If our main activity remains the design of buildings, free spaces and urban fabrics, our understanding of our discipline goes far beyond. We are convinced that we cannot operate as space producers without approaching the social, ecological and technological challenges of our time. From the financialization of the real estate to the housing question, from the climate change to migration, from demographic ageing to new desires of younger generations: architecture and urbanism as a critical production can substantially contribute to the transition of our built and unbuilt environment towards a more livable world. That’s why we continuously debate those questions within the public sphere in the framework of exhibitions, publications, conferences and all kinds of public events.
In the beginning of every project, we spark a deep interdisciplinary research of the context in which the project will be enrooted. Blurring the limits of our discipline by analyzing aspects of political economy, ecology or sociology allows us to better apprehend the site, the programme, the needs of the people and the environment. Parallel to these transdisciplinary studies our office explores diverse fields of the architectonic culture: the relationship between materials, structure and space, and between architecture and topography. Deep research is a necessity but not a guarantee for virtuosity, sensuality, and atmosphere.
At the territorial scale, we seek to establish new dialogues between fields that have been (and still are) constantly opposed: the urban and the natural, the domestic and the labor sphere, the individual and its community. Our territorial vision is that of a built environment overwhelmed by rough and productive nature; where people live and work together in a common environment; where the individual keeps its individuality but shares more with the community; where energy, resources, land and space are considered a common good. Architecture should go beyond the paradox of pragmaticism and exuberance which has been dominating the recent production of space.
Working constantly on a vision for our future also implies that while we make up once again reflexive images and critical narratives alternative to neoliberal capitalism, we also tackle early on the process of production: the studio consults socially and ecologically responsible public and private developers in the definition and the negotiation of the brief of a project as soon as possible. You only get the right answer if you ask the right question.
The main ambition of our studio is to develop projects not on the criterion of the quantity but of the quality in a profession which is more and more subject to economic constraints, an explosion of norms and regulations, and rapidly changing technologies. That’s why Studio Hertweck is only committed to projects of which we are entirely convinced, independent of its location, size and budget. We desire clients who, in the framework of their possibilities, also have a social and ecological ambition beyond the economy of the project.
For many years, our studio has set up an international network of outstanding experts in various fields – from landscape design to structural engineering, from energy and resource strategies to sustainable transport systems – who regularly come together for innovative designs and the realization of various projects, from the scale of the object, to the neighborhood, and to the territorial strategy.