Collaborative Design as a Counter to STARCHITECTURE

AD-Studio is a design process focused commercial practice that prides itself on producing high quality design solutions for our Clients – that meet their needs but also their aspirations. We are a practice that builds on teamwork rather than individual stardom and believe that our boutique approach to international design where the projects are always run by one of practice principals but together with a dedicated team of project architects that jointly own the project ensures an exceptional level of design that not only contributes highly to our built environments but also follows the Client brief – even if sometimes following the brief might mean constructively challenging it.

We don’t put boundaries on where we reach out to gain inputs for our projects and we find that our most successful projects are those that are designed collaboratively with our Clients. This doesn’t mean resigning the design to what our client says but rather focusing on the process itself with input from as many different fields of expertise as possible. The design process and qualities of the final product in collaboratively designed buildings differ hugely from those led by starchitects. Even if designs prepared by starchitects tend to be marked by a strong aesthetic identity and a distinctive design philosophy – the works by collaborative studios like ours which focus on work processes tend to prioritise architectural innovation, optimisation through a thorough study of feasibility, the iterative design process (where the design is the result of development – rather than a “take it or leave it approach), regular and intensive client engagement and adherence to industry standards. This will often result in a final design that is beyond what anyone thought possible at the outset.

At AD-Studio we don’t have an internal design ‘style’ to enforce. Therefore we are able to take our designs in any direction that stays true to the site and its context and are not fenced in trying to impose a fixed brand appearance.

We are not strict in style however we are very rigorous with our design process and during this process we have many long discussions about where the project is leading – ensuring it can withstand close scrutiny from various directions. From our international experience and breadth of sector expertise we bring unique foresights to each project which often comes from other sectors and even other countries. Our clients who are often well travelled themselves enjoy the global design discussion and can see how it directly impacts on their own projects.

As a result we thrive in complicated situations where sites have specific constraints or difficult contexts. The joy of the design process is when there are constraints which help generate the ideas as a response to them. Too few constraints can make a project complacent and make it too easy to fall back on pre-used solutions which don’t maximise the opportunities available. There are always opportunities on every site – it just might take time to locate them and design to magnify them. However to achieve this requires the analytical and iterative process described above – in our view imposing a pre-conceived grand vision rarely produces the best design solution.

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