Synergetic Relationships

Designing integrally from the principle of added value

  1. spatial sustainability
  2. designing research
  3. integral design

This past year, we have completed a design study on how to make the added value of integral design tangible. So tangible that it becomes relevant for a client and any other parties to invest in.


We face the major task of creating a sustainable living environment. Climate-proof, nature-inclusive and circular are a few key words in this respect. Current design practice is often driven by the client's demand. The primary functional and economic objectives for buildings are often leading in this request and are translated into a concrete construction budget. In this mostly linear design process, it is often only at the end that explicit attention is paid to the building's adjacent environment. As a result, the potential synergy between environment, building and function is sometimes seen too late, if at all. This leads to missed opportunities.

Identifying integral considerations

What is needed are integral considerations that transcend the client's original question and associated construction budget. But how do we make this transparent and convince clients and other actors involved to invest in this synergy in advance?

Making synergy concrete

The challenge we took up in this project - supported by the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie - was to get the possible synergy concrete enough to play a role in an investment decision. In doing so, we drew inspiration from the method of the Social Cost Benefit Analysis SCBA.

Value model makes effects transparent

Through interactive sessions, we have developed a first version of a value model. This model clarifies the effects of a design intervention at various scale levels (from concrete to abstract) as well as the relationship with various actors and their interests. By adding to the value model in the future and by applying it at multiple stages during projects, we hope to have found a tool that helps us better substantiate our sustainable ambitions to clients. Furthermore, it also gives us as designers the most concrete insight possible into the effects of our design choices.

The report [3.6 Mb] can be downloaded here.

Share this project on