Sustainable concepts and an environmentally friendly construction take into consideration that human society is in an unprecedented fast-moving transformation process and that familiar resources needed for construction are not infinitely available.
We, as architects and planners, are therefore obliged to take on this global challenge and develop new, universal as well as individual, approaches since we have a decisive influence on the worldwide activities in construction.
The consideration of today’s and future shifting social requirements are, apart from the careful deployment of building material and a high awareness in the use of energy, therefore important criteria in our design process.
To this end relevant thoughts on the lifecycle of a building are vital. Usually one divides the lifecycle, the lifespan of a building as follows:
Design phase, building phase, utilisation and operational phase, upkeep and modernising phase, conversion and continued utilisation phase, demolition and reutilisation and recycling.
We are convinced that the greatest possible effectiveness in the sense of sustainability is only obtainable by integral planning in which disparate aspects and sound perception, i.e. from sociology, architecture, structural engineering, building physics and building automation are simultaneously applied to a building.
Amongst others, this has to do with answers to questions in connection with the change in population demographics as well as the worldwide growth in population and in the environmentally friendly harmonious setting of buildings in their surroundings, the economic utilisation of building cubature, the choice of ecological materials and building components, the optimal support structure using the respective environmentally friendliest building materials, in a balanced energy footprint of a building, in innovative, resource-saving energy concepts and in the deployment of leading-edge building automation.
For example, through decades of working on projects, we have gained ourselves an excellent reputation in the area of construction within existing objects. This, not least because we, entering into a well-advanced building lifecycle, have already been working accordingly, long before the discussion on sustainability began.
Refurbishment and Upgrading have, for us, always meant utilising existing qualities as well as appreciating traditional construction and engineering techniques in historical buildings and their builders.
This includes, amongst others, the structural engineering use and integration of existing structures into new building concepts. First and foremost, we take great care in dealing with the old building structure.
In practice this means recognising and preserving historically valuable elements of the structure. The design methods we use include careful examination of and close-to-reality calculations on the existing structure in order to gauge reserves or deficits in load capacity. The fundamental approach and guiding principle of our design is to always avoid or minimise any structural strengthening.
Summing up we can say that with the requirements for a sustainable environment forever new and innovative ideas in design and construction have to be forthcoming. We find ourselves on an ongoing process of optimisation.
Sustainability will create new habitats and interconnections in which social integration can take place. In today’s turmoil and awakenings it is exactly this aspect of construction that has a high priority.
Human beings, the regard of their evolution with all its achievements, the safeguarding of their future as well as the protection of their surroundings on an Earth worth living must equally be a measure of and an incentive for all ventures in respect to sustainability.