The Realities of Design Build

Now, having soared through the first half of the semester at what seems like amazing speeds, the group has returned from spring break to the realities of a design build studio and an even speedier second half of the semester. Design build is a project delivery method in which the design and the construction services are done by a single entity. As architecture students we are accustomed to traditional design studios, in which the final, full-size design is not actually constructed.  For many of us, this is our first experience with the design build process and we are starting to discover just how it differs as we are getting into the construction phase of our project.

As mentioned above, the primary difference between the two studios lies in the fruition of a project into reality. With this comes a whole set of new things to consider as well as a different studio dynamic. Firstly, it affects the way in which we design. Practicality becomes a necessity in that we MUST address things like structural integrity and budget; with the design build approach, idealistic design ideas get weeded out. Now that we have our practical design completed, we are realizing that the documents breaking it down need to be more detailed than normal due to the fact that we will actually be building it. We are also finding ourselves working with extra people, for instance, meeting with a structural engineer and an experienced welder as well as getting our design approved by the client and by the design review board, all of which isn’t needed in a traditional design studio. Although design build comes with extra responsibilities, it also means a sweeter pay-off, and that is a realized design.

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