03 March 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development – Master Planning and Programming

Stage 6 – Master Planning and Programming

You’ve received (at least part of) your project’s funding, and government authorities have issued you the permits you need to begin design and construction.  You’ve also met JRA and gotten a sense of our design philosophy and how it could work for your project.  Now, the fun begins.

Our first step will be to meet with your project team, consultants and other stakeholders in either your offices or at the project site in order to fully understand the experiential and/or educational goals for the project.  Eventually, our job will be to take any initial ideas that have been developed by your team and further refine them so that they deliver the appropriate experiences and messages specific to your target group. These ideas will then be expanded and enhanced through creative brainstorming, research and design.

But at the outset, even before we begin our planning and design process, it will be necessary to understand your success criteria for the overall project. To determine these criteria, we would meet with the project team and embark on an in-depth assessment of the following:

  • Goals
  • Building requirements
  • Community expectations
  • Internal and external target audiences
  • Demographic and attendance targets
  • Lessons learned from other similar exhibits/museums/parks
  • Operational realities
  • Financial parameters
  • Educational guidelines
  • Internal and external research

Based upon our review of all relevant material input from our initial meetings with the overall project team, as well as any feasibility research conducted in Step 5, our team will present a rough outline of the direction they believe they have been given and draft a “Criteria for Success” document that clearly outlines the criteria on which all future development decisions will be based.  Upon confirmation, our design staff will proceed with planning and conceptualizing your project.

In addition to the Criteria for Success, in the Master Planning and Programming stage our team will help develop the project’s story line, scope and general character.  This serves a point of reference for future design decisions, not a perspective blueprint for the final design.  The master plan and its program provide a firm outline for the project, while allowing sufficient flexibility for changes and modifications.  Deliverables in this stage include adjacency diagrams, preliminary and revised storylines, bubble diagrams and descriptions of major exhibit areas, rough sketches of potential key areas, and a preliminary facility program, all of which we would present to you at the end of this stage.

With strategy in hand, we delve deeper into your project’s story and begin crafting its overall design language.  Tune in next time for Stage 7 – Preliminary Concept Design.