1. kick-off: what is the ambition?
The first meeting at the start of a project is not only about getting to know the facts and the site, but also to get to know each other and understand the ambitions of the project. At kick-off, our objective is to listen to you, and to understand your expectations and vision.
2. digging in: what are the facts?
Next, we establish a solid project profile by gathering pertinent information about the existing conditions, previous plans and ongoing projects in and near the planning area, as well as set of base spatial, economic, environmental and social data. We review, filter and interpret this dataset, and critically understand it. The output of this phase is a catalog of the planning area in the form of a set of maps which provide a fresh/new/accessible ‘mixed-scanning’ view on the situation. This phase also includes a review of compatible best practices from around the world as well as a review of similar projects which set precedence and serve as good reference.
3. setting the targets: this is the framework
If specific objectives have not yet been defined, the critical analysis we provide plus our client’s ambition allow us to set the target indicators for the project, be it built surface, timeframes or green or social targets. Rationality serves as our compass. We work especially close with our clients in this step.
4. drafting and testing: these are the Options
This is the first ‘structured creativity’ phase, where we combine inspiration and design ideas (brainstorm) and evaluate them against the target criteria that have been set. A period of creativity follows in which we break out of traditional constructs. We emerge with free concepts that we bring back to the reasoning table. A selection of the best results of this phase will be developed in design options and development scenarios, which will be presented to our client.
5. charrette: making decisions together
At key moments it is most efficient to bring everyone together and decide on critical issues in a roundtable session. We present various development scenarios and decide on which direction to go.
The direction of the project and further design development will be set here. These regular meetings provide us with checkpoints for evaluation and feedback from you and assure you that the project is on the right track.
6. structured creativity: developing the design
This is the main design development phase. The selected scenario will be developed further by our design team. Here, we investigate the interrelation of the project with the larger and smaller scale. The cross-disciplinary expertise of our team contributes to this critical assessment, especially when incorporating environmental, social and economic factors into design decisions.
7. feedback loop: relentless refinement
We know our limits; if we cannot do something, we have the right people to support us: our network partners. To make sure your project gets the greatest expertise, we ask for feedback and input from our network to refine the project. If something doesn’t work, we change it. We have no reservations about killing our darlings. If desired, further communication and fine-tuning is done with our client.
8. complete package: outputs that are ready to use
The result of this process is a comprehensive package that is thought-through and tested – what we call practical results. Our clients will receive solutions and designs that are embedded in a clear narrative and include a coherent strategy and defined next steps towards implementation.
9. participation and capacity-building: encouraging buy-in
If the process calls for it, we engage in community participation. We gather perspective and input from the people who know best the situation best and share and leave knowledge behind.