Architectural lessons to draw from building In Tempo

Move over Winchester House, In Tempo is well positioned to take over your spot as the favorite story used in Enterprise Architecture. In Tempo’s construction began in 2007 and was initially designed for 20 floors. Today, it is about 94% complete, and has additional 27 floors built on top. Level 21 onwards are, however, only accessible via the stairs. There was no way to extend the elevators upwards. It was said that the architects had since resigned.

There are certainly a lot to learn from In Tempo. For a start, think scalability. As architects, our design must be scalable. It is extremely expensive to include scalability as an afterthought. In the case of In Tempo, the residents from level 21 onwards would be inconvenienced daily. And it would be very difficult to get buyers for those floors. Imagine the horrors of building a software solution that cannot be scaled horizontally nor vertically.

Even if the architects didn’t factor in scalability, there was still an opportunity when the additional 27 floors were being planned. Change management obviously failed. The impact analysis, if any, were not sufficient. Such a change shouldn’t have been approved. Or if it must proceed, the design need to extend to include elevator services for the additional floors.

Would the completed In Tempo pass the fit-for-purpose and fit-for-use tests? Maybe only partially, for those units level 20 and below.

In Tempo is a good modern day example that illustrates the importance of having the architecture (blueprint) well designed.

Sources: The Guardian, Wikipedia
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