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Frei + Saarinen Architekten     
Variantenstudien für Wohnbauten

Unsere Arbeitsweise ( Aus: a+, "44 Young Architects", Barcelona, 2007 )

"Our working method is based on a simultaneous regard to the design process from four different points of view:

Design as science
A scientific approach means to analyze and visualize all determining factors of a specific design task in order to identify the range of possible solutions. Every promising point of departure is discussed without prejudice.
Output: Multiple, clearly distiguishable design strategies that we call “models”. Every model stands for one specific quality, e.g. “Maximum compactness”, “Maximum dispersion”, “As cheap as possible”, “As many terraces as possible”, etc.

Design as dialogue
Architectural design is a collective process. An intense dialogue with our client is our main inspiration, because his/her personal (and sometimes unusual) ideas about architecture force us to leave beaten tracks. There is only one strict rule: No discussion without “models”. When there’s nothing to see, there’s nothing to discuss.
Output: Selection of one or two models that is/are going to be developed further.

Design as translation
Translation means to turn an abstract concept into specific form and vice versa. This process is not linear but highly iterative. Concretion (from idea to form) leads to new design, abstraction (from form back to conceptual scheme) leads to new ideas.
Output: Schematic architectural design, coherence between idea and form.

Design as cultural phenomenon
Architecture has to be reasonable, affordable, and sustainable, but it has to express more than that. As we regard architecture as an independent artform, we have to ask ourselves what it should stand for. Does architecture have to be beautiful? Is being “new” or “innovative” a quality in itself? Is irritating or ugly architecture legitimate? What is architecture and what is not?
Output: Design as a cultural statement"