting works with me throughout the proposal and reviews the content to ensure I am accurately portraying the scope of work. Each key personnel that is included in the proposal will also edit and revise their content. Lastly, the principals will review the content to ensure we are communicating our services efficiently. It take s a village to win a project, and I’ve got a fun and collaborative team to support me in the pursuit!
Thanks for reading!
Maris DuBois | Studio Manager
18 June 2019