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© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 1 Takoma Park Dog Lounge I’ve Got Mail: A Message from the Client
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 2 A Dog's Life 7000 Carroll Ave Takoma Park, MD Cardinal Architects 620 Michigan Ave, NE Washington, DC Dear Cardinal Architects, My wife and I run a dog care business in Takoma Park, MD. A parcel of land at 7000 Carroll Avenue has just come on the market. We think might make a good site for a building to house an expanded version of our current business. We need to hire an architect, but first would like to hire you to prepare a thorough pre-design analysis to use as the underlying documentation for an RFP we will distribute to a few select firms. We need it to summarize the issues, identify conflicts and opportunities, and propose one or perhaps a few alternative definitions of the design question, the question of what, exactly, it is that we want the architect to design. We have additional information (by no means complete) that we have started collecting. We will make it available to you. We hope it’s enough to get you started, but clearly you'll likely need to gather more. We leave that to you. Looking forward to working together, Jack John Russell Therrier, Owner This letter came in the mail to my hypothetical office.
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 3 What you’re about to see is a demonstration of the process used for pre-design assessment. It uses an approach called AGENT. It includes five steps: A sk questions: What do you want to know? G ather data to inform the question E nhance the data to highlight key facts N otice patterns in the enhanced data T ranslate into implications for design How should I respond? Do I accept? If so, how do I start? Without further inquiry, the obvious question to ask is :What is the nature of the challenge to which the design should respond? I already started gathering by obtaining the letter. Let’s see if I can enhance it, identifying the critical information and arrange it in a way that helps me see meaning in it.
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 4 A Dog's Life 7000 Carroll Ave Takoma Park, MD Cardinal Architects 620 Michigan Ave, NE Washington, DC Dear Cardinal Architects, My wife and I run a dog care business in Takoma Park, MD. A parcel of land at 7000 Carroll Avenue has just come on the market. We think might make a good site for a building to house an expanded version of our current business. We need to hire an architect, but first would like to hire you to prepare a thorough pre-design analysis to use as the underlying documentation for an RFP we will distribute to a few select firms. We need it to summarize the issues, identify conflicts and opportunities, and propose one or perhaps a few alternative definitions of the design question, the question of what, exactly, it is that we want the architect to design. We have additional information (by no means complete) that we have started collecting. We will make it available to you. We hope it’s enough to get you started, but clearly you'll likely need to gather more. We leave that to you. Looking forward to working together, Jack John Russell Therrier, Owner Which comments in the letter are notable? E nhance
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 5 A good start. Now, what patterns or meanings do I see in the key words? I’ll go phrase by phrase. My wife and I: Jack Russell and Cairn Therrier. How well do they work as partners? Do they share the same goals? I’ll make sure both are involved in or at least have agreed to all decisions. A dog care business: Do I know anything about this? Where can I learn more? Are there similar businesses in the area that I could go visit? Maybe Jack can recommend one. in Takoma Park, MD: What do I know about this community? What difference does it make that it’s in Maryland rather than DC? Is it in Montgomery or Prince Georges County? 7000 Carroll Avenue: I’ll look it up. Where is it, exactly? Is it part of Takoma Park’s historic district? What’s there now? Any existing buildings? Prepare a thorough pre-design analysis to use as the underlying documentation for an RFP: I need more info on this. How soon do they want it ready? (I’ll explain the RFP concept soon.) Summarize the issues, identify conflicts and opportunities, and propose one or perhaps a few alternative definitions of the design question, the question of what, exactly, it is that we want the architect to design: What exactly, does this mean? Why do they need me to do it? How is it different from the assignment descriptions typically handed out in studio? We have additional information: Such as? How reliable is it? Where did it come from? How recent? You'll likely need to gather more: Will I know what ‘s needed, or what’s available, and where to go to get it? N otice
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 6 Since I still need so much more research... …surely it’s too soon to try to develop any design cues. But I’ll get back to step five, translating my assessments into design cues, later. In the meantime, for the purpose of understanding this demonstration, consider a few terms (like RFP). Then you’ll be able to follow as I try to figure out where I am with some task planning. T ranslate
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 7 So…what is an RFP? It’s a document a project owner sends out to prospective architects. It tells them enough about the project and what the owner wants from them to enable them to prepare a proposal for doing the work. RFP stands for Request For Proposal. See the sample RFP at the end of Chapter 3 of Definition. Request for Proposals: City of Chicago, Department of Environment A. PROJECT OVERVIEW The city of Chicago Department of Environment (“DOE”) is requesting proposals for the preparation of conceptual designs (the “Project”) for a proposed nature center to be located at the Dan Ryan Woods Nature Preserve (“the Preserve”). DOE seeks a company to develop conceptual designs, including architectural and site plan drawings, for a leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) platinum-rated building. The DOE intends that the building minimize its environmental impact through energy efficiency, resource conservation, water conservation, site design and indoor air quality. The Lake Chicago Proposal prepared by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (“FPDCC”), attached as Exhibit C, describes the proposed Dan Ryan Woods Nature Center. (Ask for Jim Havlat after 8/14 at ) The Preserve is located on the southwest side of Chicago, bordered by 87th Street to the north, 91st Street to the south, Beverly Avenue to the east and Western Avenue to the west. The nature center (“Nature Center”) will be approximately 15,000 square feet. The FPDCC will operate the facility and will continue to own the property. The FPDCC and DOE will jointly approve the final conceptual designs. B. PROJECT LOCATION G. EVALUATION AND SELECTION C. SCOPE OF SERVICES H. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS D. TIME OF SERVICES I. WORK PLAN SUBMITTAL E. PROPOSAL SUBMITTAL REQUIREMENTS J. DUE DATE AND TIME F. METHOD OF COMPENSATION AND PAYMENT The Lake Chicago Proposal prepared by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (“FPDCC”), attached as Exhibit C, describes the proposed Dan Ryan Woods Nature Center.
