As campus and facility planners, we often describe our work as pre-architectural. That is, we work to help our clients make decisions about mission- and vision-driven campus development, renovation and new construction. This activity is an essential step for orderly, effective campus renewal and growth and is an important precursor to architectural design - the development of concepts, drawings and specifications for construction of a new building.
So while our work is pre-architectural, it encompasses both planning and design.
Some definitions can be helpful:
Planning and design are different but similar, like fraternal twins. It is revealing that in the examples above design is often defined as dependent on planning.
Any good design has benefitted from the planning (however unconscious) that supports its execution.
Any good plan has benefitted from its intrinsic design and from designs that illustrate the plan.
Planning tends to the Apollonian, design tends to the Dionysian.
Planning is more aligned with craft while design is more aligned with art.
For individuals, planning can be spontaneous and nearly indistinguishable from design.
For complex organizations, formal planning is an essential foundation for design. The discipline, inclusiveness, analysis, prediction and order of planning informs campus design making it stronger and more integrated with institutional goals and vision.
We believe that serious planning is often overlooked or short-circuited by the excitement generated by a compelling design. For this reason, our approach to campus planning is to emphasize the planning process to ensure for our clients a solid basis for decision-making that is sensitive to change and can inspire multiple design solutions – executed by us or the many other talented designers at work today.
The quote below comes from a talk I heard 26 years ago given by John Whiteman, a former urban planning faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. I believe he credited someone else but I have been unable to track down the original source.
This question summarizes how I feel about the relationship between planning and design and helps crystallize for me the importance of the planning activity and its benefits for colleges and universities.
The differences between the planning and design stages are perhaps most tellingly revealed by the ways we illustrate our thoughts at each stage. Planning graphics tend to be simple, germinal, suggestive, and in a very intentional way, not quite complete. The goal is to convey information and, hopefully a bit of spirit, but to leave room for multiple interpretations.
Design graphics in architecture, at least, can range from the loosely pictorial to the nearly photographic as the concept evolves into a design and then the detailed instructions for building.
Below are two drawing sequences that start with planning diagrams we prepared in our initial studies for the projects followed by drawings by the talented architects that were subsequently commissioned to translate the planning into exemplary building and campus environments.
The first of these illustrates an addition to the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.
Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College
The second maps the development sequence from programming, through campus planning and building design. Our thanks and respects to the architects for the use of their drawings in this illustration of planning & design graphics.
American University in Cairo
PROJECTS In- Progress
We are working with the science division at Skidmore College to develop a facility program for an expansion of the college’s science complex.
We are collaborating with Edgewood and Covenant colleges on new campus plans.
We are continuing our planning and programming assignment for the SUNY College of Optometry in association with the Bostwick Design Partnership of Cleveland.
Our campus planning for Stetson University is reaching the exciting stage of preparing campus design alternatives for meeting the client’s agenda for planning.
We continue our consulting to Davis Brody Bond AEDAS Architects for the expansion of the campus of Umm Al-Qura – a Saudi Arabian University that is expected to double in size to an enrollment of 100,000+ students by 2035.
In January we will be starting the facility program for the new campus of the University of Botswana in Maun.
Recently Completed Projects
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