Studio essentials: Do You Really Need It? This Will Help You Decide!
June 29, 2021
For an architect, the studio is an extension of their brand. The where, how and what of studio design is a reflection of the brand ideology of the architect. The perception of an architect’s brand is important in determining the type and quality of projects they can attract. In this article, we will majorly discuss some essential studio design choices and the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. We will conclude by understanding how to outfit a studio with the basic set of tools each architect must possess.
So, let’s begin.
Choosing the right location for hosting the studio is the most fundamental concept of studio design. Striking the right balance between being seen as a professional (for example, with a studio located in the city centre) versus controlling fixed expenses and overheads to have more lever to grow business. The advantage of a low overhead is having more assets to invest back into the business, choose projects that are aligned towards the brand value and have the competitive edge with better project costs.
Home studio in today’s economy and pandemic times, working from home neither has the negative association it previously did nor affect business. A home studio already has the advantage of established infrastructure and a familiar environment. One thing to ensure before creating a permanent home studio is to ensure the local municipality regulations allow such a business, or to hire other employees/partners.
Commute time – working from a home studio allows an architect to substitute the travelling time with more creative time, thus lowering personal expenses, completing projects faster and helping save the environment as a bonus.
Brand message – as the architect can control all aspects of home studio design, it can be used to control a client’s perception and experience of your brand.
Lower fixed costs – a low overhead means higher profit margins, and lesser revenue required to be profitable.
Working hours – fitting in odd hours, quickly updating projects and designs, working during productive hours are easily fitting in personal life into the work life.
Switching off – with less travelling time and constantly being in presence of your workspace can blur the boundary of working hours and personal hours, and can lead to overworking and exhaustion.
Isolation – lack of company can cause a lack of motivation.
Distractions – working at a home studio can be distracting as there is no clear demarcation between work and home chores, and having kids can cause productivity to decrease.
No brand exposure – more marketing and word-of-mouth references are required to make up for the lack of public presence offered by dedicated offices or workspaces.
Space – expanding a home studio is difficult, and there might be some overlaps in home and workspaces.
Some of these disadvantages can be minimized through efforts of digital socializing, setting up daily work and home routines, non-conventional brand-building methods, and creative use of limited space.
The difference between a clear workspace and a home studio is important in determining the boundary between work and home. A dedicated workspace gives clients a sense of professionalism and also helps to lay down a foundation for optimal performance and quality work.
Mental separation of workspace and home-space helps to condition the architect to do work while in office and leave it behind once home. This takes off some pressure of work and helps to switch off.
Working from the home studio can involve working from couches, beds, kitchen, etc. However, these places have a fixed pattern of use. For example, a sofa might be a comfortable place to work but, in our minds, it is associated with a place for relaxation, watching T.V or napping. This can cause a mental block to your “creative space” and reduce productivity.
The dedicated space can be both away from the home in a work-shed or attached office, or close vicinity of the home. It is recommended that architect’s try and find a place solely dedicated to working to compensate for all the disadvantages of a home studio workspace.
Outbuildings are spaces on property that can be utilized or repurposed for creating an attractive, functional and professional home office.
Privacy – this would in creating a professional relationship with clients, as they would be separated from your home space both emotionally and physically. For a company with employees, this has the added benefit of keep work relationships and personal relationships distinct.
Mental space – getting “into the zone” for the day’s work is usually reserved for the travelling time, however having an outbuilding can help mentally prepare and rewire the brain into work mode.
Branding opportunities – an outbuilding can be fully customized to reflect an architect’s design talents and brand value.
Now that we have talked of what are some suitable locations to set up an office, let us now discuss some hardware and software essentials to make the workspace- whether remote, at home or outbuilding – fully functional.
Computer Hardware – a laptop is a great production tool that can help you carry your work around with you and complete it from a more comfortable or productive place. It offers a functioning mobile office, and paired with a full-scale monitor can also function as a design and presentation screen.
Software – every designer has their own choice of preferred software and one should research the software well to understand which one meets your requirements best. Try and use official versions of software.
Phone – a mobile device is useful not only for connecting with clients, but the right productivity apps can be useful to leave your laptop behind and get some work done on the go. An iPad combined with the right software can be an alternative to more expensive laptops depending on the design requirements.
Furniture – a desk large enough to support drafters, drawing papers, computer hardware and other tools. The height should be adjustable to ensure you can maintain proper posture and eye level for the screens.
Meeting space – if possible, try and maintain a separate space for meeting with clients. The advantage is that the meeting area can be customized and maintained for the best first impressions, and can be a great place for building professional partnerships.