Collaboration and Innovation in the Early Phases of Projects of Architecture and Urban Design

Gonzalo Lizarralde / Benjamin Herazo / Michel de Blois

Architectural projects follow five long phases before construction. However, different perceptions exist regarding the nature of activities and processes involved in them. Yet, these phases are crucial for fostering collaboration and innovation in processes and outputs. Seeking to understand the context in which innovation and collaboration occurs, this article examines the main opportunities and difficulties for project collaboration and innovation during the early phases of projects of architecture and urban design. Based on a case survey, the study examines 18 projects recently conducted in Canada. Results show how collaboration and innovation occur in a complex system of interrelated phases affected by environmental issues and strategic and tactical decisions. Organizational innovation is constrained by lengthy processes of public debate, project financing and approvals. However, collaborative activities, such as conducting partnering or hiring specialized consultants in project collaboration or sustainable development greatly contributes to innovation.