Sinha Ray, Amitava (2003-12). Adapting the building system integration method to portray architectural organizations. Master's Thesis.
This thesis primarily deals with the adaptation of a theory from one context and its application in another context. In this case the "building systems integration theory" which has been introduced in the context of buildings, in the book Building Systems Integration Handbook (Rush, 1986), is adapted to the context of architectural organizations. The hypothesis of this research is that "building system integration principles can be applied to architectural business organizations." Building system integration theory defines four fundamental systems within buildings and five levels of integration ranging from unified to remote. It further defines an abstract two dimensional diagrammatic language that is referred to as a "ball diagram" for portraying the system integration within a building. Using the building system as an analogue to organizational structure, I have redefined the five levels of integration in the vocabulary of an organization and formulated seven systems in an organization on the basis of my literature review. I surveyed five prominent architectural firms in Texas (three Matrix organizations, and two Studio organizations) and discussed their project handling methods with their principals in charge, with the intention of investigating the degree of contact between personnel, their meeting patterns, and the reporting structure. This has helped me to identify the levels of integration between systems in each organization and eventually represent the working process of these firms using the diagrammatic language introduced in BSIH. The resulting diagrams, which primarily represent the production/ delivery segment of the organizations, reveal organizational structures during the project cycle as well as certain characteristics of a Matrix or Studio. Due to the limited scope of the survey done initially, some shortcomings were noticed in the diagramming method including the absence of any representation of the client and the user in the diagrams. Despite certain shortcomings owing to the scale of the investigation, it is felt that the diagramming method portrayed here is a novel yet effective idea to represent organizations and the levels of integration between systems in an organization that contributes to the production of a cohesive organizational design theory.