Establishing Strategic Performance Objectives

Sol Plaatjie UniversityWhen a concept design and imagery for a building are presented to a client, decisions and costs often get locked in that affect how the building performs. For Reon van der Wiel, Director at Activate, evolving technologies offer additional potential to the integrated strategies that constitute the design process, by allowing early design ideas to be accurately tested before they get locked into the design.

Design Technology can also assist significantly at an early strategic level to test and set performance objectives across the built environment professional inputs, in order to evaluate, inform and develop the strategic design upfront.

Reon explains that the architectural stages of work come from a pre-digital era and that, in today’s context, there needs to be more active consideration of what happens in those stages. “Technology has the ability to completely change what happens at the different stages of work. Sun Radiation Analysis for apartment blockFor Activate, this means re-strategizing the design process and consciously trying to make co-ordinated high-level decisions, integrating engineering services and architecture, during concept design stage. This includes detailed conversations with other disciplines and giving clients a firm handle on financial considerations early on in the process.”

He is quick to point out that technology does not replace, but rather complements the collaborative thinking, experience and intuition around good design. He adds, “We are continuously looking to grow our early analysis capabilities in the design process to test decisions and their impact on performance – for example, on natural daylighting, floor heights, energy efficiency, and the micro-climate created in an urban environment.

Thermal double glazed facades

“We see commercial prerogatives and performance as integral to the design strategy. Until now, a lot of performance objectives have been set intuitively. But now there is an opportunity to move into a much more informed level of intuition where these ideas can be assessed upfront.

Sol Plaatjie University

Having the ability to be able to test things empowers the team to incorporate these criteria into the strategic objectives of a building, and allows us to interrogate decisions in order to deliver high performance architecture.”

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