Dialogue is our starting point on any project, and helps create the conditions of a sustainable environment through which the users can determine the future of their place.
Historically there have been too many examples of failure where provision has been ëparachuted iní, with little regard for the people it is meant to benefit, leading to further disenfranchisement and disappointment in deprived areas.
We have developed a wide range of consultation methods tailored to the specific nature of different projects and clients. Real benefits can be achieved when this process is carried out with conviction and sensitivity, and the findings are tranlated into real proposals. We have found that engagement through consultation has revealed opportunties and generated solutions which may not have otherwise been achieved.
A key issue is how best to use the findings of any consultation process so that the project reflects the specific needs of the users. This is particularly important with multi-headed clients where each groupsí ideal requirements may consflict with others. One tool, that has proved particularly useful in mixed-use buildings, is the hypothetical ëweek in the lifeí of the building as shown bottom right. The timetable was develeoped on a community centre project with severe space pressure, to demonstrate clearly how various groups could share the use of main rooms and reveal possibilities for spreading the time requirements throughout the building. Effective involvement in the process, from drawing board to bricks, mortar, landscape, gives people a voice which they might not have had before, and recognises the basic human need to have profound ties to the places we inhabit.