PLA tailors its design process to the client’s needs by offering each client two different types of design processes and customizing them as needed.

Option 1: Basic Service Package is more direct and faster-paced.

Option 2: Full Design Package is more engaged and detailed.

Option 1

Basic Service Package: Listening + Design

Stage 1: Listening

During the all-important listening stage, we aim to understand all we can about the client’s requirements and project goals. This includes interviewing client representatives and key stakeholders and devising a program or wish list that serves as the basis for the design and is referenced as a resource during the design process.

Stage 2: Design

The design phase can include up to seven different stages, depending on the project type:

  1. Measured drawings (site documentation, if required)
  2. Master planning (if required)
  3. Schematic design
  4. Design development
  5. Construction drawings
  6. Bidding and negotiation
  7. Construction administration

Option 2

Full Design Package:

Listening + Research + Design + Testing

For more involved, challenging projects, we offer a four-stage process that is especially well suited for clients who want to dive deeply into their projects and arrive at something unique, original, and comprehensive in design and detail.

The four stages include:

Stage 1: Listening
Stage 2: Research
Stage 3: Design
Stage 4: Testing

This process includes two extra stages above and beyond our Basic Design Package. The Listening and Design stages are identical in content to the Basic Design Package, but the Research and Testing stages are additional steps:

Stage 2: Research

This stage provides a foundational understanding of the project and its goals bolstered by research that is often interdisciplinary. We harness our strong academic background and extensive network of specialists during this stage. Complemented by effective analytical and mapping tools, the PLA team examines a range of project-specific topics: compilation and scrutiny of relevant precedents, datamining, site analysis, community research, application of new technologies, brainstorming, etc. Often a book or booklet of research findings, conclusions and project directions is produced at the end of the project, to serve as a guide for its design and development.

Stage 3/4: Design & Testing

The testing stage is integral to the design process. Design and testing are coupled sequentially and iteratively, such that each set of design options and scenarios is tested against the client’s goals and the project’s parameters: does the design meet the basic program requirements, and if not, what needs to be changed? Thanks to powerful digital skills and tools, our staff can generate multiple design solutions and computer simulations. Often changes can be made in real-time, allowing clients to interact in immediate dialogue with designers. The design is then fine-tuned, sculpted and shaped until it represents a unique solution to a client’s particular needs.

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