Integrated Design

University of Iowa Ambulatory

Medical and laboratory design – one of our favorite design challenges.

We practice Integrated design on all projects as a primary technique to realize design goals. This collaborative method for designing buildings involves all stakeholders in the building’s design at very early stages and at key points in the design process. Working within this structure ensures every opportunity for efficiency is revealed and explored, without restricting the ideas to just one group.

Conventional building design usually involves a series of hand-offs from owner to architect, from builder to occupant. This path does not invite all affected parties into the planning process, and does not take into account their needs, areas of expertise or insights. In some cases, using the conventional method, incompatible elements of the design are not discovered until late in the process when it is expensive to make changes.

In contrast, the integrated design process requires multidisciplinary collaboration, including key stakeholders and design professionals, from conception to completion.

In addition to extensive collaboration, integrated design involves a “whole building design” approach. A building is viewed as an interdependent system, as opposed to an accumulation of its separate components (site, structure, systems and use). The goal of looking at all the systems together is to make sure they work in harmony rather than against each other.