i would be happy with either (Picasso or Michaelangelo)... i dont believe Erskine deserves any comparison to either!
If you paid an artist for a painting of a landscape and were given a portrait, then i am sure you would have an issue - asides from the budget element..
I was very clear in my brief to Shawn Byrne as to our requirements and he undertook that task willingly although i believe in the full knowledge that it was not achievable in my budget - that simply put is my main issue. the other working/relationship/communication issues are all secondary.
If they need to, they should (as professional theatre designers) be able to stray from their 'standard' high end/price products to deliver a decent performing theatre within a clients budget. As has been posted on avs numerous times, similar results can be achieved in may different ways and with many different techniques. There are several 'experts' out there who have a different approach or technique to achieving a similar result. None of them are wrong, just see things in a different way. My reason for employing Erskine was very clear - to spend $4k to get the best performance for my budget out of the space. I wasnt going to / didnt question their approach other than when they significantly strayed from my original brief.
My initial conversation with EG should have gone like this:
Me - my budget is 60k (show them my plans and brief of the space), can you design and build something within that budget
EG - uhh, no, 60k is nowhere near enough - if you want something like the design and brief you have shown, expect to spend at least $100k
Me - oh, well thats not going to happen - what can we get for $60k
EG - we propose that you could have a 'x' seat theatre with a, b, c layout and specification within the 60k. if you want more than that, then the costs would be '$'.
on that basis i could have made an informed decision on what i wanted to do and had i contracted them, they would have earned their $4k fee by working with me and my constraints to give me what i wanted. I never asked them for a thx certified room or anything to that level. it's just a family fun room, and i am not an audiophile.