Clients, experience and a better world

Our clients are our inspiration, their ambitions become our shared ambition throughout the design process.

Talk to Sarah Kay about Clients, experience and a better world

We aspire to work with clients who are focused on creating places for the people who inhabit them. From a survey of a selection of our clients we have learnt what their drivers and aspirations are.

And the following case studies explore three particularly remarkable clients – clients who are using architecture and the built environment as a tool to truly make people’s lives better. We hope these stories inspire you also.

Our clients are our patrons, the spaces that we design belong to them and the people that inhabit them. Our client’s clients (the people that inhabit the spaces) live with them, in them, sometimes for a lifetime! Our clients are concerned with more than just the buildings that they commission – and so are we. We have an obligation to our clients, to their clients and to our earth to consider people as the core driver of our design decisions.

When designing we ask ourselves 3 questions:

  1. How does this project add value to our Client and their business?

  2. How does this project improve the experience of the people who will use it?

  3. How will this project improve the world (city, community, neighbourhood) within which it exists?

We posture that all good architecture has answered 1, 2 or all 3 of these questions well. The role of our clients in setting these ambitions is critical. Our ability to listen and work with our clients toward these ambitions is our role.

This experience between client and architect is often underrepresented when we think and speak about architecture. We so seldom see the full picture – the client and their aspirations and passion, the architect who can translate this aspiration into a built form, the user of the space and their experience of it, and of course the place itself – the full picture.

The above proposition makes one assumption – that our clients value things other than just financial performance, that they do aspire to use their buildings to make the world a better place to be in. We asked our top clients – what is considered as ‘value’ to your business and in what order do you rate their importance.

The most important area for an architect to add value was seen to be the positivity the architecture created for users – staff, students, patients, renters, purchasers. The architect’s impact on the users experience is of utmost value.

User Experience is where clients want us to add value – hence the importance of our vision of People Architecture.

Third equal in terms of prioritisation were the value a building or place can add to our client’s brand, the positive contribution that building or place can have on the local communities and its positive impact on the city and more broadly, the world.

Our clients take the user satisfaction of their buildings seriously, with over 90% of respondents  measuring user satisfaction either formally through surveys or by collecting anecdotal feedback from users, or a combination of both. 92% of those surveyed state that the built environment has a direct correlation to their customers satisfaction.

It was interesting to hear from our clients about what ‘else’ we can do for them. What other services, or activities do they see us adding value to their business other than just architecture and design services.

They spoke about things like:

  • Joint approach to problem solving and opportunity creation.
  • Leadership, think tanks, expertise, consultation & presentation
  • Unique insights in the end user / customer, creative problem solving,
  • An ability to facilitate collaboration and manage competing interests and drivers whilst maintaining exceptional standards and values in financial accountability and sustainability (economic, social and environmental).
  • Architects play a critical leadership role which is seldom recognised and quite often not even by the architects themselves

of the clients say the quality of their buildings and places are “crucial” to the success of their business.

We also asked our clients, how important the built environment was to their business. 78% of the clients that we surveyed stated that the quality of the buildings and places that they commission are “crucial” to the success of their business.

We are excited and inspired by this feedback – the People in People Architecture is of primary value to our clients, and it is this important business value that they seek for us to contribute to.

Our client’s aspirations to improve the experience of their users and the broader communities around them reinforces the critical role that Architecture plays in the improvement of our places and our cities.