Design Philosophy & Methodology
Our most successful master plans and buildings result from a creative design process that promotes exploration and discovery, and from collaborative relationships with an open exchange of ideas. We strive for each building to be reflective of our clients’ priorities and exhibit a respect for each site’s unique context. Ultimately, our goal is the creation of memorable places which are artful, sustainable, authentic and crafted to endure such that their value builds over time.
We are particularly active, knowledgeable and focused on planning and building projects in our region. Texas’ hot climate and bright sunlight have a significant influence on the form, materials and details of our buildings. Context is used to inform a building’s orientation, massing, scale and color. We seek to avoid a superficial nostalgia which attempts to evoke another locale or another era.
In our most successful places, the finished product doesn’t selfishly express our design philosophy, or result in a recognizable GFF style, but rather, the designs express our clients’ priorities and values. This is because our design work is underpinned by a methodology which stresses asking probing questions and listening carefully to our clients’ goals, objectives, needs and wants. We call this part of the design process “Project Definition.” It is a workshop-based process in which we explore precedents, benchmarks and standards while collecting quantitative data resulting in a very useful program to inspire the design.
A second key element of GFF’s design methodology is “Alternatives Analysis.” We never bring a single anointed design solution early in the process, but rather allow several alternative concepts to be presented, together with an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each. These are ranked and presented to our client with a recommendation. Inevitably, the concept which moves forward has characteristics drawn from several of the alternatives, and the building is better off for it.