Beyond specification: A study of architect and client interaction

Janet McDonnell, Peter Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines a successful architectural design process, taking place over a period of seven years, which resulted in the delivery of a complex building meeting the aspirations of the client. Our analysis focuses on the mechanisms by which expectations about how a building will be experienced are created, shared, and resolved during the process of design. We find differences in the ways designer and client talk to each other about experience and differences in the talk before the construction of the building and after it has been built and occupied. We discuss these differences and why the ‘design concept’ manifests in distinctive ways. We suggest that the phenomena we have noticed are linked intrinsically to expert design performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-352
Number of pages26
JournalDesign Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • architectural design
  • communication
  • conceptual design
  • design knowledge
  • design practice


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