The Work of Plan constructed by the Royal Institute for British Architects has become an unwritten industry standard.

Not just British Architects rely on the 8 phase design and construction plan.

Whether you are new to the concept or looking to refresh your RIBA knowledge here is the Ultimate Guide for you!

What is RIBA?

Logo for the Royal Institute for British Architects
 [RIBA Logo]  – [Data Broker]

The RIBA is the Royal Institute for British Architects who developed the first plan of work back in 1963.

The aim of the plan was to provide an outline model for the building design and construction process in the UK.

For half a decade the plan has consistently been adapted to changes in the industry until it got completely revised in 2013.

The new plan of work is set to be the updated standard of procedure.

8 detailed phases lay out the path from initiation of a project all the way to the completion of a building and ribbon cutting.

The revised plan further includes a phase dealing with the occupied building and maintenance. 

Simplified Plan of Work 2013
  [RIBA Plan of Work Simplified]  – [Architecture for London]

The phases are

The phases are categorized in 5 areas of the project:

No architect is forced to follow the rules set out by RIBA, although it has become a universal standard. 

This guide will explain the most recent Plan of Work and provide a detailed explanation of each step. 

What changed?

RIBA's Plan of Work 2013
 [RIBA Plan of Work 2013]  – [RIBA Plan of Work]

One of the significant changes in the 2013 model is that it aligns to more than just the traditional procurement route. 

While the majority of architects still use the traditional contractual agreements other sorts, like the Design and Build forms of procedure have also grown in popularity. 

The new WoP is flexible to fit the new trends in the industry.
On the website of the RIBA it is possible to create a custom work of plan to fit the desired procurement route.

The 2007 RIBA’S Plan of Work consisted of 11 steps lettered from A to L. 
The 2013 RIBA’S Plan of Work is divided into 8 stages numbered 0-7, to avoid confusion to the previous phases. 

Adapting to the changes in the industry, the new phases are also BIM ready, mapping out the processes.
If you are unfamiliar with BIM, there are helpful videos explaining the process.

The Plan of Work introduces a new flexibility when it comes to (Town)-planning.

The 2013 recognized the need to make a plan adaptable to different sizes and scopes of projects to ensure the best experience for both ends of the contract. 

Through adjustable templates their website, the plan can be completely fitted to the scale of the project.

Section of RIBA's Plan of Work 2013
  [RIBA Plan of Work 2013]  – [RIBA Plan of Work]

The tasks marked *Variable can be adjusted to the 3 P’s Procurement, Programme and Planning.

The 8 Phases

To demonstrate the process of construction through a real life example, we will show the project Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architects in Edinburgh.

The project started in 2006 and has won multiple design awards since opening in 2012.

Some examples for the design process are not publically available and will be shown through other project.

0 – Strategic Definition

Phase 0 RIBA's Plan of Work

One of the new additions to the 2013 Plan of Work is the first step of the cycle. 

During the strategic definition it is the suppliers goal to properly consider the clients Business Case and Strategic Brief, before creating the Initial Project Brief in Phase 1.

A Business Case is the client’s rationale behind the initiation of a new building project. 

This can be anything from a simple spoken request, to a detailed written proposal, explaining what exactly they want from this project.

The architect is to thoroughly go through the wishes and intentions of the client before they can work on the Project Brief

Together they are able to properly define the scope of the project and go into the preparation process more prepared. 

The business case often includes first cost evaluations and discussing the sites available for the project. This phase is particularly important in terms of sustainability, for example if it would benefit for a building to undergo refurbishment rather than be built new.

An example of a new refurbishment boom are first-tier cities in China.
There, no more land is being released for development, driving the industry towards refurbishment of old building instead. 
Factors influencing this can be aspects like budget, local planning policies and building context. 

Initial considerations of all team members for the projects are being considered, to create the best work force possible. 

The Project Program is also being established.

This outlines the projected length of the project and how briefing, design and construction phases are going to be distributed in this time frame. 

The only people involved at this stage are the client and the architect.
No information exchange with the government is necessary yet.

Summary Phase 0:

1 – Preparation and Brief

The main goal of the second stage, or Phase 1 (not to get confused) is to produce the Project Initiation Document (PID)

The PID includes the Initial Project Brief and a Feasibility Report, as well as the Client Brief and Business Case from the previous phase. 

The PID is what is being used to gain funding for feasibility studies. 

This stage is important to ensure that the Concept design in Phase 2 can be as productive as possible.

1.1 Objectives

The Initial Project Brief lays out the main Project Objectives, such as:

The quality objectives are the objectives that set out the quality aspects of the project.
Size and location of the project are defined 

The demanded project outcomes have been discussed in the first stage.

How long it takes to produce the PID fully depends on the scope of the project and special requests that need to be considered. 

Depending on the project it can be relevant to contact local authorities pre-appointment.This will make future engagement easier and help guide the design from early on. 
Local architect should be contacted to get familiar with local policies. 

Who’s in charge of creating the project team depends on the contract between architect and client.

1.2 Contract

The relationship is established as a Contractual Tree:

It is required to create an initial Risk Assessment

Once the Initial Project Brief and Feasibility Report have been completed the Project Initiation Document is finished and the project can move into the design phases. (2 – 4)

Client meeting with architects
  [First Meeting]  – [ByRawPixel]

Summary Phase 1:

2 – Concept Design

The project is now in the first of 3 design phases.

The goal of this phase is to produce a Final Concept Design.

2.1 First drafts

This is the first time the client gets to see a visual representation made from the Project Brief.

The visual can be anything from drawings to models designed to show the aesthetics of the project including:

General procedure is that the client receives 3 different concept proposals for the construction.
They can be similar or completely different.

Design sketch
[Sketch]  – [DPSDesign]

The client then gets to choose which proposal fits their needs the best by combining elements from all designs. 

2.2 Final Concept Design

When the final design has been agreed on the architects begin with the design.
This includes for example: 

The drawings should be 1 to 50/500 (Adjustable to project needs)

Ariel View of Masterplan for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Ariel View of Masterplan]  – [Edinburgh Government]

For example: 

Part of the drawings are: 

For example: 

Large scale drawings are helpful in seeing how a building is going to function in its location.

