EXCELLENCE is a beginning point
INTEGRITY is at the core of our decision making and actions
EMPOWERMENT with accountability makes better decisions
COLLABORATION leverages the best in everyone
BALANCE gives us fuel to do our best
STEWARDSHIP ensures a future
CARING for each other is what holds us together

Over the years, “collaboration” has become a word we throw around so often that its meaning can get diluted. The last year or two has shown us, however, that authentic collaboration is more than just “teamwork.” Instead of merely dividing the work like in the dreaded group project in high school, when we truly collaborate, we each bring an invaluable set of skills to a project. The combined skills of a purpose-built team are exponentially more effective than those of people working alone or in silos. We see this every day in design, when bringing multiple perspectives to the table helps us to elevate our work through collaborative input.

The past year or two forced us to take a leap into new levels of collaboration, and now that we’re infinitely more comfortable with the digital tools that make collaboration easy across distances, we’re reaping the benefits of seamless collaboration across offices and across the region. Now more than ever, we’re finding that strategic collaboration is helping us win work, helping us accomplish the work, and helping us deliver exceptional results for our clients. Because it’s easier than ever to bring the right knowledge to a project regardless of geography, our boundaries are blurring. We can staff projects with the right mix of deep local knowledge and practice area expertise from around the firm, which allows us to offer our clients the best of in-person service and world-class expertise with maximum efficiency.

Authentic collaboration starts with the project pursuit, and much of our work is rooted in existing relationships. For example, LS3P’s Charleston office has worked with Spandrel Development Partners LLC on several multifamily developments in Charleston. When the company wanted to develop the new Radius Dilworth project, a multifamily property in downtown Charlotte, LS3P was a natural fit to lead the interior design. A blended LS3P design team brings in Charlotte-based designers with unparalleled local experience working with developers to deliver high-end projects, and Charleston-based designers with significant multifamily experience. The work will include a 26-story tower with 250 units, a low-rise tower with 102 units, and a mid-rise tower with 274 units, and the project will expand the firm’s multifamily capabilities in multiple offices while strengthening a valued client relationship and creating a truly “one firm” attitude among team members.

The Baxley, a large high-end multifamily development in Savannah, also involved a cross-office collaboration combining local expertise and project-specific experience. Designers from the Charleston office had recent relevant expertise that informed the project at every stage, while designers from the Savannah office had the local knowledge, relationships, and expertise in navigating codes and permitting processes and served as “boots on the ground” team members for site visits and client meetings. This project also helped us to translate expertise across offices, helping us to strengthen ties in a new market.

Another recent project, the Robert Smalls International Academy in Beaufort, SC, has involved team members from at least five offices and multiple disciplines. The K-8 school honors Robert Smalls, a former slave who became a Civil War hero, Congressman, and educator. The project school’s site is between LS3P’s Charleston and Savannah offices, and the team includes designers from both cities, plus other K-12 experts from Charlotte, Greenville, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach. During the design phase, our team has forged a new level of multidisciplinary collaboration as well, with a construction administrator joining the team early on to offer constructability reviews and gain a deeper understanding of the project for a smooth process in the field. Our Experiential Graphic Design team has also been heavily involved in the design, developing a timeline feature to weave the story of Robert Smalls through the new building to anchor the school in its history.

Knowing that collaboration is a fantastic way to win work, produce the work, and take our work to the next level, we lean on the tools we already have in place to make collaboration seamless. In-person meetings are always great when they’re safe and convenient for all. For teams members located across the region, or for quickly looping someone in on a call to brainstorm, however, our digital tools have become second nature. Zoom, Teams, Miro, and other programs are invaluable for the continuous real-time communication that occurs over the course of a project. Being able to intersperse virtual meetings within the in-person meeting schedule eliminates extraneous travel (and the associated expense and environmental impacts), boosts productivity by minimizing travel time, and allows for easy and spontaneous flow of information.

Whether we’re in person or on digital platforms or a hybrid of the two, successful collaboration is all about relationships, teamwork, and bringing the right people in a the right time- and it’s never been easier to do. It’s surprising how quickly we’ve been able to break out of our geographic constraints to embrace new levels of cross- office collaboration and the innovation that accompanies it. Our relationships are stronger, both within the firm and with our extended network, and our team members are finding new opportunities to learn, develop expertise in different practice areas, and contribute skills where they’re needed most. Collaboration opportunities are a real selling point for potential new hires, and a great way to retain valued staff members looking for new challenges.

Most importantly, the ability to collaborate effectively is elevating our designs by allowing us to adopt the right strategy for each locale and each project. When we can bring the right knowledge to the project, regardless of location, we can harness the power of both our local talent and our regional expertise. The challenges of remote work came with some silver linings that are likely to endure and impact the way we do business in a positive way; using all of the tools at our disposal and balancing in-person and virtual project tools has helped us find a sweet spot and expanded our ability to collaborate across borders.

About Dylan

Upon graduation from Louisiana Tech University in 2006, Associate Principal Dylan Towe joined LS3P as an intern architect.  Accredited as a Construction Document Technologist (CDT) through CSI and a LEED® AP with the GBCI, Dylan is registered in both South Carolina and Georgia. He also holds a current NCARB certificate.

Dylan is well-versed in a variety of project types, both public and private including retail, office, K-12, commercial, and multi-family residential. Additionally, he has experience working on DoD related projects in Missouri and Alabama.  Since joining the firm, he has been a go-to knowledgeable leader in Revit software, and serves as Revit Captain for the Charleston office.