DESIGN PROCESS IN 6 STEPS
1. Blue Sky/Feasibility
(what is the “Big Idea,” and is it financially feasible?)
This is the brainstorming stage, where the “Blue Sky” is the limit. Ideally the design team sits around a table for a day or to with a facilitator and dreamers and thinkers with various backgrounds and generate lists of great ideas. The designers are then tasked with packaging the results into several possible “Big Idea” scenarios, which are next reviewed by operators and cost estimators. Repeat as necessary until a Big Idea that works has emerged.
2. Concept Design
(what does the “Big Idea” look like and how much will it cost?)
The design team is now tasked with translating the Big Idea into something that can be built. They will create then communicate the big picture look of the Big Idea. The design team will then meet with cost estimators to determine the cost, making adjustments as necessary.
3. Schematic Design
(how will it look and feel, what is the experience and what are the key details and materials?)
The design team’s primary task during this phase is to translate the big picture look of the Big Idea into a quantifiable form. They will determine how high and how wide it is, what it looks like from the front, sides….. what it looks like inside and the key colors, details and materials necessary to create the Big Idea.
4. Design Development
(how will it be built?)
During this phase the designers work closely with a variety of engineers and specialty consultants to determine, quantify and locate all of the components and systems necessary to make the Big Idea big, and determine how the project will be built. The design team’s key task in this phase is to maintain the Big Idea, refining and improving it with each decision made.
5. Construction Documents
(make sure the contractor builds our design)
Attorneys create contracts. Designers create contract (construction) documents. In this stage the design team and all related engineers and consultants carefully and thoroughly document and communicate the design, defining the parameters of the Big Idea for the contractor.
6. Construction Administration and Art Direction
(make sure the builders understand the design and build it correctly)
This is the hands on, get yourself dirty, phase of the work that many designers enjoy most. Designers are on hand to work with the builders, answer questions, explain design intent, art direct special effects, solve problems and make sure the builders build the Big Idea correctly.
TEDA Promendades Retail and Entertainment Destination
by GlobalDesign Workshop + Cuningham Group
How To Get Your Destination Design Project Started
Creating a successful resort, town center, entertainment or retail destination is your goal. But how do you get the process started? We have been through this process hundreds of times over the past twenty-five years. To ensure the success of every project we design, we have leveraged this rich experience and developed a successful methodology, a user manual of sorts describing how to successfully start and navigate the process. There are three steps to get your project underway — Research, Planning and Action.
We have assembled a number of extremely useful resources to help you with each of these three steps.
Conduct Online Research
Learn more about your project type, what has worked elsewhere and what has not. It is key to understand how successful projects work. It is equally important to understand why. Understand how those projects are similar to yours, and how yours is different. Browse through relevant websites, and read blogs – a great way to get a better understanding of both the theory behind the creation of successful destinations as well as practical how-to blogs, such as this one, with step by step guidelines and practical case studies.
- Online resources – This GDW blog contains many useful articles that will help you get started
- Ask questions regarding strategy, programming, positioning and how to get started.
- Ask about the theory and practice of creating successful retail, resort, entertainment or town center destinations
- Ask to how to choose a design firm, whether to use a large, big name firm or a smaller dedicated design studio
- Meet with an expert, on your project site, if possible. Ask them to:
- Review your site (if you have one), suggest appropriate site attributes (if you don’t) its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis)
- Ask detailed questions regarding strategy, programming and positioning of your project
- Discuss possible “Blue Sky” (big picture, big idea) concepts for your project
- Ask what makes a great destination
- More specifically, ask what makes a great retail destination, town center destination, entertainment destination or resort destination
- Ask about the general challenges and opportunities shared by all destination projects
- Ask about the challenges and opportunities unique to your project type
Establish your project schedule. Set an aggressive yet achievable schedule, taking into account not only design time but also the time necessary to receive government approval and financing of your project.
Establish your project budget. Set budgets for both soft costs (Soft costs include design fees, engineering, governmental fees, financing, and legal fees, marketing costs and other pre- and post-construction expenses) and hard costs (Hard costs include land acquisition and construction expenses). At this early phase, be sure to include a significant contingency.
