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The Aura Planning Process

What happens when you engage Burland Aura Planning? Understand how we help create an atmosphere for your building which fully engages its users.

The Aura Discovery Process

The aura of a building depends on the experience of light, sound and air at four key moments – the prospect, the threshold, the welcome and the ‘seat’ – spending time in similar, existing or imagined environments.

During the discovery process, the aim is to identify the feeling people really want as they engage with their immediate environment, then use it to direct the project’s design. You are not trying to impose or predetermine an atmosphere – you are trying to discover it from the preferences and needs of all those involved.

This interdisciplinary design approach means ideas emerge from the ‘middle of the table’ rather than the mind of a single person. Although it is a structured process, it needs to invite exploratory conversations about how places and buildings are experienced.


Who takes part in the discovery process is entirely dependent on the project. A home renovation project may involve all members of a family for example. A hospital or health care building project may involve speaking with nurses, patients, families of patients and building management. The objective is to understand the points of overlap and divergence, to understand priorities and really understand what atmosphere - or aura - needs to be achieved through the design and build process.

For example, the tables below show the results 


The Aura Investment Process

The next step is ensuring these discovered and defined auras direct the project’s design and are realised in the building.

During the planning process, project requirements are better understood and specialist help is acquired. This serves to refine the aura specification, ensuring it is achievable and tailored to the particular project. Even though the specification will evolve, the aura’s principles remain the driving force behind the project’s development.

In this way, places, buildings and interiors emerge with a refined aura based on the continuing input of brief-makers, users and designers, rather than the predictions of a closed design team. Aura is always planned – it is never an afterthought – and it is always the result of consultation and teamwork. The ultimate aim is to create a building with the different aura moments that will satisfy the emotional as well as practical needs of its users.

Existing buildings may need aura refinement as they have a new use or are not performing as desired. The same Aura Planning process used for a new-build can achieve a desired aura when adapting a building.


Aura Planning in Action

If you want a building to satisfy the emotional needs of its users, then get in touch. Our Aura Planning approach is very flexible but we focus on a range of areas:


“We have a terraced house in South London and didn’t like the ‘off-the-shelf’ designs offered by kitchen side return specialists. Aura Planning helped us discover what was important for us. It really opened up the possibilities and we’re delighted with the resulting space.”

Barnaby and Rebecca

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