design advice and review

I have participated in a number of Design Reviews, and also provided informal design advice to a range of projects. I have undertaken informal reviews of both completed schemes, and proposals of housing developments, using the Building for Life criteria as a framework.

The design review process, or ‘crit’ as it is known to architecture students, can provide interesting opportunities for learning, for those presenting proposals, those reviewing them, and also for observers of the process. This might be through role play scenarios, using an exhibition or gallery format (the work needing to ‘speak for itself’), presenting another person’s work, separating out the skills of presenting from those of designing, and peer to peer review.

In the real world, it is vital that design review takes place at a stage where constructive criticism can be of value- ideally early on when changes can still be made without damaging time and/or cost consequences.

Post occupancy evaluation is another form of design review, when a completed building or space is revisted to see how well it is performing in relation to the original aspirations contained within the brief. I am especially interested in how users can participate actively in this review process.