It is essential to revisit the brief during this stage and it should be updated and issued as the Final Project Brief as part of the Information Exchange at the end of Stage 2.

2.3 Hand In

The final design has to be prepared for hand in to the client. 
This includes:

The drawings move up to a scale of 1 to 100/200

Masterplan for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
[Masterplan]  – [Oberlanders]

Concept Design Checklist


Tells you how your designs to the surroundings.
Provides other information such as square meters, walls, size of plot, relation of what is indoor and outdoor. 

For Example:

Masterplan for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Masterplan]  – [Oberlanders]
Blueprint framework for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Framework Strategy]  – [Oberlanders]


Prodive the vertical visual aesthetic of your design
-It’s the exterior shell, the view from the outside

For example:

Elevation for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Elevation of New Fountainbridge 1]  – [Approved Development Brief]
Elevations for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Elevation of New Fountainbridge 2]  – [Approved Development Brief]


Future drawing (the design in context of what it would look like once it’s build)
-3D mock up

1 render of the building in colour:

CAD outside for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [CAD Outside]  – [Oberlanders]
Render Outside for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Render Outside Detailed]  – [7Narchitects]

1 render of the interior:

Render Inside for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
[Render Inside Detailed]  – [7Narchitects]

1 render of how it relates to the landscape and surroundings:

Design Street View for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Design Street View]  – [Edinburgh Architecture]
Render of Surrounding for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Render of Surroundings]  – [Edinburgh Reporter]

Situation plan:

What’s around it (access to it)
1 to 1500 to 1 to 5,000 (Adjustable to project needs)

-View from above showing the land around it

Location for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architect
 [Location of Fountainbridge]  – [Oberlanders]

The following types of design were not available from Oberlanders Architects and are shown by other project examples:


Provide you with the vertical elements of the building

For example:

Sections for Yale Art and Architecture Building by Paul Rudolph
 [Sections]  – [ArchDaily]


Technical 3D View of the design for the entire building Visualization of a plan 

For Example:

Axonometric View for Casa Sophie by A-53
[Axonometric View Casa Sophie]  – [A-53]

Physical models

Can be any size, helps demonstrate the final product in a more tangible way

Wood model for FCB Cornwall by FCB Studios
[Wood Model FCB Cornwall]  – [FCBStudios]

In the past years using Virtual Reality has been introduced as a way to show clients the designs in 3D. 
This might set of properly once the technology further advances.

2.4 Permits and permissions:

Local planning authorities need to be consulted to obtain permits and permissions needed.

Things to consider are:

Feedback from the consultations may result in changes to the design. 

The length of Phase 2 is depending on the scale and complexity of the project

2.5 Cost Plan

With the finished design the elemental cost plan for the project can be produced. This lays out all assumptions, abnormal costs and whole-life costs.

Summary Phase 2:

3 – Developed Design

The main goals of this phase are to produce a Final Design to be send to authorities and approved.

The architectural, building services and structural engineering designs will be finished by the end of phase 3. 

With the Final design approved the Cost plan can be determined and aligned to the Project Budget.

It usually involved the planning application, but due to the flexibility of the 2013 PoW, it can vary across the phases. 

In phase 3 the design is further developed. 
Visualisations are moved to a 1 to 20/50 scale depending on the project scale.
The designs produced now are dimensionally correct and co-ordinated as CAD-drawings.

Models should show:

Building System Services:

Structure of the Building – Type Selection

Changes during this phase are usually documented. 

The chosen materials and dimensions can give an accurate estimate of the cost plan.

Changes in this phase are often made to adjust to the project budget.
The cost estimation is where things tend to go wrong.

Avoid these common errors for the closest estimate possible:

Phase 3 is usually when the planning application is being submitted to the responsible authorities. 

The detailed drawings and reports are to be included in the application.

A planning application can include:

Further factors depend on location and scale of the project.

Summary Phase 3:

4 – Technical Design

The goal of Phase 4 is to prepare the detailed technical designs for the building. 

In the end of the stage the designs should include all architectural, structural and building services information.
This includes any design for specialist subcontractors and specifications.

All designs are to align with the Design programme and Design Responsibility Matrix.

4.1 Detailed Drawing

The Lead and Construction architect come together to produce detailed drawings of the designs. 

The scale of detail now goes from 1 to 1 up to 1 to 20.

Technical Design by Red Squirrel Architecture
 [Example Technical Design]  – [Red Squirrel Architecture]

How detailed each designer has to get depends on whether the construction will be built according to the design team or based on information given by a specialist subcontractor.

The drawings now include things like electrical outputs, insulation and other specifics. 

Depending on the project, all needed engineers are subcontracted and work alongside the Lead and Construction architects.

At this stage the overall design of the building does not change anymore. 

The Design team is expected to work on their part individually, according to the designs set out in the previous stages. 

It is possible that the design team has to respond to queries that arise during the construction phase.

Once the detailed designs are finished the Architects hand it over to the Project Manager.

It is important to regularly check in with the authorities during this phase.

4.2 Tender

If the supplier has already been chosen it is their responsibility to create their own supply chain.

For this they have to prepare tender documentation and their own version of the employer’s information requirements

If the supplier hasn’t been chosen the tender documentation and pre-tender estimate now have to be produced in order to tender the construction contract. 

4.3 Contractors

All contractors are reviews, new ones are chosen, approved and contracted out.
Who is responsible for appointing all subcontractors depends on the original contract between Architect and Client.

The Lead architect and Project manager approve all selections of contractors and discuss these with the client for his approval. 

Summary Phase 4:

5 – Construction

The goal of phase 5 is the offsite manufacturing and onsite construction of the building.
All construction is according to the designs produced in the previous stages.

The Design Team still has to respond to design queries arising during this stage. 

5.1 Construction and Building

Construction site for Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architects
 [Fountainbridge Construction]  – [Valentin Hunzinger]

The Architect’s role during construction depends on the contract. 

Traditionally the client appoints the contractor who is responsible for the work onsite.

The architect firm usually offers a Contract administration service to oversee that the work is according to the programme through regular visits. 

