The Design Quality Indicator (DQI) process helped stakeholders discuss the new school in a holistic way and understand each other’s perspectives.
"DQI offered a good starting point that brought together the head, governors and end users with the design team and contributed to building a team that was wider than the County Council and design consultants"
“DQI got other disciplines within the design team and stakeholders to understand the bigger picture outside of their own tram line."
The design incorporated stakeholder aspirations
The stakeholder aspirations from the DQI process included generous space, natural light, interesting shapes and a non-institutional feel. Teaching staff were concerned that the new building should not be too “clinical” or “boxy” but should be “cosy” and “warm” “open” and “welcoming”. These aspirations and fears were incorporated into the design development.
"The outputs from the initial DQI workshop gave us a great place to start as a design team because it set out goals and aspirations to work towards"
"When done properly DQI gives stakeholders and the client the opportunity to express what they want - often as designers we already have experience of building a certain type of building and can come up with similar solutions - DQI provides the opportunity to put forward specific priorities"
Stakeholders discussed complex design issues
The DQI session highlighted the importance of the getting the building's orientation and circulation right. Stakeholders discussed internal circulation, the appropriate flow of facilities, the logical interrelation of rooms and the relationship between internal and external spaces through the direct connection of classrooms with outside play areas.
Discussions also covered the building’s wider context on the street, connections to the local community and ease of access for children, parents and community members. Teaching staff and governors felt that services were "not interfaced within the design" and were concerned that the "goods and service area is visible from the entrance".
"Outputs from DQI give a clear indication in gaps in understanding and shows where effort needs to be put in before the next discussion"
The design team were open about their achievements
The pre-occupation assessment “forced the design team to take care to express or explain how the design has met client aspirations,' while at the same time forcing them to open up about "what they have and haven't been able to do"
Limitations of the process
Only a limited number of end users were directly engaged in the DQI process - students and parents were consulted in other ways. No face to face meeting was held at the mid design assessment. Both of these limitations meant that the DQI process was not fully exploited.