Four Ways an Art + Science Approach Produces Better Results
More than 500 years ago, renaissance artist Leonardo DaVinci said “art is the queen of all sciences, communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.” Just as DaVinci believed a person needs to study the science of art and the art of science to develop a complete mind, the marriage of art, structure, sustainability, and planning is essential to developing complete projects.
Communities built for the 21st century need a balanced approach, with input from multiple disciplines and solutions that are unique to the client and project area. In this age, projects are too complicated for either art or science alone. Here are four ways art + science = better results:
1. Planning and architecture are not afterthoughts
Most companies in our industry primarily emphasize either art (planning and architecture) or science (science and engineering). And in most A/E firms, engineers take the lead by managing projects, being the public face to clients, and running the company.
For the best results, clients need to be able to tap into the combined talent and backgrounds of architects, planners, engineers, scientists, and other team members. Planners and architects need to serve important roles on multidisciplinary projects.
2. Clients and communities are best served by a multidisciplinary approach
Very few challenges can be solved within the realm of one discipline. Try replacing a road without addressing water quality challenges, for example. The best project teams are balanced, with input from multiple disciplines creating solutions that are unique for the client and community. Whether designing the expansion of King County Metro’s bus transit bases to support the county’s booming bus ridership, developing an overlay district for Denver’s hot RiNo neighborhood, or designing a leading-edge, mixed-use, car-free building with a hotel and housing in Portland’s trendy Pearl District, clients and communities are served better when we bring different types of expertise to the table. A diversity of thought results in a stronger project and 21st century communities.
3. All disciplines are equally valued and appreciated
In many large A/E firms, each discipline operates as its own business. Some clients might partner with a firm for years, never learning how the company could help tackle their challenges in other areas. When a client issues a request for proposals, companies need to form teams that contain the best subject matter experts from across all practice areas and a project manager who can get the job done right, no matter their area of expertise. What’s critical is that the entire team collaborates to deliver the best service possible to our clients.
4. Employees can bring art and science in their own lives
Employees who are driven by their individual passions to ask questions, find the answers, and leverage their collective passions are more likely to improve their communities and the world.
Take Zaq Dohallow, for example, an architectural designer driven by a passion for science. He interpolates raw data to inform the design process, and he integrates incentives to promote sustainable design measures. As one of Otak’s sustainability champions, he is also our go-to person for green tech systems to improve building performance.
And then there’s Ann Nguyen, who views landscape architecture and planning as a compilation of environmental design, policy, and science. As an urban planner and gifted sketch artist, Ann applies her art and science approach to her public outreach for the City of Denver Santa Fe Streetscape; Food Bridge International Marketplace and Center for Asian Pacific American Women; the Cleworth Architectural Legacy Project; and other organizations.
When Otak’s founders conceived of the company in 1981, they looked at the region’s planning, landscape architecture, and engineering firms and imagined a firm that was integrated and collaborative—an approach that’s art + science. Want to learn how Otak is living out our founders’ art + science approach by serving our clients well? Contact us to find out more.