We, as architects, are driven by the belief that our surroundings directly influence the quality of our lives, whether in the work place, at home or in the public spaces in between. This emphasis on the social dimension is fundamental to our design philosophy, which takes as its starting point the acknowledgement that architecture is generated by the needs of people, needs that may be spiritual as well as being material.
Not only buildings but the quality of the urban environment affects our well-being. This concern for the physical context has produced a diverse portfolio of projects which are united by their sensitivity to the culture and climate of place, and by their desire to bring a new quality of life to their users and the context they inhabit.
Each of our projects is the outcome of a demanding series of selection processes and each is developed along important contemporary political and social parameters. It is an “Iterative Process” rather than linear. We work to no preordained formula, and deliberately do not repeat old projects in new contexts, but instead respond uniquely to the specific demands of project and place. The result is often a building or structure which becomes, over time, a familiar and symbolic landmark - emblematic of the place and respecting the ‘genius loci’. Such projects herald a degree of innovation - sometimes social, sometimes technological, often formal - and are particularly successful when these occur together.
We follow a design process that involves the clients in the development of architecture. In our projects we work closely with the representatives of the client body and respective user groups. The development of the design is presented on a regular basis not only to the clients, but also to the future inhabitants of the building. This process improves and enriches the design whilst importantly preparing the future occupants for their new home.
As architects we are asked to resolve an ever-increasing number of concerns and aspects, which are required to be taken into account in the development and realisation of an idea. As the number of consultants increases - be they from the traditional planning disciplines or not - the role of the architect becomes ever more demanding. We consider it our responsibility as leaders of the Design Team to ensure that all parties involved in the complex task of building are duly heard and given the opportunity to contribute, also ensuring that social and human aspects are paid due consideration.
Photos: Mark Ostrow (1), David Matthiessen (3, 5), Behnisch Architekten