Lean Construction and Lean Architecture

Can Lean principles be applied to Architecture? To architects? Or are they only for Construction?
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I was doing some research on Lean principles applied to Architecture and found some interesting articles I thought I'd share. But first, and for those who don't know anything about "Lean", I'll do a very brief introduction.

The term "Lean" applied to industry comes from the methodology applied by Toyota in their manufacturing to eliminate what is commonly known as "waste". Related to Lean, waste means anything that doesn't bring value to the end customer. I think the wiki article on Lean manufacturing is good to get an insight of the Lean principles, so I will not extent myself much more on the topic.

Since the beginning of the 1990s, some pioneers (mainly Koskela, Ballard and Howell) started to push for the implementation of the principles applied in Lean Manufacturing to the construction industry. This is now referred as Lean Construction, and to summarize in one sentence, it tries to improve the construction industry by eliminating anything in the process of construction that doesn't bring value to the project.

Lately, I was doing some research on how this Lean Principles can be applied to the everyday practice of architectural firms, and to architects in general. I came across this website called Lean Architecture. They have a couple of the articles there available that I found quite interesting, so I thought I'd share them here. Then I thought I needed a bit of an Introduction, and so I ended up with this relatively long post. So hope you find it interesting.

Lean principles can be important to optimize the way things are done in the AEC industry, will dig into them further on later posts, this was just a first intro on the topic. What is your opinion on Lean? Did you know about it? Do you think the principles are useful? Do you think they are too theoretical?


  1. hello, I've also been to the meeting about Lean Construction in Valencia, and enjoyed a lot.
    I was looking for some information about lean architecture, because of my degree, and I came across this post, and that web you mentioned.

    Thank you!

  2. Hola Francisca!
    I don't think we met. Add me on linkedIn so we can start buiding a network of professionals interested in the topic in Spain.
    Un abrazo!

  3. Hello! I also attended the Lean Construction meeting in Valencia and as a Landscape Architect I am interested in Lean Architecture and in finding people with the same concerns. I have allowed myself to add you on Linkedin.

    I hope we can discuss and develop this topic further.

    Un abrazo!


  4. Interesting article. Anyone that has read this will probably like the artile I posted entitled: Learning Lean Thinking in the Construction Contracting Business

    Angela West


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