The contract administrator deals with:

Completed Building Springside Fountainbridge by Oberlanders Architects
 [Springside Fountainbridge]  – [Oberlanders]

5.2 Health and Safety

Local inspectors review and observe the site to make sure all health and safety laws are being followed

Summary Phase 5:

6 – Handover and Closeout

The goal of phase 6 is the handover of the completed building and the conclusion of the building contract.

The client is now able to occupy the building.

For 6 to 12 months, also called Defect Liability Period, the contractor is still responsible for any defects on the property. 

6.1 Report

At the end of construction, a report is produced covering the contractors, errors, accidents, incidents of waste/loss. 

The contract administrator is issuing his final report on the construction. 

In some cases the client may keep a retention sum for the contractor unit the Defect Liability Period is over. This ensures that the contractor does his job. 

6.2 Inauguration and official opening

The completed site is visited by the client and other relevant parties. 

All members of the Project Team are invited and the building is officially ‘In-Use’.

Often includes an official Red Ribbon Cutting ceremony and champagne.

Ribbon Cutting event for the opening of Treasure Island by Saint Paul Port Authority
 [Grand Opening of Treasure Island]  – [Saint Paul Port Authority]

Summary Phase 6:

7 – In Use

This is the second new addition to the RIBA’s Plan of Work 2013, and aims to provide an aftercare service to the client and the building. 

The service provided to the client can include for example:

Sometimes it’s necessary to pass on expert knowledge in order for the building to be used properly.

This especially applies when it comes to sustainability. 

The ‘end of life’ of a building can be part of Phase 7 or considered part of the Phase 0 of a new construction cycle.

In this case it’s considered whether the development can be reused by refurbishing it or has to be demolished.

This stage is what united the phases of the plan into a cycle of development.

Phase 7 Summary:

RIBA Plan of Work Concluded

The Plan of Work is recognised internationally as standard procedure.

While no one is expected to use it, by doing so you can play it safe.

“Unless they are inappropriate, use the RIBA forms of Appointment” – A Guide to Keeping out of Trouble.

The guide allows to simplify the project to both architects and clients, and increases the communication between both parties.

Need help getting started?

We worked through the red tape and bureaucracy so you don’t have to.

In most cases you must complete some official forms for the Building and Residency Register (BBR forms) together with the building application for the municipality.

Visit your municipality’s website and find the correct forms to be filled in. Here, and at BBR.dk , you can also read more about the review and application for construction work.

What do you think about the RIBA Plan of Work 2013? Share your experience and thoughts, send us a message!

heart lock


The date an architect seems like the perfect find in the sea of love that we all fish in.

A creative genius who draws something and then actually makes it reality. 

Elegant ribbon cutting events for the newest addition to the city’s skyline. 

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it.

The reality of dating an architect might involve more coffee than champagne, and looking at the same sketch for 2 months.
Ted Mosby had us dream of the hopeless romantic who builds the next Empire State building.
But looking back at even his depiction, being an architect often looks a lot different. 

We’ve compiled a list of 20 things you need to know before dating an Architect, to prepare you for the ride of your life.

1. Their heart is taken already

relationship status

One thing you need to prepare for when meeting an architect is that they are already taken by someone else.

Their job.

Architecture is the committed relationship they got in to when they first signed up to University.

There will be times where you get stood up for studio sessions or construction site visits. And you will have to deal with that.

Being passionate is one of their greatest qualities, even if it affects other parts of their life. 

Would you rather find someone who’s dull and directionless?

Probably not. 

2. They are (mostly) not rich

empty wallet

It is a common misconception that Architects make a lot of money. There are exceptions of Architects that made the big break.

Surely firms like Fosters and Partners don’t have to worry about paying rent with cashing over 2 million USD a year, excluding their highest paying project. 
Usual Architects mentioned in Forbes lists fall in the older age category.

You are more likely to come across a younger, less successful partner, who will not be cutting red ribbons any time soon. 

In reality, architecture doesn’t involve skyscrapers, but a lot of renovations.

The broke artist curse doesn’t spare the building designers. 

On the good side, this makes architects very good at handling the money they have.

This doesn’t mean they are stingy, just very specific. 

Tasteful limited finds will grace your bedside table. 

Time to say goodbye to your ikea shelf, because sundays are now for antique flea markets. 

3. There always will be pens around

The architect significant other comes with a new, never ending supply of pencils.

No matter if it’s black, blue or red, any colour you need won’t be hard to find. 

Having constant access to pencils can prove very beneficial.
Instead of putting everything on a phone, you can return to having your shopping list on paper.


If your architect and you have already made it to living together, beware of the laundry.

The endless supply of pencils often comes out of a black hole in their back pockets. Their dominantly black wardrobe is pretty much immune to any damage. 

Yours might not be.

Prepare to throw out some white shirts, and keep your socks away. 

At least the monotone wardrobe makes laundry sorting a lot easier. 

4. You get your personal Arts and Crafts store

architecture tools

The utensils supply doesn’t stop with the pencils. Any arts and craft stationery is likely to appear around your partner and their home. 

The issue of not having a glue gun around is now one for the past. 

Dating an architect can come in handy, as they often are, handy. 

Knowing your prospective partner can fix the basics themselves is reassuring.

Broken shoe? Superglue.

Your personal art supply store also pays off when festivities approach.

To make up for their smaller budget, they can craft the best presents. Wedding season seems a lot less intimidating now. 

And you won’t have to worry about buying your own laser cutter any longer.

What a relief.

5. New destinations

Eiffel Tower Paris

Architects can show you the world. 
And they will, no matter what the payment checks look like.

Just not the world by the ocean.

Or in the mountains.

They will show you the world of granite structures and stuck decorations.

If you like a good city holiday you are in luck because with an architect by your side a lot of those are coming for you. 

Prepare for treks on the path of architectural history with your personal tour guide. 

Rome, Paris and Athens make for good destinations and also offer delicious food if your guide allows you a lunch break. 

Did you know the Luxor Obelisk on the Paris Place de la Concorde is also the biggest sundial in the world?

After returning from holidays now, you certainly will. 

In the case you go on an actual guided tour, your architect might jump in to correct them.

Being a little embarrassed is okay.

It’s also inevitable to end up with a photo album full of pictures from your trips. Without you or your family in it.

Just a lot of buildings.

