What is a Façade Strategist?
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We’re all used to working with a Façade Consultant or Façade Contractor, but a Façade Strategist?  What’s a Façade Strategist?

Looking it up in a dictionary doesn’t really help us:

Façade – ‘any face of a building given special architectural treatment’;

Strategist – ‘someone who is skilled in planning the best way to gain an advantage or to achieve success, especially in war’.

Not the best definition, although the battle between design, cost and quality can end up feeling like war in some meetings!

The actual definition is:

Façade Strategist – someone who takes a holistic approach to a building’s envelope in view of optimising the client’s return on their investment (ROI).

And what does a Façade Strategist do anyway?

Façade Strategists work at the very early stages of a development, pre-planning, and sometimes as early as pre-acquisition stage, to develop the best result for the asset.  They explore the development, getting a deep understanding of the client’s objectives and concerns, and go on to create a range of innovative solutions working in close conjunction with the team.  They facilitate informed decision-making by the client and develop a sustain mechanism to ensure this choice is not diluted as the project moves forward.

Façades are a complex subject with many competing factors and drivers.  These include aesthetical appearance, cost, embodied and operational carbon, net internal area (NIA), weight, and performance, to name but a few.   As a result, it’s hardly surprising that many consider risk and compromise to be inevitable.

A Façade Strategist is a highly specialised role that requires a very specific profile to achieve success. Such a person must:

  • be a trusted advisor –able to listen, ask the right questions and do the right thing for the outcome of the development, without letting personal agendas and pride get in the way;
  • be able to challenge the status quo – applying tried and tested ideas in innovative ways, unlocking entrenched assumptions, networking and sharing solutions;
  • understand the real estate world – focusing on what really drives the development appraisal and delivers ROI, which is not necessarily the highest quality, the best or most sustainable performance, or lowest cost;
  • be commercially unbiased regarding products, processes or materiality – to avoid detracting from the project-centricity of the approach;
  • have delivery experience – able to assess how much it can actually be built, how long it will really take and how much it will actually cost.

As London’s Façade Strategists, we’re working with our clients to help them optimise their real estate and build the future of London through exceptional façades.