- Build your project team
- Internal to your organization:
- Project manager with a knowledge of:
- Design management
- Land acquisition (as appropriate for your project)
- Governmental relations
- Financial management
- Investor relations (as appropriate)
- Leasing (as appropriate)
- External consulting team:
- Architect/Master Planner
- Additionally, your architect should provide consultants from the following disciplines (as apply to your project):
- Landscape architect
- Cost estimator
- Specialty Consultants
- Lighting design
- Graphic Design
- Water Features/Special Effects
- Show concept
- Sustainability/Green Design
Project Analysis + Positioning
This is the first step toward creating a successful destination. It requires a minimal commitment on your part, yet gives you the tools and direction to get your project underway.
Your design professional should start with a site visit and analysis; then prepare positioning recommendations and a concept program; a concept land use diagram to conceptually establish the best uses, and placement of those uses, on your site; a written narrative describing your vision for the place you wish to create, including the experience one might expect when spending time there, as well as appropriate design metaphors or back-story; and concept image photos that both visually communicate your vision and give future direction to the design team.
You should further request and expect a presentation of findings and concept direction by your design professional, as well as professionally presented collateral materials to document the process and get your project off to a successful start.
If your first major project milestone is the approval of stakeholders such as senior managers, investors, partners or bankers, or getting approval by governmental authorities, you will need an Investor’s Package: Investors’ Package
Your design professional should still start with project analysis and positioning (as described above), but also should provide a recommended facility program outlining the major facilities and necessary area requirements; an illustrative site plan describing the arrangement, relationships and character of the place; concept diagrams indicating how guests and services access and move around your project; an aerial perspective providing an overall “bird’s eye” view of your project; and three or four ground level sketches illustrating the look and feel of your project as one would expect to experience it when construction is complete.
As described above, this package should also include image boards and a design narrative, appropriate printed and digital materials for you to use, and a professional presentation of all findings and materials by your design professional.
More information regarding an investor’s package or Full Design Services: GDW Services
If you have completed the above steps, or if you have your infrastructure in place and are on a fast track to completing a successful destination, you may desire to contract immediately for full service master planning, urban design or architectural design.
Full design services include blue sky/feasibility (what is the “Big Idea,” and is it financially feasible?); concept design (what does the “Big Idea” look like and how much will it cost?), schematic design (how will it look and feel, what are the key details and materials?), design development (how will it be built?), construction documents (make sure the contractor builds my design) and construction administration (make sure the builders understand the design and build it correctly).
Additionally, your design professional should provide consultants including Feasibility Analysis, Retail Strategy, Landscape Design, Civil, Structural and MEP Engineering, Green and Sustainable Design, Lighting Design, Graphic Design, Audio/Visual/Systems Design, Special Effects Design, Water Feature Design and Acoustic Design.
More information regarding full service design: Contact Us
Creating a successful resort, town center, entertainment or retail destination is your goal. The challenge is getting the process started. The steps above are an abbreviated version of the methodology we have developed over the years. Contact us for more details, to discuss the specifics of your project, or to request a proposal.
Embedded media is a highly effective tool concept design tool to enliven and enrich a place. It adds layered variety and richness, and celebrates the difference between day and night. There are tools are available to embed media. The video below illustrates an installation coded in openframeworks by Zachary Lieberman, Joel Gethin Lewis and Damian Stewart, with music by Daito Manabe, support from Taeji Sawai and Kyoko Koyama. Multivision installed the LED system – over 40,000 lights covering 5,100 meters. Ars electronica futurelab was involved with building and testing the system. Click here for more information about the system – this is one of the best we have seen:
Below is a reposting of a ULI article by Ed McMahon, ULI Senior Resident Fellow for Environmental Policy, followed by our rebuttal to that article:
May 13, 2009
Learning from Los Angeles
Editor’s note: This post was written by Ed McMahon, ULI Senior Resident Fellow for Environmental Policy. He is a panelist at ULI’s Developing Green conference underway this week in Los Angeles. This event is focusing on green issues related to the Western and Southwestern regions of the U.S. ULI is hosting a second Developing Green conference June 23 in Washington, D.C., that will focus on green issues related to the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and South.
While driving from the Los Angeles airport to the Beverly Hilton yesterday, it occurred to me that Los Angeles was the perfect city to host ULI’s Fifth Annual Developing Green Conference. Los Angeles is of course the world capital of America’s car culture, but it is also in the state that has become the national leader in developing innovative solutions to the inter-related problems of sprawl, green house gas emissions and energy consumption.
