Published March 10, 2023 | Version 1.0
Project deliverable Open

Production networks in the cultural and creative sector: case studies from architectural design


The CICERONE project consists of seven work packages (WPs). This report is part of WP2, which constitutes the empirical backbone of the project. WP2 contains case study research that focuses on networked production in eight cultural and creative industries: 1) architecture, 2) archives (including libraries and cultural heritage), 3) artistic crafts, 4) audio-visual media (film, TV, videogames, multimedia) and radio, 5) design, 6) festivals, as well as performing and visual arts, 7) music and, 8) publishing.  The purpose of the case study research is to understand key linkages and mechanisms within real-life production networks in the cultural and creative sector (CCS) and the relationships of these networks to context-dependent variables.

Drawing on the case study research, the CICERONE project explores a policy framework that may contribute to enhancing policy support for the cultural and creative sectors. Furthermore, the case study research facilitates the identification of gaps in extant sources of quantitative data, suggesting approaches on how these gaps can be plugged. For this reason, WP2 is not just the empirical backbone of CICERONE, it also provides critical inputs for the work in other WPs (most notably WP4 and WP6).

This deliverable (D2.1) reports on the case studies in the architectural design industry. Together with the reports D2.2 to D2.8, it provides strategic snapshots of the rich and variegated tapestry of European production networks in the CCS.

If there is one cultural and creative industry whose products are hard if not impossible to escape, it is architecture. The field comprises, among many other things, houses, schools, libraries, theatres, bridges, streets, and urban outlays – in short, much of the built environment that people experience on a daily basis. The industry is not just characterised by a huge diversity in terms of output, but also large variations in terms of type, cost, and technological and organisational complexity. The demand for architectural designs can come from households (mainly private housing), firms (e.g. offices, shops), or the public sector (e.g. infrastructure, schools, and hospitals). While some clients may prioritise low costs, others may opt for reliability or socio‐cultural or aesthetic values. Related to the variation in products and customers, the architectural practices themselves also display great divergence in size, strategies, values, and goals. However, there are more or less coherent clusters of characteristics of products, market niches, and capabilities and strategies of architectural practices. Thus, types of architectural projects and types of architectural practices are closely intertwined.

For the case study research in this report, the unit of analysis is an architectural project. Although there is a strong correlation between types of projects and types of architectural practices, starting from the projects instead of the practices can be seen as a useful refinement – individual projects are typically easier to map and characterise than the much broader and more complex networks of the whole portfolio of projects of an architectural practice.

The report is composed out of three parts. The first provides an overview of the architectural design industry and details its production network configuration. The second provides a statistical mapping of the industry, displaying not only various data gaps, but also the industry's extreme diversity. The case studies, reported upon in part three, were selected with this fragmentation in mind. Architectural projects were selected which differ in locality, size, and customer type (i.e. a small‐scale project initiated by a private client and large‐scale projects initiated by public clients). In addition, the selected architectural firms differ in terms of size and gender (from a self‐employed female architect to a rapidly growing, male dominated architectural firm and a highly established and institutionalised firm).


D2.1 Production networks in the CCS. Case studies from architectural design.pdf

Additional details


CICERONE – Creative Industries Cultural Economy Production Network 822778
European Commission