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Expertise

We don’t just think like architects – we think like the architect and the client.

Ney & Partners and William Matthews Associates winning entry for the Tintagel Castle Bridge Design Competition.

MRC was established in 1996 to advocate design excellence and offer effective approaches for clients seeking to achieve world-class architecture. A key strength of MRC’s team is its architectural expertise – this enables us to understand the design community. However, we don’t just think like architects, we think like the architect and the client. We have worked closely with many of the world’s leading cultural institutions to help them shape their projects.

As well as extensive experience in the United Kingdom, we have experience of cultural projects in countries as diverse as the United States, Taiwan, Lithuania, Finland, Qatar, India and Australia.

The main focus of our work is the pre-design stage of the project. This ensures that the client’s requirements are identified, analysed and resolved before appointing or engaging a design team.

Our services include:

Creating the client’s design brief

The brief should encapsulate the client’s vision and draw together the overall objectives – from strategic expectations to operational priorities. It needs to master the site and technical information, as well as give clear direction on budget, planning constraints, environmental standards, design priorities and aesthetic judgements.

The quality of MRC’s design briefs is a crucial element of our competition service and distinguishes us from our competitors. We also offer this service separately for clients who are commissioning an architect directly.

Defining the project narrative

This is essentially distilling the vision – it may be conceived as part of the design brief (see above) or separately. Agreeing a narrative allows related work to begin: fundraising; negotiating with stakeholders and neighbours; and planning media campaigns that build political and public support.

Choosing the design team

There are many ways to commission a professional design team, from established frameworks under public procurement rules through to personal selection – depending on your timescale, budget, PR strategy and stakeholders.

As advocates of architectural competitions, we believe this route to be highly effective. It allows a number of creative approaches to the brief to be tested. It reveals the designers who intuitively connect with a project and stimulates architects, especially emerging studios keen to make their name, to perform at their very best.

Design competitions take many forms and can, indeed, be bespoke. MRC is expert at guiding and actively managing this process, which can range from a private search, to an invited process, two stage competition or one stage design competition, all with variations depending on the client and project.

Ongoing support

The path of design, construction and occupation may take a number of years. We are on hand to advise and modify the brief to respond to changing priorities. Frequently we are asked to continue working as a close adviser on the project to ensure that the core objectives of the brief continue to be addressed throughout the process of delivery.