The strategic brief is the document that sets out the general course for the project and outlines the clients main ambitions and key requirements. The document is strategic in the sense that it takes a long-term view of the clients interests and explicitly considers how the building might contribute to the clients core processes. The strategic brief is usually written early on in the project, just after the client has formally decided to pursue the project. This can make the development of the strategic brief somewhat challenging. Much is still unknown and undecided at that stage and the stakeholders may still have diverging aspirations for the project. From that perspective, the strategic brief can be seen as an initial attempt to align the various expectations concerning the project. For the design team, the strategic brief serves as input for their schematic or conceptual design. A conceptual design is not very detailed or definite in its nature, but it should give a clear idea of the buildings volume, its spatial organization and the underlying technological concepts. To develop such a design, the design team needs, at the very least, a reasonably accurate estimate of the size of the project and a description of the main functions that need to be realized in the building. They will also need an understanding of the clients ambitions on topics such as architectural expression, flexibility and sustainability.Developing a strategic brief is a process of exploration, envisioning and decision- making. It usually involves lots of meetings with stakeholders to discuss their ideas and expectations concerning the project. Top decision makers, however, tend to play the most dominant role because they must approve and finance the project. What do they want to achieve with the project? What do they regard as the projects objectives? What are their ambitions concerning architectural quality, sustainability and efficiency? And, are they willing to provide a budget that matches these ambitions?In parallel with discussions on a strategic level, it will be necessary to get a grip on the projects basic facts and figures. What is the expected number of users? Roughly how much space will be needed? What are the main functions that need to be realized? Answering these questions will require an analysis of the current accommodation situation and an insight into future needs. Useful analysis tools are occupancy measurements, scenario analysis and benchmarks with other projects (see Techniques, page 93). In terms of format, the strategic brief should be concise, free of jargon and easy to read because it is targeted at all stakeholders, not just the experts. Topics to be addressed in the strategic brief are:-Background-Objectives-Ambitions -Concept-Scope-Site-Open issues26