Briefing – the art of dialogue

Briefing is a process of ‘thinking through design’ – both using design as a process for solving problems and establishing a coherence behind a design. It is concerned with creating a dialogue between those for whom a project has significance and those who have responsibility for designing and managing it. Participation is key, but the process of briefing should be carefully managed.

The buildings and spaces we use and inhabit are more than just three dimensional objects defined as a schedule of accommodation. They exist and function through time mediating and providing settings for human experience be it living, working, learning, recreation or playing. Our ability as humans to function individually or together is constrained or enabled by our environment. The design thinking behind that environment is crucial.

This website is dedicated to the book “Managing the Brief for Better Design“, and we have begun work on the third edition. We hope that you will find this website full of useful ideas as we use it to explore the issues that anyone tackling a new building project faces – whether it is a new building or renovation.

First published in 2001 it was followed by a second edition in 2010 both by Alastair Blyth and John Worthington. An Italian version was published in 2007 and edited by Carlotta Fontana under the title “Il progetto e il committente. La pratica del briefing per la gestione del process progettuale“.

The authors for the next edition include Fiona Young and Hiral Patel both of whom bring an international perspective and broader view on the issues.

This site explores the ideas covered in the book and looks beyond, offering practical tips for clients and users of buildings, architects and all those involved in the process of defining a building project.

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