One for All - All for One

Our projects point out that the dialectic opposition of top-down and bottom-up is misleading. Neither is bottom-up the only running concept in the design, nor is top-down the once and for all condemned enemy in the context of a sustainability discourse. There are rather self-organizing systems contained in and part of hierarchical systems or vize versa.

Everybody knows about top-down urban planning, as 90% of all urban planning in history followed and is still following this scheme or method. The reason may lie in the lack of alternative procedures. There was a glimpse of it in the sixties with Non-Plan but no real working solution yet in sight. The KAISERSROT-Parcelling-Project positions itself at the opposite far end of top-down. Without exaggerating could be stated that this project is probably the only existing truely bottom-up planning tool ever implemented. Your search for hierarchy would be in vain, even the streets subordinate themselves to the synthesis of every single parcel's wish of size, position and form. This practical research and its hypothesis have shown that a pure bottom-up approach also bears a lot of problems, as it lacks any controlling systems within its completely horizontal structure. Maybe its resemblance with a real "suburban morphology" is no coincidence but very charming.

Our current point of view would plead for a combination out of both top-down and bottom-up strategies which could be titled as the one-for-all-all-for-one approach. It oszillates within the field of force stretched out by control & laissez faire.

The Perpetual Feedback between Generation and Simulation

Any design is characterized by the constant oszillation between generation of material and its instantaneous evaluation and testing by simulation. We do not do it any different. We only do it a lot faster - and velocity matters in this process. Evaluation of design is most effective by examining variations of it. The more variations, the higher the chance of filtering out the best solution and to cover the whole field of possibilities.

By disecting the design process into its parts and integrating those parts into a flexible system of a computer programme, we are able to create a lot more variations by adjusting parameters and process many more criteria simultaneously than in traditional practice. Additionally, as the example of the Stadion-Peking-Project shows, the software is also able to take over the evaluation-job by itself. Only this kind of advanced use of media within the design process allows for such data intensive one-for-all-all-for-one concepts.

The ongoing scepticism and its resulting prejudice that the computer should or could substitute the designer is absurd. Unfortunately it is not able to take the place of the designer. But it helps to cope with complexity, which is hardest to think. So do it one by one, find out what connections prevail between all the single entities and let it be synchronized by the computer.

'Not only is the city an object which is perceived and perhaps enjoyed by millions of people of widely, diverse class and character, but it is the product of many builders who are constantly modifying the stucture for reasons of their own. While it may be stable in general outlines for some time it is ever changing in detail. Only partial control can be exercised over its growth and form. There is no final result, only a continuous succession of phases'(Kevin Lynch, 1960)