Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Gesellschaft von Architekten


1. How have trends or evolutions in the design process, technological advancements, and/or societal issues inspired new thought and solutions for this building type?

The car park in Coesfeld-Lette is mainly used by female employees of the company “Ersting’s family”. The client asked specifically for a building with a friendly and light atmosphere and no dark “fear zones” that are often so typical of parking garages.

We therefore designed a car park with two compact volumes which each contain two sloping levels defining a very clear interior space. Between the two volumes there is a circulation space for cars and a cascading staircase for the pedestrians.

Natural light and ventilation enters into the two volumes through this space “as well as through the wooden facades.

2. What was the most difficult issue(s) or the most unexpected challenge(s) that may have influenced new thought and design parameters in this specific project?

The car park has been our very first project! Being right out university and with hardly any experience, there have been many difficult issues and challenges…

3. Did this project and working on this building type expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?

The project (being the first one) has been and still is very important to us. We have been very fortunate that the client trusted our architectural knowledge. His critical questions along with the openness to accept our answers (when convincing) lead to the building as it was built.

We are often confronted with mistrust in other projects. This mostly resolves in a more complicated building and design process without any positive impact on the quality of the building. Client and architect have to work together to create high quality architecture, each one playing his part at its best. It needs to be a well balanced mixture of competence, trust and clear decisions.

4. In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and new processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?

Liza and Martin have taught and Stephan still is teaching at the University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning. There is an ongoing exchange of knowledge, experience, trends and “architectural spirit” in both directions.

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