Since its inception in 1981 as Kirshenblatt Korman Architects, Kirkor has grown into a dynamic studio of 120 architectural and design professionals based in Toronto and Calgary. Kirkor is now one of the pre-eminent development architecture firms in Canada, specializing in residential typologies, master planning, and iconic tall and mid-rise structures – and successfully delivering over $2 billion worth of development construction in the past five years.
The complexity of construction projects
Architecture and construction – creating buildings for people to live and work in – is as much about the physical aspects of design and technology, as it is about working with people. Ultimately, it is an architect's priority to fulfil the requirements of their client. Bringing a project to life requires the architect to bring the many people involved together behind a unifying vision. Interviewed for the firm’s 40th anniversary , Carlos Antunes, Partner at Kirkor, describes this as:
“a constant process of trying to assess what people are saying, what they need, how it affects the project, the firm, you personally and always trying to be on top of it.”
In a world where people frequently work remotely, effective communication and managing the different agendas in a complex building project are all the more challenging. In practice, teams deal with a flood of virtual meetings conducted on different platforms, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Frequently, those meetings involve detailed discussions: Jeremy McMartin, Kirkor’s Director of Digital Practice summarizes that
“when it comes to construction and buildings and architecture, there are just so many complexities.”
As a result, it is essential that architects demonstrate an understanding of what they are asked to do. Documenting and following up with clients after meetings to create a record of key decisions is critical to ensuring that large and complex projects are completed on time and within budget. On the other hand, taking high-quality notes in meetings is a time consuming task that distracts from engaging in the conversation and focusing on the client. Often, notes are spread across disparate tools, sometimes in physical notebooks, are incomplete, or inconsistent. Realising the progress and potential of artificial intelligence, Kirkor turned to Cogram to automate client documentation.
Empowering the team with AI, to ensure client success
Cogram seamlessly integrates with meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, to automatically summarise and minute important details, discussions, and key meeting outcomes. In doing so, Cogram emphasises the creation of high-quality, actionable write-ups – not audio or video recordings or meeting transcripts, that are slow and cumbersome to review.
Like many companies working with external partners, Kirkor staff run meetings through more than one platform (typically Zoom and Microsoft Teams), and thus benefit from Cogram’s cross-platform support – ensuring meetings are documented irrespective of where those take place. After meetings, Cogram automatically shares draft notes, summaries, and a list of potential action items that can be quickly edited in a user interface that is designed to make it easy to review and edit information.
Ultimately, Cogram thus is a platform that enables better service to clients – a tool that, in Jeremy’s words
“relinquishe[s] the burden of taking notes while paying attention to – in the most important case – what a client is asking for. It really allows us to focus on the client’s perspective and then be able to recall that. I think that above all we believe that the service we provide [to our clients] is the best possible service and this is a tool that's really enabling us to continue to deliver that service.”
Kirkor’s relentless focus on listening to clients and ensuring their success shows in their long-term relationships, with many clients returning time and time again, and in turn referring new partnerships. At Cogram, we’re excited to support the work of iconic organisations such as Kirkor by using artificial intelligence to augment human creativity and collaboration.