6. There will be a lot of books


If you manage to convince your significant other to join you on a trip to the beach, you will need a book to relax with. 

It will come in handy to have a whole library at home to chose from.

Strictly architecture content of course. 

Having every edition of the encyclopedia is essential.

So are any other architecture related publications from the last 5 centuries. 

Decorating your flat will prove a lot easier, as half of the space is already covered by books. 

7. And anything else architecture related

cartoon of man with globe and book

Besides books, the flat is also covered in anything other architecture related. 

Sketches flying around the rooms like paper planes, sometimes folded into one. 

Instead of buying vases or statues you can arrange your partner’s insane collection of models around the tables. 

Be careful when handling them. 

Breaking their models might break a bit of their heart with it.

8. You’ve now joined Architecture 101

architecture joke

Going on exclusively cultural holidays will eventually pay off. The good thing about dating an architect is that their passion and knowledge will rub off on you. 

Whether you want it or not.

After a couple months of coffee dates, you could easily pass architecture 101, without the endless all nighters.

Architects spend a majority of their early years learning the industry lingo

Selfless as they, this knowledge will be passed to you.

Architectural jargon sounds like a mystery to outsiders but once you are in, you are in.

The longer you spend together, the more of their jokes will be understandable.

Still not all.

The world of architecture humor is almost as big as their heart.

9. They have a lot of patience

detailed sketch

Patience is key.

This counts for almost every relationship.

To make it through the hard times with your partner you will both need to show a lot of patience, working together.

Good thing, that architects are as patient as it gets. 

Spending years of their lives sketching the same floor plan over and over again, just to then do the same in modeling; makes you acquire a certain level of patience that can’t be matched.

Glueing 1000 miniature trees to a model requires fine tuning that will help your relationship as well.

If you are someone who likes to provoke conflict to get what they want, you might be out of luck with this partner.

It’s nearly impossible to be more annoying than their clients.

Learn to talk it out.

10. Any place is educational

road trip
Photo by Alex Jumper on Unsplash

You’ve learned about the educational trip abroad that await you. 

But when money is tight and the most travelling you are getting done is to the grocery store, you won’t be left empty handed.

An adventure down the road might include a history lesson on the embassy building you just passed. 

Or an in depth opinion on why the new bypass near your home is a technical disaster.

Driving through the countryside to visit families for the holidays won’t have much to offer for analysis. 

Fear not, there are more podcasts out there than you could ever possibly listen to.

Your architecture classes don’t end because it’s christmas.

11. They’re coffee snobs

coffee addict

Whether it’s the all nighters studying for the degree show back in college or staying up until the late night drawing for another project deadlines.

A humans best friends might be dogs, but an architects is coffee.

No matter the time of the day, they are always seen with a steaming cup in their hand.

This makes them excellent baristas. It’s like having your own brewery at home.

But the years of drinking coffee also makes them quite picky when it comes to the magical bean.

Prepare to make room for quality arabica coffee and wave goodbye to the instant sachets left in the cupboard. 

Coffee is an easy way to impress your date.

If you are still on route to dating an architect, do some research and suggest a date at a good coffee shop. Knowing 2 facts about coffee can go a long way.

12. They can stay up all night

all nighter

What brought them to their coffee addiction in the first place are the allnighters they had to endure during their studies and continue on in their career. 

As a partner, you might be happy that they can  stay up all night doing more fun things, being used to the lack of sleep. 

But in most cases they are more likely to have already stayed awake the previous nights working, so on a day off their brain clocks out at 7pm 

All night action is reserved for pen and paper.

13. You only have architect friends

Dating an architect comes with the free addition of new architect friends.
Like other profession, your partner often attracts people from the same industry.

Good that you’ve picked up some of the lingo, this will help you blend in to the group.

After an hour of discussion on the sustainability of the new opera house being built even the most dedicated partner can zone out. 

Don’t be surprised if by the time you zone back in the topic still hasn’t changed.

Architects never run out of things to say.

14. They’ve got a wandering eye

Dreaming of long walks in the city with your loved one. Staring into each others eyes in the moonlight. Sounds pretty romantic. 

Until you notice they aren’t looking at you but at the bridge behind you.

Architects are prone to have a wandering eye. Not in a bad way. 

They won’t get distracted by other people during a date. 

Walking past a new refurbishment is another story.

15. They do a lot of overtime

Overtime cartoon

As you may have guessed from their lack of sleep and coffee addiction, being an architect involves a lot of overtime.

Not paid overtime.

This might be where the misconception about their wealth comes from. Someone who spends all weekend in a studio surely are paid back for that sacrifice. 

The issue of overworking interns has become so widespread that in 2016 a new federal law was passed in the USA demanding that companies pay their employees time and a half for their overtime.

With 90-hour weeks leading up to competitions, an architects schedule can be insane. 

Previously unpaid as well.

Prepare for some lonely nights, and have an open ear to complaints.

16. Architecture is everywhere

Pent house New York City
Spider-man penthouse by Architectural digest

For architects, the job doesn’t end once they leave the office. They have the power to connect everything around them to architecture. 

It’s possible to use this to your advantage.

Want to watch a movie genre they don’t particularly like? Chose one that plays in an architecturally interesting location. Luckily almost every rom-com plays in New York with sufficient scenes of the Empire State building. 

And no spy movie misses out on London.

17. They talk a lot without saying

cartoon man with brain

If you are familiar with How I Met Your Mother you will know the architect looking for love, Ted Mosby. His portrayal is said to be one of the most accurate when it comes to showing the struggle in the industry. 

His character, while lovable, has a habit of talking around the point, and constantly correcting his friends about everything. 

To survive in a studio, architects have to be very good at giving their opinion. 

They have a way of making you question your own.

Don’t be fooled by their talking around the point, they don’t know everything.

If you want to win an argument, prepare to justify every statement.

Opinions that are not backed up have little value to an architect.

Good luck with the fighting. 

18. Gifts are easier than ever

Architects being so passionate about their job makes gift shopping a lot easier.

Although you might have found enough pencils in your flat to last a lifetime, they won’t see it like that. 

Architecture related things are a very broad category.

Books, notebooks, pencils, pens.

More glue for the glue gun.

Another encyclopedia.

