Briefing and Designing Performing Arts Buildings: Assessing the Role of Secondary Project Stakeholders

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It is recognized that building projects for the performing arts are complex and unique not only because of the need to meet strict technical demands, but also the need to provide a successful venue satisfying the varied and sometimes conflicting needs of clients and stakeholders. It is generally accepted that projects’ objectives should mesh with those of their stakeholders, and continue to fit stakeholders’ interests as the projects evolve, conditions change and the interdependencies of key systems, stakeholders and their objectives change. In order to achieve these objectives, various guidance and reports from within the industry recommend the appropriate involvement of the projects’ stakeholders, and call for the involvement of users, including the audience and general public, as secondary stakeholders. Taking into account the previously developed stakeholders’ model for arts projects as the ideal model, the paper reports a recent study of three arts projects in the UK which shed light on current practice of user consultation, particularly with secondary stakeholders. The findings highlight that although consultation was undertaken, these secondary stakeholder groups were often not well defined or representative, with data often not appropriately addressed in the design brief. The paper discusses these issues, conclusions are drawn and recommendations for future projects are presented.

Keywords: Arts buildings; briefing; design; general public; stakeholders; users

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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