"Good communication begins with good listening" OGB
Our most successful projects usually result from a team effort amongst the major players involved – typically the client, the architect, and the contractor. When everyone has the skill and desire to achieve excellence then the only other necessary ingredient is clear and timely communication.
It is important that all parties understand the spirit and qualitative intent as well as the quantitative requirements. We do not have any one or two ways of achieving good communication, but rather prefer to evaluate each situation and then respond in an appropriate and efficient manner. Everyday, simple communications are often best handled via email, fax, U.S. Mail, or telephone calls, but complex communications are preferably accomplished face to face, ideally at our office (1).
Most projects begin with meetings, an agreement, a written program and a site analysis (2). Many of our conceptual ideas are formulated during visits to the site and these are typically communicated through a combination of notes and freehand sketches. Sketches may be in color or black and white and are refined as required to assure client understanding (3). Sometimes even more refined imagery is desired such as watercolor renderings or the like (4).
The preliminary design phase typically employs computer generated drawings for plans and elevations which are often supplemented with study models to better communicate the essential formal and spatial relationships. We prefer to keep models (5) relatively abstract so as to keep the focus on the big ideas. Secondary considerations like material, texture, color, etc. can be better communicated in other ways.
Contract and construction administration documents are virtually all computer generated, although regular meetings, review of samples, and full size mock-ups by the contractor are important aspects of the total communication process.