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
Behnisch Architekten provides standard and additional Architectural Services according to several international regulations. We are members of the Architektenkammer and BDA in Germany, the SIA in Switzerland, AIA and NCARB (USA), RIBA (GB), and can deliver our services according to these standards as well as to French and Italian regulations. We are licensed Architects in the above mentioned countries. When working abroad, we usually prefer English as project language, but are also able to deliver our projects in the French language.
Behnisch Architekten provides Urban Design, Public Realm Design and Campus Design either in-house or together with partners, depending on the location and type of project.
The analysis of client requirements is a potentially complex issue. However, providing assistance to our clients in choosing a site; selecting an appropriate program; testing local conditions; establishing relevant financial criteria; investigating procurement options; identifying the need for specialists; and undertaking preliminary discussions with local authorities, can result in a highly refined design brief, providing a reliable basis for future project development.
Briefing / Programming
The success of any project is dependent upon well defined project goals. Our practice is experienced in formulating detailed briefing documents through attentive analysis of client objectives and regulations. Programming should reflect the inherent organizational demands and should promote efficiency through the optimization of layouts, quality of working/living environment, and other similar aspects. All specific programmatic requirements should be clearly identified together with their respective standards and operational /working processes, and necessary levels of flexibility.
Space / Layout Planning
A successful project requires thoughtful space planning and organization. From leading discussions with user groups to making detailed observations and analysis of user activities, we believe that a careful study of behavioral and organizational patterns is essential. Behnisch Architekten is familiar in working with high profile institutions, and in responding to evolving organizational and operational management ideas. Through extensive consultation, tools such as functional/operational diagrams are developed into layouts tailored to suit each client’s particular demands.
Industrial and Furniture Design
Behnisch Architekten has worked with several industrial partners on the design of lamps and lighting objects, on chairs, office desks, meeting tables as well as tableware and other everyday objects. Mostly motivated to design these objects for one of our projects or clients, we occasionally have designs also on the request of our industrial partners.
Given our experience in managing large, international design teams on complex projects, we are increasingly asked to provide our clients with extended advisory services, arranging for the appointment of consultants, and providing a single point of contact for the coordination of planning, programming, design, scheduling, costing and supervision of the project.
Traditional practice in Germany requires architects to undertake full cost consultancy services. Evolving databases, benchmarking and excellent contacts with a broad range of contracting companies ensure that the cost control mechanisms we use are constantly reviewed in light of industry developments. If so required, this valuable experience affords us to perform such a task on all our projects bringing added value and cost awareness throughout the design process.
Some of our clients value the advantages of a single contractual partner. As general planners we are in a natural position, at the head of the design team, to ensure that there is a fully integrated response to the unique demands of the project at hand. This is a role we have successfully performed on both sides of the Atlantic. Over 25 years of building experience ensures that the appropriate scope of services is offered and the contracts of the assembled consultants/advisors are well defined and managed. We have developed a group of preferred consultants who continue to support us in Europe and North America. As general planners we can provide the services to our clients, either through our own resources or with engineering partners we are fortunate to have a strong standing relationship with.
Building Information Modeling BIM
Behnisch Architekten is experienced in utilizing BIM Modeling software platforms. The use of REVIT software in the planning process maximizes the benefits of Building Information Modeling and Integrated Project Delivery in the design and construction process. As a result, we have achieved significant improvement in our ability to coordinate with our sub-consulting teams, assist our internal communications and improve our capacity to rapidly produce in-house visualizations of all aspects of the project geometry and systems integration.
Photos: Behnisch Architekten, David Matthiessen (5)