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Pulling Together - RIBA Journal, March 2011
Education projects involve maximum collaboration, so creating a ready-made team of building specialists seems obvious, say Mustafa Erdem, Harry Baryan and Andres Fernandez

Education design has to be a collaborative process - from Local Authorities, Teachers, School Governors, right through to Technical and Legal Advisors. But it is no easy task to motivate everyone to focus on one shared vision, particularly as, at present, contributions are planned for the wrong stage of the process.

So it is important to find the best way of combining the different skills of all stakeholders. Our philosophy as a practice has led us to think deeply about the benefits of collaboration as a way of meeting the challenges of the new education paradigm in the UK.

Over the years Hans Haenlein Architects has worked and co-operated on projects and bids with like-minded organisations and people who share our vision. So it was not difficult to convince other partners – who had a track record of collaborative delivery - that sharing knowledge, learning together and building consensus are the best way to deal with the challenges education is facing not only in the UK, but in the world as a whole. In response to this the 1st Education Alliance has been set-up.

Specialists in partnership

The First Education Alliance is a partnership of some of the most respected education specialists offering complete sector solutions through effective collaboration. Members of the alliance include the Co-operative College, Halcrow, ASDAN, Thomas English Partnership, Tabard Productions, David Pateman Ltd, Topaz Consultancy, Kognitiv and Hans Haenlein Architects.

This team can now bring a combination of expertise right from inception and ideas of change including new ways of learning which can be built into the process.

With our mix of backgrounds, and skills, sharing common education goals and exercising concerted teamwork, we can bring together creativity, quality and accountability in the delivery of the services.

The key reward is a seamless approach that should result in education facilities that play a role in the local community; are inclusive and sustainable and recognise the balance between learning environments and the actual management of the facility.

Widen your skills base

To help both the process of the project and to keep our clients informed, we have developed a route map which shows the different activities and involvement of alliance members. We want everyone to participate - or at least be able to participate - in the delivery of the projects.

The best way to deal with projects is to open up the opportunities for all of the Alliance members. The group is formed by an agreement, with clients being able to buy into individual members' services directly.

First Education Alliance is already working on a couple of projects, with clients from the private and public sectors. These projects have come about as a result of the extensive network of the Alliance members. It has given us tremendous pleasure and the confidence to promote our collaboration.

Mustafa Erdem, Harry Baryan and Andres Fernandez are with Hans Haenlein Architects

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RIBA Hans Haenlein Architects Chartered A Royal Institute of British Architects Chartered Practice
A member of the First Education Alliance
First Education Alliance