The Developing Green conference began with presentations by two California public officals: Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board and Darrel Steinberg, President protempore of the California Senate. Both speakers focused on California’s precedent-setting Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). This act requires a 25 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. To achieve this goal California is pursuing three strategies: 1) Better (more fuel efficient) cars; 2) Better (less carbon intensive) fuel; and 3) Better (more walkable and transit friendly) development. The last strategy is of course the one with the greatest relevance to the real estate industry.
For the first time in American history, California is requiring all local goverments to coordinate their transportation and land use stratgies to reduce VMT (vehicle miles travaled). This idea will eventually ripple through the entire country setting the stage for a fundamental shift toward infill development, transit-oriented development and mixed-use development, as well as walkable suburban development. Sometime soon I can see a new book entitled Learning from Los Angeles.
With all due respect, as an architect and urban designer who has called LA home for most of his nearly 50 years, I beg to differ. By the early 90’s, LA’s air quality and general environmental had substantially improved, while quality of life, especially as relates to traffic, has grown relentlessly worse. Recent “improvements” have much more to do with politicians capturing headlines than improving the quality of life of those of us that live here. To your three points:
1) Better (more fuel efficient cars). Over the years autos have, in response to consumer demand and evolving technologies, become substantially more fuel efficient and run significantly cleaner. General engine efficiencies, hybrid technology and clean diesel have made an arguable difference. New technologies, such as fuel cells, are extremely promising. They are also extremely expensive and time intensive to develop. Yet consumers will demand more efficiency, so develop they will. To force vast improvements in efficiency at a pace that outstrips technological development, however, can only have tragic results. Dead people and dead auto manufacturers. The only way to achieve the new standards is to build smaller cars – much smaller cars. That means more dead people – click here to observe the results of a Smart car meeting a mid-sized sedan. Smart cars are great in Europe where there is a culture of small. They are deadly here.
2) Better (less carbon intensive) fuel. Much progress has been made, much has yet to be made. Forcing the issue has one of two results. Either we use more ethanol, which makes us feel good but is absolutely unconscionable as it comes at the expense of those who starve in the third world, or feel good technologies like “zero emission” electric or compressed air cars. No emissions from a tail pipe, but as much or more at the energy source.
3) Reduction of VMT (vehicle miles traveled). We all want that – traffic in LA, especially West LA, reached completely dysfunctional status about five years ago, and even the current economic difficulties are not improving the situation. Forcing the issue, however, will improve nothing. Politicians will create cover for themselves, usually by talking about public transit, and little will change. LA has spent billions on public transit over the past twenty years, yet traffic is significantly worse.
From an urban design perspective, the solution is quite simple. LA needs two things:
Densification. Quality densification, affordable densification. Environments that people want to live in at prices they can afford. Not just young and wealthy singles, but also middle class families. Currently people move to distant suburbs for quality of life (as they define it, not as you and I do) and for price. When we create an environment in midtown where folks want to live and can afford to live, they will drive (or take a train or their feet) ten minutes to work, instead of the one to two hours each way they spend now. Urban designers tend to define quality of life as we think it should be, design to that standard, then wonder why only young and affluent singles or artists live in the worlds we create. A Hobbesian cynic defines quality of life based on the self interest of people as THEY define it. A Hobbesian cynic is wise.
Critical Mass. Quality lifestyle requires variety and lots of other people. Choices. Many choices. A rich and varied environment, not a perfect prototypical project. An empty restaurant will fail – no one wants to go there. A crowded restaurant will succeed – everyone wants to go there. A district of crowded restaurants is better yet – everyone will succeed. One or two small projects here and there will do no good. We need critical mass – either districts of projects or huge, beautifully master planned projects. See also my blog post that describes why Playa Vista has failed as an urban place.
We don’t need feel good solutions, we need pragmatic solutions that people will love, that will substantially improve our way of life. As designers, master planners and urban designers, we have two methods to achieve our means: we can force people to go where we want (the IKEA approach) or we can design a place, based on an understanding of human psychology, that will encourage people to intuitively decide to do as we would like them to do (Apple’s approach). IKEA’s approach creates resentment and drives folks to find a short cut, a way to cheat the system. Apple’s approach creates devoted followers and evangelists who happily choose to do as Apple likes and bring their friends.
Perhaps I’m a bit Machiavellian, but I’ve always found the latter to be the preferable approach. Urban design, not urban dictation.