This book deals with the idea of relational design as we attempt to grasp and practice it in our projects and work. As an architectural awareness as well as a working method it is inspired by the inherent ability of biological systems to sustain complex forms and life.
In daily work, relational design is practiced in iterative experimental, empirical steps and through different forms of collaboration. First, it requires a mutual encounter with an environment’s generative properties, which can help to foster spatial concepts. Next, a primary organization of interrelated, hierarchical design levels is envisioned in each project. These design levels remain stable, while forms and processes constantly change during the design process.
Synergetic relations of building components, information, and processes are intended, both internally and externally, to save energy and to provide multifunctionality. Additionally, they can help to create an evocative atmosphere and interwoven space which appeals to all the senses.
Relational design requires a conceptual framework and temporal reconfiguration of the linear project schedule that allow different minds and fields of knowledge to contribute and intertwine from the beginning. Potential spatial formations usually associated with certain phases before the design process, after realization, or even during the demolition of a building have to be explored and used in the design process.
Finally, relational design is not limited to projects—we have also applied the philosophy to building our company and collaborating in teams over many years. These ideas do not claim to represent a consistent theory of architectural form or processes, but instead share a common emphasis on exploring the possibilities of a given situation. The implementation of relational design is, by its nature, often challenged by contractual and economic constraints, by time pressures or the fixed ideas of the client, but every project and situation offers opportunities for experimentation with these ideas. To find and foster these rare plots is our aim and endeavor as architects.