Architecture is a research-based activity.
It is impossible to design an effective building without a deep and subtle understanding of both the present circumstances and the history of project site, program, and building type. The research required to understand these issues takes place first and foremost at the site and in dialog with the client, but also in libraries, archives and in our office. Research is not an activity preceding design, but rather one that is integral with it.
Architecture is about collaboration and communication.
The best buildings are almost always the result of a successful collaboration between clients, architects, and other consultants. Once the architect’s work is finished the clients are left alone with a building, and only if they have participated actively in its making will it be the right building, gracefully supporting its intended use over time. Good communication between clients and architects are prerequisites for successful collaboration. Communication begins with words, followed by drawings, models of all types and sizes, and occasionally some carefully chosen full-scale mockups of critical elements of the design. We endeavor to create an ongoing dialogue during which our clients and we understand each other and the developing design better and better as the process matures. The aim is for clients to know and understand a project intimately, before it is built, so as to allow good decisions and refinements to be made while it is still practical.
Architecture is about place and site.
Rarely can a building be considered autonomous. Whether situated among pre-existing structures or on a raw piece of land, each building inevitably is connected to and is a renovation of its site. The relationship between building, landscape and the site establish the parameters under which a place is made, experienced and understood.
At its best, architecture exists in a realm where it is impossible to find or define boundaries between landscape and building. The two are integrally and inseparably linked.
Architecture is about and for the long term.
The creation of buildings takes enormous amounts of energy, time and money and causes major disruptions of the lives of individuals and institutions. It is consequently of importance to construct buildings well, so they last and function at a high level for as long as possible, aging gracefully. In this era of ever increasing ephemerality and media saturated image consciousness, the ideas that inform the design and execution must be developed with care and skill to assure the project’s validity and relevance for many years to come.
Architecture is about construction and materiality.
Good, well informed design decisions must be imbedded in a deep and sophisticated knowledge of construction and materials. Otherwise a successful piece of architecture cannot be made. Construction and materials not only play an enormous role in the long term durability of building, they affect such things as the sound, touch, texture, weight, light, feel and indeed the character of a piece of architecture.