As creative individuals, they will appreciate a creative effort from you as well. 

It might be hard to master their humor but once you get it, you will nail every present.

(Coffee machines work wonders)

19. They are never satisfied


After spending a lot of time with an architect, it will become clear that they don’t love anything that already exists. Every construction could’ve been done differently. 

They would have designed the bridge much better themselves. And the colour your neighbours are painting their house doesn’t compliment the original style of the building. 

They will talk about projects they like, but always systematically criticize it at the same time. Often in the same sentence.

If you appreciate honesty, you’re in luck.

They’re not scared to give you helpful critique when you ask for it. 

20. You won’t need to worry about the future

Your new home

If you manage to get yourself to date an architect and dealt with the 19 things mentioned above, you are looking towards a bright future.

How convenient that the one by your side can design that future for you.

When it comes to starting a family and eventually getting your own house, your architect will make sure it’s the best home you can find.

Whether it’s finding the best offer on the market or even building it themselves.

You won’t have to worry about it.

They will do enough of that for both of you. 

Do you recognise the architect in your life, or yourself in this list?

Architecture around the world has undergone a lot of changes in the last decades. With the times it’s not just the lifestyle of the cities that adapted but also its public spaces. From entire new skylines to greener public spaces here we have accumulated a collection of 40 examples of amazing transformations.
Let the before and afters inspire you and inform you about the ever-changing buildings from across the globe.

1. Klyde Warren Park

In 2006 Architect James Burnett unveiled his design to put a lid on the Freeway going through Dallas, Texas. 

The idea was first met with a lot of scepticism as a park including a theater stage, sport facilities and 322 trees weighs a lot.
By using geofoam the problem could be solved and by 2009 the city had enough funding to put the foundation over the streets. 

General Contractors Archer Western and McCarthy Building Cos. finished the 21,000 square meter park in October 2012, after an expense of nearly 80 million USD.

Kyle Warren Park Before and After, Dallas Texas
[Klyde Warren Park] by [Office of James Burnett Website]

2. Rio Madrid Project

The Manzanares river going through Madrid has been surrounded by highways since the 70s and didn’t leave much room for romantic scenes. It wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that Major Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon signed off the project that would turn the streets into a green space. 

Spanish architect collective West 8 designed the new area, which would be split up in individual components offering anything from green space to skate parks and restaurants.

In 2003 the highways were moved into 43 kilometre long tunnels to make space for the new park, which habitats over 8500 lamps; 5500 seating areas; 33 bridges connecting the two overhauled riversides. 

Over 4 million euros later in 2010 the project was completed and completely open to the public.

Rio Madrid Project Before and After, Madrid, Spain
[Madrid Rio Before and After] by [Urbanistdispatch]

3. A’Beckett Urban Square

For years the RMIT University in Melbourne Australia used the 2800 squaremeter space as a car park surrounded by its academic buildings.
In 2012 the cities Mayor took a stand against inactive property owners and sparked a wave of urban interventions, including the RMIT A’Beckett Urban Square.

The former car park was turned into ‘pop-up’ park in 2013 and completed a year later for all the students to use, 

Peter Elliot Architecture + Urban Design took over the 1.2 million USD project and designed a space  designated for active and casual engagement, incorporating sport courts, landscaping, BBQ facilities and bike parking. 

The urban space is only a temporary use for the space, until MRIT continues with its own expansions.

A'Beckett Urban Square Before and After, Melbourne Australia
[A’Beckett Urban Square] by [Peter Elliot Pty Ltd Architecture]

4. Place de la Republique

As the largest and one of the most important squares in Paris, the Place de la Republique attracts thousands of visitors every day. Before it became a social hub in the city in 2013, it was more of a traffic hub, surrounded by cars and streets taking up more than two thirds of the area. 

The agency TVK consisting of Pierre Alain Trévelo and Antoine Viger-Kohler redesigned the whole square and ‘gave it back to the Parisienne’.
After a 2 year renovation process the area designated for pedestrians increased from 12,000 sqm2 to 24,000sqm2 and opened the stop for many businesses and activities.  

Place de la République Before and After, Paris, France
[Place de la Republique] by [Clement Guillaume]

5. Mariahilferstraße

One of Austria’s most prominent shopping streets has followed Paris’ example and gave the space back to the people through an amazing transformation. The 1,6km long street used to focus on the cars driving through and left little room for the shoppers walking through. 

Once the different street levels were removed the visitors started to use the entire space and brought live to the city. 

In 2010 the council decided to remove all traffic from certain areas of the street and turned it into a pedestrian only walk.

Mariahilferstrasse Before and After, Vienna, Austria
Top: [Mariahilferstraße] by [Douglas Sprott]
Bottom: [Mariahilferstraße] by [Andreas Lindinger]

6. Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Brooklyn Bridge Park is barely 10 years old but holds one of the most remarkable transformations around the city in the recent years. Manhattans skyline has been solid for a few decades but the neighbouring district across the river has been lacking some development. 

In 2002 the Mayor and Governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding to agree on creating the Brooklyn Bridge Park and formed the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation (BBPDC). The corporation put together a master plan in 2004 for the piers that go along the river.

Several of the Piers along the waterfront were redesigned by Architecture firm WXY Studios.

In 2010 Pier 1 opened to the public and has since become one of the cities favourite spots.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Before and After, Brooklyn, New York
Top: [Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway] by [Courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park]
Bottom: [Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway] by [Etienne Frossard/BBP]

7. Cheonggyechen

The stream passing through Cheonggyecheon was hidden underneath a multiple story freeway before the city decided that instead of renovating the ageing concrete it was time to transform the area.

The government wanted to connect the two sides of the city which were separated through the freeway without creating traffic congestion. 

SeoAhn Total Landscape came up with a design which would both allow the people to make use of the stream again and continue the flow of traffic in the city. 

22 bridges were build across the water, 12 for pedestrians and 10 for automobiles. The public transport system in the centre got a push and the use of cars has also been discouraged by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Cheonggycheon Stream Before and After, Seoul, South Korea
[Cheonggycheon Stream] by [Unkown via Citi.io]

8. Alaskan Way Viaduct

An earthquake hit Seattle in 2001 and destroyed parts of the city, including the multilane freeway Alaskan Freeway, going along the pier. 

