Design is an evolutionary process that requires commercial acumen, sector expertise, infrastructure knowledge, sustainability skills and strong public engagement.  We believe in a collaborative design approach to ensure a scheme that is robust, deliverable and meets the brief.

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Robust, deliverable and effective

Armed with these guiding principles, our teams follow an iterative design process, collaborating with the principal design consultants and specialists to ensure that the scheme, masterplan, framework or town planning concept meets the requirements of the brief, and creates vibrant and pleasant places where people want to be.

Whether we are designing a new building, restoring an old one or creating a new place, our design approach is based on a comprehensive understanding of local character, unique circumstances and the client’s brief.

Does it work… will it last… does it look good?

We believe that a well-designed building or place combines functionality (does it work?), durability (will it last?) and delight (does it look good?). Successfully balancing these qualities does not have to add expense to a project, and with the right approach, will add value.


There are certain characteristics that most successful buildings and places share. At Assael, we use eight qualities that make successful places as our starting point when we’re thinking about the design of a new building or place.

Character – buildings and places should have their own identity

Continuity and enclosure – public and private spaces should be clearly distinguished

Quality of the public realm – a place should have attractive and successful outdoor areas

Ease of movement – buildings and places should be easy to get to and move through

Legibility – buildings and places should have a clear image and be easy to understand

Adaptability – buildings and places should be able to change easily

Diversity – a place should have variety and choice

Value – getting the components of a scheme right will maximise value 


Successful buildings and places also need to be accessible for everyone. The principles of inclusive design call for buildings and places to be:

Inclusive - so everyone can use them safely, easily and with dignity
Responsive - taking account of what people say they need and want
Flexible - so different people can use them in different ways
Convenient - so everyone can use them without too much effort or separation
Accommodating - for people, regardless of their age, gender, mobility, ethnicity or circumstances
Welcoming - with no disabling barriers that might exclude some people
Realistic - offering more than one solution to help balance everyone’s needs
Understandable - everyone knows where they are and can easily find their destination.


Buildings and places need to be and feel safe and the seven attributes of safer places include:

Access and movement - places with well-defined routes, spaces and entrances
Structure - places structured so that different uses do not cause conflict
Surveillance - all publicly accessible space is overlooked
Ownership - places that promote a sense of ownership, respect and territorial responsibility
Physical protection – buildings and places that include the necessary well-designed security features
Activity - activity appropriate to location, with reduced risk of crime and increased sense of safety
Management and maintenance - to discourage crime in the present and the future.


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