Innovations results in better use of expert knowledge

Technology has reached the creative environment of architects and it’s certainly no enemy of creativity, on the contrary! Modelling software has been used for a long time to immediately display designs three dimensionally. These three dimensional models are also being shown through virtual reality more and more to offer both clients and users a realistic experience of the new building.

The architects themselves often walk around in their designs with these VR-glasses as well, to gain more insight into which decisions they’ll have to make regarding their designs. Basically, our mobile VR set is in continuous use at Gortemaker Algra Feenstra!

Aside from that we’re also directing our attention to new technologically supported methodologies within the design process. With our participation in the European STREAMER research project we’re focusing on furnishing our health care buildings energy efficiently. The Early Design Configurator, which has been developed within this project, searches for the most efficient floor plan layout based on design parameters that have been drafted in advance as well as a programme of requirements which has been formulated in detail for each individual room. The design proposal that is generated from this can then be imported into our modelling software. This way, different design proposals can quickly be compared with each other. Not only does this help the architects in finding the best solution, but also in demonstrating that the chosen solution is genuinely the best one based on the demands that were formulated in advance.

The combination of these innovations results in better use of expert knowledge and interaction with interested parties.

The future is now and at Gortemaker Algra Feenstra we are prepared for it!

Design-lab method

For the design phase we’ve developed our own methodology to involve clients and users in the design process, outside of the usual fortnightly design meetings. We’ve called this the Design Lab method. In the Design Lab we’re employing the following methodologies:


‘Users as designers’

All rooms in the programme are displayed on cards. During our workshop, together with the users, we keep sliding these rooms around until they are in the right positions in relation to each other. At the end of the workshop one of the users explains what choices were made, based on which underlying work processes and the result in a spatial sense. This ‘synthesis’ is recorded on video, so both the designers as well as the users and the clients can use it as a memory aid.

Mood boards

For the next workshop we’ll be making mood boards in public spaces, specialist departments, supporting rooms, etc. We’re making use of a collection of memory cards on which texts, materials, colours and moods are depicted. The participants discuss which cards fit the most with which rooms. At the end of this workshop one of the participants provides a synthesis as well. We use the mood boards that are created for the design of the interior.
designers as users

‘Designers as users’

Our architects want to have the option of spending a day with the organisation to create a better understanding of the working processes and the associated usage of space.
VR met gebruikers

Virtual Reality

When the sketches are finished, the design can be experienced by the client and the users in 3D virtual reality with the help of VR glasses. This is possible because we model in 3D from the very beginning. With our mobile virtual room the clients and users can actually walk through the new building and experience it completely in 3D.
Mockups and scale models

Mock-ups and scale models

For some departments a physical model can be a requirement next to a virtual model. For these we like to make use of scale models or mock-ups which we also have tested by larger groups. We use the test results to optimise the design.