Assessing the effectiveness of architectural design communication through public participation methods

Michael Serginson, Sebastian Messer, Bob Giddings, Vladimir Ladinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
229 Downloads (Pure)


The range of communication methods available to architects to present design development has expanded over recent years. With an increase in competition between architectural practices and the resulting reduction in professional fees, it is becoming increasingly important to deliver quality projects in an efficient manner. A greater understanding of user interaction is invaluable for architects in order to assess specific requirements and produce design solutions. Effective design communication is also beneficial in the reduction of backtracking during the design phase and remedial work to buildings during construction. As a result, Architects are required to make difficult decisions about which method to use to present work at specific stages of the design process. Principles from public participation processes provide an underpinning for data collection from stakeholder representatives of an educational refurbishment project in the UK. Three forms of media were used to present the design: 2D drawings; a 3D model; and a VR (virtual reality) model. The stakeholders were divided into three groups with the environment, presentation and method of expressing opinion controlled. The results showed that a similar number of opinions were expressed in each presentation although with reference to different aspects of the design. The balance between positive and negative opinions also differed between each of the media. The findings of this paper suggest several themes, including that a balance of media should be used at different stages of the architectural design process. 2D drawings appear essential in representing the arrangement of spaces; the 3D model encourages a balanced view, providing architects with information to aid critical design decisions; and finally, the VR model could be used for marketing purposes as critical analysis appears to be adversely affected by high quality rendered images.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-84
JournalDesign Management and Professional Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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