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 8 So…what is an RFP? Apparently, the Therriers want me to write something like the “Exhibit C” referred to in this RFP. The Lake Chicago Proposal prepared by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County (“FPDCC”), attached as Exhibit C, describes the proposed Dan Ryan Woods Nature Center.
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 9 OK…I’ll prepare something that defines the design problem, that will be included when the RFP is sent out to prospective design firms. But first, I’ll review with you the idea of a proposal. A proposal is a document that includes, at minimum, the terms of a business agreement between a client and an architect: What scope of services will the architect provide? How much time will be needed to complete that scope of services? How much compensation will be required in exchange for completing that scope? A proposal also includes a copy of the proposed contract. A contract is simply a list of rules that both parties agree on before working together. These rules can be structured with the following IDEA: I dentification of project name, address, and scope D ates: Date when rules take effect, date when they cease to apply, date when agreement is executed E xchange: An itemization of what each party will do for the other: Architect’s services and Client’s remuneration (This is the scope-time-compensation listed above) A djustment: Rules to be implemented when the terms of the agreement need to be changed. That way, it’s all decided ahead of time, and changes don’t require breaching the contract (breaking the agreement).
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 10 OK. Now you know something about RFPs, proposals, and contracts, so can think about the information the Therrier’s might want included in the RFP for their project. The only information that needs to be in the RFP is the minimum needed to prepare a proposal for design services. If the Therriers are already able to describe the project they want designed, no further pre-design analysis is needed, and a proposal for design services could be prepared right now. But is that the case? I ask myself… If I was asked right now to prepare a proposal for the design of this project, knowing nothing else about it other than what is in the client’s letter, could I do it? Well? For me, the answer is “no”. I’d need to figure out how much time it would take and how much fee I’d need to charge. That requires knowing how much work is involved. And to know that, I need to more thoroughly define the project. So…what questions still lack answers, answers that are critical to understanding the project well enough to calculate how much work will be involved in designing it? Let’s see…
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 11 Do I know the answers to any of the following critical questions? 1.Is the location appropriate for the proposed program? How supportive or opposed will the neighbors be? Is there a place nearby to walk the dogs? Does there need to be? 2.What’s the construction budget ? Will it be enough? How sure are the Therriers of the availability of the funds? 3.What kind of architectural form, and what materials, would be appropriate for the existing urban fabric? I need to know this regardless of whether it makes more sense to complement or contrast with the existing context. 4.Will I want to spend any time trying to get around any restrictive zoning code provisions? Which provisions? How hard will we have to fight? 5.How complex is the program ? Will it fit on the site, with enough room left over for on-site parking spaces required by the Town? 6.How much work will I need to do to make sure my design will meet building codes ? How many times will the code reviewer make me revise the design before approving a permit? 7.How long will it take us to check out the site, its soils, its drainage, its solar access, etc., to figure out what problems it causes or opportunities it provides? 8.How many designs will I have to show the client before they agree to go ahead with one of them?
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 12 Ummm… That’s a long list. I have answers to none of those questions. No experienced architect would try to make a proposal with so little information. That’s why Jack and Cairn are asking me to develop a pre-design assessment for them to include in their RFP. Let’s start developing that assessment. But before I start assessing, let me reply to the Therriers.
© Barry D. Yatt. All rights reserved. 13 I’ll write them a Memo Memo Number:00001 To: Jack and Cairn Therrier (JCT) From:B. Yatt, CA (Cardinal Architects) Date:9/4/2010 Issue:Proposal for Pre-design Assessment (PDA) Services 1.Missing Information A.Issue – CA needs JCT’s information packet to assess scope of services. B.Discussion – Review of info packet is critical. CA cannot prepare proposal without it. C.Action – CA requests that JCT deliver packet to CA by 9/6. 2.Schedule A.Issue – JCT did not indicate how soon Pre-design Assessment (PDA) will need to be completed. B.Discussion – CA could develop proposal based on open schedule, but prefers to wait until schedule requirements are known. C.Action – CA requests that JCT respond with schedule information and questions by 9/6. reply is sufficient. Work can start once the needed info is received, a proposal is sent, terms are negotiated, and a contract is signed. But while I’m waiting, I can do a little work planning.
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