BoA #1 – Core Purpose

Published on 23rd November 2020 by Wendy Perring

“We all knew from the start that we weren't just making a website, sticking it online and leaving it there. Right from the offset, we knew that this was intended to be a living artefact that would help to empower and broadcast the PAD studio ethos through their six commitments to creative architecture.We were also able to see the value in small changes to the site, and how those contributed to the bigger picture of the finished article. Just being able to sit back and admire what we had created was incredibly satisfying.” Steven Hart, Growth Development Lead, Etch

To celebrate the emergence of our new website, we are launching a series of insights relating to the Business of Architecture. The title of which is borrowed from collaborator Rion Willard’s podcast channel of the same name. Through these posts, we will be reflecting on PAD studio’s last eighteen months of mentoring, collaboration and development, and hopefully offering some new insights into the practice’s business strategy going forward.

‘We have been renewed by this exciting journey… It fuels your passion for being an architect, business owner, an employee and doing what we do.’

The role of the architect within the landscape of the construction industry is changing rapidly and being successful in business the key to being better architects, doing more of what we love and reaffirming our position and value to the industry. It is difficult for architectural education to balance the curriculum between the business of architecture and the design skill of an architect. We are always learning and we want to share our experiences to hopefully encourage and assist the community of creatives around us. Whether you are a client, architect, consultant, developer or student, we hope that you find this series interesting, and informative, that it inspires your own business and studies, igniting curiosity and dialogue. Don’t worry, it’s not all about boring spreadsheets and contracts…

Establishing our core purpose and why is this important.

Two years ago, we started to question our vision and core purpose as a practice and as a business. We started to ask questions about why we existed, where we wanted to go in the future and how we wanted to get there. We set about writing our business plan but realised pretty quickly that before we could really get very far, we needed to properly establish and articulate our core purpose collectively as a team. We wanted to distil our previous manifesto so that everyone within our team could answer (and own) the question of who is PAD studio and what is our core purpose? Importantly, we wanted a common purpose that was clear to us and to our clients, and we wanted this to become our foundation for growth during the next three years. As a team, we embarked on a journey which has culminated in both a new website and a clearly articulated vision within our business plan.

We now more fully understand who we are, where we want to go and how we can get there, step-by-step. We have been renewed by this exciting journey; it is inspiring to know your identity and to be confident that the people who work alongside you share your ethos and commitment. It fuels your passion for being an architect, business owner, an employee and doing what we do.

Conveying our core purpose through a new website.

Our core purpose, articulated on our new website as our Commitments, has emerged through in-house studio discussion and external collaboration. These Commitments serve as our guide in every decision that we make as a practice, whether this is the people we work with, the type of project we want to secure or how we respond and assist our client’s.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

James Cash Penney

Building a new website is an involved process requiring dedication, time, financial investment and a clear narrative. We worked with the talented team at Etch.Group who started by asking the same questions we were asking ourselves: who is PAD studio and who is your website audience?

We started the process with Etch by setting out a brief for our website, establishing what we wanted to convey, a clear consistent message about our core purpose and our commitment to both clients, collaborators and ourselves. We also set out what we did not want to achieve – another architectural website that appeals primarily to other architects rather than our clients. With Etch we developed a series of icons that represent our core commitments – appearing as a consistent theme throughout the narrative of PAD studio’s work and the website. We sought to present ourselves in a more accessible, friendly way and have developed a magazine-style approach that breaks our project text descriptions into bite-sized chunks. We have client testimonials from past and present and have been stunned by their kind words, generosity of spirit and willingness to engage with us in the process.

The journey itself has been illuminating and prompted further development and research. For example, our passion for and investment into environmental design (reflected in our commitment ‘Respect nature in the flux of change’) has always been a challenge to summarise and convey to our clients. Our new Environmental Data tables summarise the performance and key environmental design considerations for every project on our website, presenting information in a graphic way that is easy to understand.

As another example, discussions around website colours prompted much thought into how colour can reflect gender identity. In the end, we decided to retain the soft teal colour seen throughout the previous PAD studio branding as we felt this encapsulated our strong yet soft feminine identity; an identity of which we are proud.

The Business of Architecture (BoA) Series

The BoA series will evolve and we hope to introduce various other media and introduce collaborators to help express our experiences. If you wish to get involved, please do contact us. An idea of what we might discuss is covered in these key themes below.

• Identity & the Traces of Feminine
• An architect’s business plan
• Business growth – the importance of identifying goals

In the next post, we shall explore our collaboration with Etch, entitled What makes a client a good collaborator?

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