DKLEVY Designing An Experience Knoxville High School design renovation restoration DKLEVY

How We’re Designing An Experience

Whether it’s a senior living community, residential structure, interior design project, student center or church, the team at DKLEVY is designing an experience. When asked about the spark for the architecture firm’s theme, DKLEVY President Daniel Levy said simply, “everything that we do is focused around people. We’re not just designing buildings. We’re designing for people.” And that’s the mindset of the team with each project: Designing An Experience.

It Begins with a Vision

Architecture firms each have a method and reason for wanting to begin a project from the start. For the DKLEVY team, the reason is wanting to take the client’s vision or dream, craft that idea into concepts, and then be able to deliver the vision into a structure that satisfies the vision and the need. At the project conception, DKLEVY listens to the vision of the client and partners with them to maximize the opportunities of this vision. Ultimately every critical decision and partnership as the project progress will be filtered through this vision to make sure the mission of the client is achieved and exceeded. Levy says the simple secret to getting this is listening well to clients. Most architects get caught up in their personal ego’s and own ideas that they miss out on the fact that the architect is invited into a clients’ vision. A vision at times that is many prior years in the making. As architects, the goal is to listen to the client and their desires. “One of the things we’ve gotten great feedback on and pride ourselves on is (that) we don’t force ideas upon someone,” Levy said. “In our first meetings with clients, we really try and listen to what their objectives are and then find creative solutions to expand upon them.” Sometimes the first few meetings with a client include looking at design schematics, financial restrictions, environmental impacts, and filtering the project through the lense of how the project will impact the public and user experience. Levy and his team are committed to the time it takes to do their due diligence in examining each part of the architectural process. “We don’t want to see someone go down an expensive path and not enjoy the space that they are going to be living in or working in,” Levy said.

Feedback is Crucial

The DKLEVY team of architects and designers make it a point to let clients know that communication, feedback and honest conversation are essential to the success of any project, whether robust or simple. Starting with the client, strong relationships of honor, respect, and shared vision, flow down to the vendors and other parties involved throughout the process. And there are a host of parties involved. Levy describes working with all the various parties as an orchestra of people. The architect must be the conductor of these project partners, from vendors to contractors to government agencies to owners, and everyone else involved in each project; it is imperative for the owner and architect to like the same music. With lots of coffee and countless late-night tweaks to improve the outcome, the orchestra works together to create what Levy describes as a “labor of love.” “When you design something and you’re happy with the way it has come out and people are using the space and enjoying it, there’s great satisfaction,” Levy said. The DKLEVY team completes a post-project evaluation which helps the team design and confirm that they are using evidence-based design to influence their design decisions. Levy said it is rewarding to see spaces being used, and often times even better than originally imagined through organic interactions, increased work production, healthier spaces, and creating places people want to visit, work, and live. Regardless of the project or any award-winning status, Levy said every project is treated with the same standard of attention and care. “We try and set that model into every project so that we have successful projects: that we brought value to the project and maximized the end user’s ability to use that product in a better way than they could expect or imagined it being used,” Levy said. For DKLEVY, it’s all about serving the client, and an architect can’t do that well without listening to what the client is wanting to achieve. Levy and his team know that not every project will be an award-winning website asset, but they are enthusiastic knowing they bring value to what the client needs, can properly assess a vision and design it, and bring a project to fruition whether it’s a simple residential addition to a pool deck or the most elaborate new structure designed for a multitude of users. Thinking about the user experience is vital in an age of technology, internet marketplaces, and social media. The built environment must respond and invoke the human scale by creating positive user interactions and creating lasting memories. This is one of many values an architect will bring into a project and one that DKLEVY prides itself on creating. From start to finish, Levy and his dedicated team of architects and designers are committed to designing an experience.

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