Many architects, at some stage in their career, will be commissioned to design a forever home for their clients. A home designed with the future in mind as well as an ambition. A home anticipating future needs and wants.
The design of a forever home is the result of great care and consideration from conception. There’s a brief to outline anticipated future needs, goals and desires. A return brief that teases out more detail, interrogates greater possibility and begins to anticipate the form the home might take, whether conceptually or physically. Followed by a detailed process of design, feedback and iteration, and finally an agreed design is arrived at and constructed.
You can probably see where this is going…
When architects set up their practice they’re not anticipating that they’ll move out of it at any future stage (save perhaps retirement). It’s their forever practice. They should therefore give the same care and consideration in establishing their practice, that they would a client’s forever home.
This process should begin with a brief for their practice. A brief that includes not just what they need in the present but also what their ambitions, desires and goals are for the future.
I know there’ll be some that will argue that a practice doesn’t have the physical permanence of a house and therefore has greater flexibility for change and adaptation in the future. It’s true. It’s also true you are more likely to achieve your goals if you actually have them set down in the first place. Furthermore it’s easier to plan (and design) how they might be achieved. Without a brief, design and planning, it’s difficult to establish a substantial practice. Architectural talent only goes so far.
To reiterate, the flexibility of practice doesn’t negate the need for design and planning. The trick is to design something that from the outset accounts for current requirements and anticipates the possibility of change. Requirements including the financial side, to marketing, to personnel and management. All to be accounted for and considered as part of the final design and with an eye on future goals and ambitions.
To continue the forever home analogy, we might consider this process as the plans, the set-out and foundations of your future practice. Your entire future practice might not come out of the ground all at once. It may change and evolve over time, but all the crucial work has been done in the foundations to set your practice up for success.
I know how hard it is to start this planning process. You might not know the questions to ask yourself, the things you should consider and the areas of your practice you need to address. So I made a Practice Journal. This Journal takes you through a series of questions on the areas of your practice that you should be thinking about when designing and planning your future practice (or rethinking and redesigning your current one). As a standalone exercise it will identify blindspots, clarify your thinking and identify areas of your practice to work on. The idea is to get you started.
At present I’m also offering a FREE 20 minute call to analyse your Journal and help you with planning priorities.
…and begin designing your forever practice.