In September 2018, A&F adopted a new management system based on the update of ISO9001 and ISO14006. These include the drafting of this guide on architectural policy in order to guarantee the proper application of the policy principles set out in the system.
The management system is set in order to ensure that architectural quality and the specific nature of architectural service are taken into consideration in all A&F designs, and to encourage innovation and experimentation in sustainable development in architecture, urban planning and landscaping. Moreover, to ensure technical quality and compliance with standards in every building or public space designed by A&F.
Architectural policy is based on the concept of architectural quality and more particularly on the architectural quality of each building.
Despite the complexity of this concept and the problem of defining it because of its highly subjective nature, it is possible to identify a series of fundamental elements which are set out in this document and must be taken into account throughout the life cycle of a building.
It is worthwhile noting in particular the close interdependence of these elements and their evolving nature. These elements must be taken into account at the same time as the “best practices” referred to below. The tools for evaluating these fundamental elements will be established in each individual case, for instance when preparing and running the design and construction of an architecture, urban or landscape project.
THE TEN REFERENCE ELEMENTS
1. Urban integration
Any architectural action must be integrated into the urban environment in which it is situated in a harmonious and coherent way.
Particular care must be taken to ensure an appropriate urban mix between office, residential, commercial or public facilities, not to mention the possibility of a public space which facilitates cultural and social integration.
2. Accessibility and mobility
To fit in with the policy which is aimed at promoting and encouraging environmentally-friendly modes of transport (walking, cycling and public transport), the buildings must be quickly and easily accessible by public transport and they must be accessible and usable by persons with reduced mobility, based on the “design for all” concept.
3. Respect for the environment and energy efficiency
Key objectives include respect for the environment and reducing energy consumption.
Efforts in this domain include in particular gradually extending the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) to all A&F architectural designs.
In particular, all designs must comply with the most stringent energy efficiency parameters, for instance:
• each building must be developed in line with a global energy concept;
• polluting emissions must be limited;
• the use of renewable energy sources must be encouraged.
A&F will also promote the following environment-friendly measures:
• the use of materials with a low environmental impact during their production, implementation and recycling phases (life cycle);
• design which takes account of sustainable/environmentally-friendly use of the building (waste management, water saving, etc.).
Special attention will be paid to the proposed orientation of a building and its façades in order to reduce energy expenditure, mindful of the urban context in which it is located.
To ensure that implementation of these principles is properly evaluated, A&F could make use of the most advanced methods for evaluating the environmental performance of buildings.
4. Quality of construction and well-being
A&F attaches particular importance to the quality of construction of buildings and to the actual way in which construction is carried out.
Buildings should be designed and built in line with the rules and standards in force in Europe, in particular, at the moment, the Directive on construction products (Council Directive 89/106/EEC of 21 December 1988) and the Eurocodes https:/eurocodes.jrc.ec.europa.eu/
The choice of materials and the technical solutions applied (especially for façades) are particularly important because they affect the maintenance, sustainability and ageing speed of buildings.
The architectural concept, the quality of the air, the acoustics, the brightness, etc. must all contribute to ensuring the health and well-being of the building occupants.
In addition to developing an identity and image, architectural design must focus in particular on ensuring user-friendliness and a “feeling of belonging”.
With regard to the various aspects linked to architecture (technologies, materials, functionality, and layout) and urban integration, A&F will make every effort to ensure innovation, in particular to obtain significant energy savings and ensure respect for the environment.
6. Clarity of purpose and comprehensibility of buildings
The distribution of volumes must be straightforward and there must be a balanced building environment in order to ensure that buildings are easy to use and readily-understood by both occupants and visitors.
7. Aesthetic aspect and image
The aesthetic element is the most difficult to evaluate because of its highly subjective nature.
Yet there is always a case for taking into account the aesthetic value of a building and its contribution to the well-being of the various beneficiaries, mindful of the different functional requirements. Aesthetic value cannot be judged intrinsically but must be looked at in relation to the building’s context.
A&F considers that, in any case, it is important that a building’s appearance should reveal its role within its urban environment. It should project an image and display certain values.
8. Functionality, modularity and flexibility
A&F buildings must be functional, modular and flexible so that they are as adaptable as possible.
A&F is aiming for an architectural approach which will result in an overall reduction in investment, operating and maintenance costs and a limitation of present and future expenses.
The architectural quality of a building must be consistent with medium and long- term investment which is sustainable and defendable since it is coming out of the client’s budget.
10. Cohesion: a common thread
The establishment of a symbolic common thread linking all the buildings and urban projects designed by A&F will make A&F architecture more visible and recognizable in the city.