Laying the groundwork for a successful project
Any cultural facilities project begins with a vision: an idea sparked within an organization that is driven by a need – something about the status quo that needs to be altered in order to better serve your artistic or cultural mission.
The objective of the Concept and Feasibility phase is to develop the project’s vision and mission, articulate the reasons for undertaking it, find effective solutions, and assess whether they are possible to achieve.
For a renovation project, this phase may be brief, and much simpler than for new construction. You may already know exactly what needs to be done, and what it will take to do it. Nevertheless, it’s worth taking the time to go through the steps in this phase, both for the sake of explaining your efforts to stakeholders and for making sure the resources spent on the project effectively serve your organizational needs and mission.
First, develop the Project Concept
- Examine and articulate your facilities needs and aspirations
- Develop their critical indicators
- Identify solutions that address your needs
Then, test the Feasibility of these solutions
- Against institutional, architectural, and fundraising parameters
- Within available budgets
- In response to stakeholder and community priorities
Also, develop the core team of people who will see the project through to completion – including (depending on the project’s scale):
- Executive staff
- Board leadership
- Key donors
- Community leaders
- Expert consultants and other outside help
Too often, especially in the arts where we are used to implementing ideas quickly on a shoestring budget, facilities projects go from initial idea right to design and construction without going through the other steps involved in project planning. In the Concept and Feasibility phase, critical choices are made that will guide decision-making and resource allocation for the duration of the effort.
Concept and Feasibility is the most important phase in the whole project – if rushed it can result in expensive mistakes that are hard to fix; when undertaken diligently, it lays a solid groundwork for a project’s success.
This post is also available in: French