Instead of rebuilding it the city decided to change parts of the lanes underground to allow the space to be used for pedestrians. After a 10 year debate between council, public and government whether to keep the highway over or underground the reconstruction by the Washington State Department of Transportation began in 2011. 

Known as the Highway 99 Project the new tunnel cost the city nearly 3.3 billion USD and was opened with a 2 year delay in 2018. 

Alaskan Way Viaduct Before and After, Seattle, Washington
[Alaskan Way Viaduct] by [Unkown via ArchDaily]

9. Pier Freeway

The Piers of San Francisco are one of the main attractions the city has to offer. Similar to Seattle the Pier used to be blocked by a highway viaduct for years until an earthquake damaged it severely in 1989. 

The removal opened the pier to development and created an open space in one of the busiest areas. 3,000 new housing units, 2 million square feet of offices and 375,000 square feet of retail replaced the former traffic centre.

[Embarcadero Before and After] by [SF Film Location]

10. Denver Union Station

The original Denver Union Station was built in 1868 by architects Taylor, A.; Fairfield & Burton.

Today the old beaux arts style building isn’t recognisable after RTD purchased the building in 2001 and developed a master plan to renovate the station and 79,000 square meter surrounding it. 

The plan layed out to construct the new site in a single phase and the partner agencies selected Hargreaves Associates and Skidmore, Orwings & Merrill to design the space. 

Denver Union Station Before and After, Denver, Colorado
Top: [Denver Union Station] by [Unkown
Bottomo: [Denver Union Station] by [Brian W. Schaller]

The 500 million USD renovation didn’t just create a new train station but simultaneously started the renovation of historic buildings in the surrounding area.

Denver Union Station Main Terminal Before and After, Denver Colorado
[Denver Union Station] by [Isaac Kim]

11. Berlin Central Station

The central station in Berlin is the main station in Germany, connecting the capital to the rest of the country. Underneath the modern glass construction is the historic site of the Lehrter Bahnhof, which stood on the ground from 1871 until the end of World War 2 where it was heavily damaged. 

In 1998 it was decided that it was time for a new station to reunited the formerly divided city. 

The construction began with building tunnels connecting the stations across Berlin and laying down the foundation stone. 

Through winning a design competition the Hamburg architect Gerkan, Marg and Partners took over planning the station that opened in 2007.

12. Times Square

Before Times Square become the embodiment for Manhattan hyper-density, it was on the verge of overflowing. Underneath the millions of pedestrians and cars is the busiest station on the New York metro line. 

In 2008 Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Department of Transportation decided to make the square accessible again.

Jan Gehl and his team came together with Sadik-Khan to develop a design that would introduce bike lanes and pedestrian Plaza’s instead of multilane streets. 

In the same year the renovation allowed for a New Years Eve celebration on the new Times Square.

Times Square Before and After, Manhattan, New York
[Times Square] by [NYC DOT, Michael Grimm]

13. TVG Station

Paris based architect Marc Mimram designed a ‘Garden-Station’, with the intention of allowing travellers to see the surroundings and seasons outside the building.

The new station was proposed in 2014 and the design features pleats going across the concrete roof to throw shadows across the station. 

In collaboration with Emmanuel Nebout, contractor EGIS and developer Icade the team worked on the 142 million Euro station starting in 2015. 

[TVG Station] by [Marc Mimram]

14. Shanghai Skyline

It only took 20 years to turn Shanghai into the metropolis we know it as today. In 1990 it was already a world commerce hub but showed green space instead of skyscrapers along the river. 

After the economic reform it into the largest cargo port in the world and the architecture grew with it.

Remarkable buildings in the new skyline include the tallest building in China, the Shanghai Tower, designed by Jun Xia and built from 2008 to 2014 by the contractor Shanghai Construction Group. 

Close second is the Shanghai World Financial Center designed by Kohn Peterson Fox in 1997.

Shanghai Skyline Before and After, Shanghai, China
[Shanghai Skyline Before and After] by [Gizmodo]

15. Singapore Skyline

The tiny city-state and Island has had severe changes in its skyline since it became independent from Malaysia over 50 years ago. It’s hard to believe that constructions like Marina Bay Sands were only added to the scenery 10 years ago. 

The building was designed by Moshe Safdie and Aedas Singapore in 2007 and opened to host celebrities and sports from across the world in 2010.

Only a year later in 2011 Safdie left another print on the skyline by designing the Art Science Museum shaped like a lotus flower.

Singapore Skyline, Before and After, Singapore, Singapore
[Singapore Skyline Before and After] by [Reuters]

16. Dubai Skyline

In 2 decades Dubai transformed from a desert city to a one-of-a-kind metropolis counting the tallest building in the world as part of its skyline. 

The Burj Khalifa is construction of superlative designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP from Chicago and with consultation of Adrian Smith FAIA, RIBA in 2004. In 2010 the city celebrated its opening and the 1.5 billion project came to an end. 

30,000 apartments, 9 hotels, a mall and a lake can be found in the construction that broke all records. 

Dubai Skyline Before and After, Dubai, UAE
[Dubai Skyline Before and After] by [Wikimedia Commons]

17. Doha Skyline

The transformations in the middle east are incomparable to renovations in Europe or the USA.

Until the 90’s Doha was a small fishing community until the country started tapping into the oil and gas industry. Now, Qatar is one of the leading exporters in the world and has the skyline to match the skyrocketing industry. 

The city isn’t done expanding as it currently has 47 buildings under construction. The Doha Tower is one of the more subtle additions to the cityscape build from 2005- 2012. The city is said to spend 65 billion USD on new projects and infrastructure including the stadium for the World Cup 2022.

Doha Skyline Before and After, Doha, Qatar
[Doha Skyline Before and After] by [Emporis]

18. Shenzen

Shanghai has undergone a rapid development in the past years but the fasted growing city in China is Shenzen in the south. 

The former green area has now turned into the first and most successful Special Economic Zone in the country.

Shenzen Skyline Before and After, Shenzen, China
[Shenzen Before and After] by [Gaoloumi.com , SSDPenguin on Wikimedia Commons]

Danish studio Henning Larsen is working on building a new city centre in collaboration with two Chinese consortiums. 

