What makes a good client?
Providing a clear brief is top of my list. Grill your internal users and others, your visionaries and get it all down on paper. Then you need to foster creativity in the design team. Be brave and give them enough licence, within your budget to maximise their talent. One of the things we did working with Metropolitan Workshop on the Adamstown masterplan was to make sure they had the resources they needed. We made a physical space available that became a permanent and key resource for pinning up and critiquing ideas. Another was to hire a colourist to advise us all on how the colours of the buildings and streets we were planning would work. A good client must understand the difference between value and cost. Good value comesfrom things like sustainability, cultural value, social and environmental sustainability.
You’ve got give good leadership. A team needs your swift and fair decisions, otherwise you can frustrate the process. Communicate clearly and fairly, and inclusively. And include all your stakeholders in the process. Producing a project is more than a program, a budget, a building. You need to understand the broader, moral responsibility of producing a new building, a new place. It is not just about building, it is about the street, the public ‘room’ in which that building sits.
There’s a lot more to successful placemaking. A good client understands that.
Jude Byrne was Metropolitan Workshop’s client for Adamstown in Dublin, and led the design and development of Ireland’s first 21st century new town. A civil engineer, Jude skilfully chaired collaborations between Metropolitan Workshop, Grafton Architects, O’Donnell + Tuomey and other practices.
Jude Byrne, CEO, Cairn Homes