We have read with interest the letters from Neal Potter (DW 7 August) and Peter Higgins (DW 21 August) about millennium projects and the British pavilion at the Lisbon Expo.
Poor briefing, and inexperienced client teams are identified as the chief problems. However, we believe that there is a cure for these problems in the form of masterplanning.
Peter cites the problem of landmark buildings being developed with scant regard to their function and contents. Masterplanning is the task that helps to tie together the two elements of architecture and design.
The Natural History Museum has been mentioned several times as an example of a client that knows how to manage the interpretative design process. As Neal will know, one of the key success factors of the NHM’s Earth
Galleries was the masterplan developed by the museum with architect Ian Ritchie.
Masterplanning is needed to bring together a range of expertise, including interpretative skills, creative skills, commercial expertise and a well-developed knowledge of the needs and interests of the proposed audience.
Ideally, it should include the client team, interpretative design team and architect, working together to define a cohesive blueprint for the building and its contents.
One of the fundamental mistakes that the New Millennium Experience Company made is to believe that they could do this job themselves.