The new public space is aiming to relocate the people to the waterfront.

Shenzen Waterfront, Shenzen, China by Henning Larsen
[New Shenzen Bay Plans] by [Henning Larsen]

19. Fortaleza

The city on the Brazilian coast gained tourism in 2014 as it was one of the host cities of the World Cup. Between 1975 and now it also gained a remarkable skyline going along the beach side. 

Fortaleza Before and After, Fortaleza, Brasil
[Fortaleza Before and After] by [Unkown via Groundzeroweb]

20. Rio De Janeiro Olympic Park

Before hosting the Olympics in 2016 Rio de Janeiro had to undergo an immense transformation. 

Completely new sport facilities were built in the years leading up to the games and changed the landscape of the city. 

The London based firm Wilkinson Eyre designed the largest part of the Olympic park, a conjunction of 3 arenas all holding different sporting events. He gave the master plan to local firm Arqhos Consultoria e Projetos, who brought the vision to live.

Olympic Park Before and After, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
[Olympic Park Before and After] by [Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg News; Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters]

21. Las Vegas

Vegas is known for its extravagance and excess but before there was gambling and a second Eiffel Tower, the desert town was merely there for necessity. 

A few hotels were built as a stop over for trade routes across the state and with the business came the customers. 

60 years later the Las Vegas strip and CityCentre is illuminated from casinos and hotels and it became the fastest growing area in America.

Las Vegas Strip Before and After, Las Vegas, Nevada
[Las Vegas Now and Then] by [Unknown via Google Earth Picture]

22. Subway Line 4

Before the Olympics Brazil didn’t just improve their sport facilities but also gave Rio’s infrastructure a push.

The new subway line 4 was build to connect the city to the event venues. The modern Design was proposed by firm Odebrecht.
It ended up opening with a delay and almost double the initial cost with 3.1 billion USD just in time for the games. 

It was only made accessible to the general public in late 2017.

Subway Line 4 Before and After, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
[Line 4 Subway Before and After] by [Getty Images]

23. Berlin Parliament

World War 2 left a lot of the historical buildings in Europe in ruins. The German parliament in Berlin has its seat in the Reichstag which was also a victim of bombs.

Instead of removing what was left, the city decided to revive the construction and renovated the building with modern additions. 

In 1993 UK designer Fosters and Partners won a competition with a design that didn’t include the glass dome that is now seen as a symbol of Berlin.
 Only in 1995 the dome and its spiral staircase got introduced to the design and now attract over a million visitors each year.
The renovation cost the state over 300 million euros.

Berlin Parliament Before and After, Berlin, Germany
Top [Reichstag Before] by [German Federal Archives]
Bottom: [Reichstag After] by [Wojsyl]

24. St. Louis Church

The St. Louis Church in Memphis Tennessee was first built in the late 1950’s with an, back-then, modern design. The original construction didn’t let much natural light into the building and in 2014 it was time to give the Church a makeover.

Already existing parts and a new altar and baldacchino were combined and kept in a similar style. The most drastic change was the new stained glass behind the altar which included artificial lighting, in order to bring life into the building.

St. Louis Church Before and After, Memphis, Tennessee
[St Louis Church Before and After] by [Unknown via Christian Review]

25. Holy Name of Jesus Church

The Catholic  church located in Brooklyn raised nearly 1 million USD to be able to restore the building and give the altar a new look.

What visitors previously described as ‘upside down’ hockey sticks, has now made place for a marble centerpiece which brings live into the historical place.
A lot of the renovation was done by the parishioners themselves giving back to their community.

In 2014 the church opened again for its first mass with its brand new altar.

Holy Name of Jesus Before and After, Brooklyn, New York
[Holy Name of Jesus Church Before and After] by [Unknown via Christian Review]

26. Salem Jail

The Salem Jail was the oldest operating penitentiary in the States until it closed down in 1991. The living conditions were said to be so bad that inmates sued the country, and won. 

It took almost 2 decades until developers David Goldman and Dennis Kanin from the New Boston Ventures picked up the abandoned building and turned it into luxury apartments and a restaurant. 

The restoration cost nearly 12 million USD and was completed in 2010 with all the apartments quickly being rented out. 

Salem Jail Before and After, Salem, Massachusetts
[Salem Jail Before and After] by [National Trust for Historic Preservation via Business Insider]

27. Tennessee Theatre

First opened in 1928 the theatre spent half a century entertaining generations in Knoxville with its movies. 

After its closing it took 18 months and 300 million USD to give the building a well needed rehaul, lead by local firm McCarty Holsaple Architects

Original elements of the theatre were kept intact and restored while the main stage got equipped for performing arts.

Tennessee Theater Before and After, Knowville, Tennessee
[Tennessee Theater Before and After] by [National Trust for Historic Preservation via Business Insider]

28. Boyle Hotel

Starting out as a luxury hotel in 1889 the Boyle Hotel made a promising place for shops and guests. With time the businesses left the area and the building deteriorated and after being left alone for years.

It took 24 million USD to bring back to life. 

New roof, floors, doors and furniture were added by Richard Barron Architects and in 2012 it reopened as affordable apartments with new shops opening on the ground floor.

Boyle Hotel Before and After, Los Angeles, California
[The Boyle Hotel Before and After] by [National Trust for Historic Preservation via Business Insider]

29. Art Hotel Paradiso

Ilmiodesign, have brought the Miami Beach style to Ibiza by taking on the renovation of the Art Hotel Paradiso.

With pastel colours and interior design inspired by 70’s Italian architects Artizoom, the hotel opened  its doors to artists and travellers in 2018

[Art Hotel Paradiso] by [Adam Jhonson]

The lobby of the hotel features a ‘Glass room’ in which one can sleep for free with the condition that the room is fully visible to people walking by.

Glass Room, Art Hotel Paradiso, Ibiza, Spain
[Art Hotel Paradiso] by Adam Jhonson]

30. Tung Fat Building

The building was first built in the 1960’s and hosted several apartments and businesses.

The name Tung Fat literally translates to ‘get rich together’ which was the original purpose of the office complex.

In 2015 Melbourne based firm KPDO gave the building a make over, creating luxury apartments while preserving the original structure.

