Framework for Design Excellence: Design for Integration

Good design elevates any project, no matter how small, with a thoughtful process that delivers both beauty and function in balance. It is the element that binds all the principles together with a big idea.

  • What is the concept or purpose behind this project, and how will the priorities within the nine other principles inform the unique approach to this project?
  • How will the project engage the senses and connect people to place?
  • What makes this a project that people will fight to preserve?
  • What design strategies can provide multiple benefits across the triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental value?

Focus topics

  • central design and performance concept
  • connections with place, climate, culture, and people
  • beauty and delight (multisensory!)
  • connecting with the other nine principles
  • integrated design process

If you can do only one (or a few) thing(s):

  • Design a building to lift the spirits and delight the senses.
  • Design for the engagement of natural and cultural environments.
  • Use an integrated design process that respects and values multiple viewpoints.
  • Map, identify, and engage diverse project stakeholders throughout the integrated design process.

Additional information

This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published and distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.

Image credits

Exterior photo in dusk of the library with gray cladding and wood paneling with backlighting the word library.

David Wakeley


Casey Dunn

The Edith Green – Wendell Wyatt Federal Building

Jeremy Bittermann

New Orleans BioInnovation Center

Timothy Hursley