Is it possible to reduce costs and guarantee quality simultaneously in construction? In other words: What cost-effective strategies exist for creating durable, environmentally sustainable buildings – spaces that provide comfort and ensure enjoyment for generations to come? As we embark on the new year, we confront a pressing issue that will accompany us for some time to come. The crisis in the construction industry is intensifying Germany’s housing shortage. The “traffic light” coalition government (SPD, FDP, Greens) pledged 400,000 new homes annually upon taking office two years ago, yet are nowhere close to fulfilling this commitment. There are many reasons why, one of which is glaring: building is too expensive. How can we cut costs while keeping high standards? What potential do simple solutions hold? In this issue, editor Barbara Zettel compiled trailblazing projects that tackle these questions. They attest to how architecture can streamline construction expenses by embracing simplicity – without sacrificing quality. For a better comparison, we included the construction costs per square metre in each case – figures supplied to us by the respective architectural firms. Of course, it is essential to evaluate these costs in relative terms, considering the variations between countries and the intricacies of each building. In Switzerland, for example, construction costs must be assessed differently than in Spain, and they are higher for public buildings than for single-family homes.