The refurbishment costs HK$ 30 million and aims to inspire fellow architects to keep old buildings in Hong Kong alive rather than building new skyscrapers.

[Tung Fat Building] by [Kerry Phelan Design Office via HongKongFP]

31. Garage Screen

The Garage screen in Moscow Russia is a modern take on an Open Cinema. Opened in 2015 the construction is designed to combine the experience of a closed cinema with an open air show. The visitors are still able to engage with the surroundings of the cinema while watching the movie. 

photo source https://whitecube.com/news/news_and_events/Damian_Ortega_at_the_Garage_Museum_of_Contemporary_Art_Moscow

[Museum of Contemporary Art Moscow] by [WhiteCube]
[Garage Screen] by [SYNDICATE]

SYNDICATE architects created a space that was fully adaptable depending on seasons, with the roof being able to open up and the whole construction can be completely disassembled if the materials are needed elsewhere.

[Garage Screen Inside] by [SYNDICATE]

32. Strøget

Known as the oldest and longest pedestrian street in the world Strøget goes through the heart of Copenhagen. While neither claim holds to be true, it was one of the inspirations to pedestrianise urban spaces in New York and other cities. 

Already in 1962 it was decided to remove all traffic from the street and quickly turned the area into the shopping street. 

Architect Jan Gehl studied the pedestrian walk in 1962 and found it to play a part in the policy shift to pedestrians and bicycles which still dominate Copenhagen to this day.

Strøget Before and After, Copenhagen, Denmark
[Strøget Before and After] by [Unkown via Global Designing Cities]

33. San Pablo Community

Transforming Urban Spaces doesn’t just revive old constructions, but also the life around it. In 2016 a group of female designers came into the neighbourhood and turned the sketchy shadows into a  playground that parents let their kids play on.  

Rozana Montriel and Alin V Wallach wanted to address one of the main issues in the country, which are the open spaces between buildings.

With low cost projects creating public spaces they increased the quality of life for many families. 

San Pablo Community Before and After, Mexico City, Mexico
[San Pablo Community Gardens] by [Sandra

34. Slotervaart

A suburban neighbourhood in Amsterdam was facing similar issues as New Mexico.

The ‘garden-city’ apartments in Slotervaart were popular choices for workers in the 60’s but left alone since then the area wasn’t populated enough to grow.

Slotervaart Before and After, Amsterdam, Netherlands
[Slotervaart] by [ISABEL NABUURS]

Several architects took over different parts of the  district and turned the empty spaces into dense and elegant apartments. 

Paul de Ruiter created a school, child care centre, housing and a park out of a single public housing courtyard.

Slotervaart Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands
[Slotervaart] by [Paul de Ruiter]

35. Regnbuepladsen

Denmark promotes the use of bicycle over automobiles and reflects this in their landscaping. Previously a car park, Regnbuepladsen is now a pedestrian area with possibilities to lock your bike. 

After its renovation the square opened with a new name as a tribute to the LGBT+  Community.

Regnbuepladsen Before and After, Copenhagen, Denmark
[Regnbuepladsen] by [Urb-i]

36. Gemini Residence

Bjarke Ingles and his group have played a significant role in the urban development of Copenhagen. 

One of the area’s he’s transformed into a popular destination in summer is Islands Brygge, one of the harbour baths of the city. 

The project was completed in 2003 and holds 5 pools with a capacity of 600 people. 

Near the harbour baths is another notable transformation by MVRDV who turned two former silos into apartment buildings. 

The Gemini Residence has the flats attached to the outside of the silos and a lobby the height of the building to allow the tenants to move up and down. 

The construction took place from 2002 – 2005 and became a part of the modern harbour front in Islands Brygge.

Gemini Residence Before and After, Copenhagen, Denmark
[Gemini Residence] by [Unknown via Skyscrapercity]

37. High Line Park

Another one of New Yorks favourite parks has its roots in another public construction when it’s foundation was built in 1930 as a railway line. 

It connected the warehouses on Manhattans west side until the 70’s when parts of it were demolished to make space for the automobile traffic.In 2003 architects James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro won a competition with their design to turn what was left of the train tracks into an elevated park. 6 years later the High Line Park opened to the public and goes along the New York skyline.

High Line Park Before and After, New York, New York
[High Line Park Before and After] by [Unknown via Bio Diverse]

38. Axel Towers

While Scandinavian design is taking over the world, the local architecture isn’t being left behind.

Architect group Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter has changed the scenery of Copenhagen. A newer addition is found next to one of the oldest constructions in the city Tivoli. 

In 2016 the Axel Towers were completed, and opened several restaurants, offices and a public garden area.

Axel Tower Before and After, Copenhagen, Denmark
[Axel Tower] by [Heidelberg Cement]

39. Palm Islands

Landscape transformations in the United Arab Emirates are known for reaching the sky. The Palm Islands in Dubai show that the constructions have reached the waters as well. 

Nakheel’s construction and property management company build the palm shaped artificial island on the coast of the metropol. The islands were build over 6 years from 2001 – 2007 and took millions of tons of rocks and sand from the Persian Golf. 

The Jumeirah is a community of 50 smaller islands and hosts some of the most luxurious hotels of the city. 

[The Palm] by [Commander Leroy Chiao]

It isn’t the only artificial landmark on the coast. The World is a smaller island near the Palm, while The Universe and Dubai Waterfront were meant to join the landscape but constructions are currently on hold

The Universe, Dubai, UAE
[The Universe] by [Tobias Karlhuber]

40. Skanderberg Square

The Skanderberg Square in Tirana, Albania is one of the most important cultural and historical centre of the city.
Its boulevards connect several embassies and the presidential palace. In 2004 first renovation plans were made to create a more densified city centre but the drastic change in skyline was met with protest by the public.

Between 2008 and 2011 the architect firm 51N4E proposed a different design that would turn the square into a pedestrian only zone. The area isn’t flat but shaped like a 4 sided pyramid with 2.5% slope. 

The renovation completed in 2017 won the European Prize for Public Space in 2018.

Skanderberg Square Before and After, Tirana, Albania
[Skanderberg Square] by [Filip Dujardin]

Interactive Map

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