Architecture is a reflection of the unique conditions of each project.
The landscape and climate shape the design, of course, but there's more. The special needs and personality of the client also influence what we build. Our process is designed to engage you and pull creative solutions out of you. Some clients have said it feels like "therapy," others call it a "creativity exercise." In reality, it is our way of finding the perfect solution to a home, office, or project that exceeds your expectations.
The result produces unique and original forms that reflect the personality and needs of the client that also happen to be environmentally friendly. Through this process we feel our clients are "designing their autobiography." There should be as many types of styles of Architecture as there are individuals.
Designing a building is a process that moves from the general to the specific, evolving more detail as the design unfolds. Our design process requires a commitment of time from you in order to succeed. Our experience is that some clients know exactly what they want and we can very quickly zero in on a design. On the other hand some clients are not quite sure what they want their project to be and they subsequently use the design process as a tool to explore many alternatives.
In our initial meetings, we will go through the requirements of the project completely, from functions to budget concerns. Through our extensive interview process, Eric leads you through a series of exercises to uncover the problems we need to address. You are an integral piece of this process as you are the the true designers of your building.
Our approach is to engage the client in a process to develop a design specifically and ideally suited to your needs and preferences. The purpose of this phase is to establish the general direction and scope of the design for the project.
We prefer to expose you to initial ideas and schemes with quick sketches and multiple options. This allows you to feel free to accept or reject a particular direction before we produce more "expensive" drawings. We will meet with you regularly during this phase to review the initial schematics and subsequent schematic drawings. In our experience we have found we arrive at the solution within 2 or 3 schemes.
Using the approved Schematic Design as a basis, we will proceed to develop the design for your project in great detail. We will select all materials and finishes and develop detailed designs for the entire project down to the doorbell and color of the door hinges.
At this stage, we help you interview and select a General Contractor and work side-by-side with them to make sure the project is within your budget. We don't want to produce a full set of permit drawings only to find the project is too expensive.
The Construction Drawings will describe the construction of the project completely, without ambiguity. These drawings will be used to acquire a building permit, obtain final contractors pricing and bids, and to construct the project. To ensure a quality of construction and accurate bid, these drawings will be highly developed and detailed.
As we tell our clients, the drawings look the same, they just have much more information and detail on them.
Once the construction has begun we will observe the work for quality control and protection of your interests. In addition, we will represent you in working with your contractor to process paperwork and represent your interests.
Often considered the "fun" part of the design process, finishes should provide beauty, durability and protection. In addition, finishes should be healthy and from responsible sources. Often that is not the case. Our process is to only show you green and healthy materials. Why present known cancer causing, chemically laden products at all?
Using what we call the "substitution game" we select smarter, healthier and better materials. Best of all, we've had extensive experience using these materials so we can cut down on any surprises.
For every material that goes into the project, we ask the following questions:
You may not always like the answers you get from these questions, but this process lets us find better, smarter alternatives.
Buildings are the largest consumers of the worlds energy and resources. By selecting smarter systems, we can cut the energy and water use in your building in half. If we work hard, we can even get it down to zero. We'll calculate the payback on these systems for you so you can make an informed decision.
Our approach to green building begins with asking, "What is free?"
By looking at the services that Nature provides for free:
...we approach the design in a way that cuts operating costs and connects us back to Nature.
Most buildings are built out of "little sticks of wood." Though popular, this method is not very energy efficient, strong or waterproof, and we have to go to great lengths to make it habitable. Nature doesn't build from little sticks of wood. Rather, Nature uses local, natural and renewable materials.
Luckily, there are a number of alternative building methods that are smarter, faster and stronger that we've been using for years. Plus, they're incredibly energy efficient and come from renewable materials. We even can suggest contractors who have experience building with these methods. Given how commonplace wood framing is, many clients and contractors are reluctant to try these methods. So we often train the contractors during the construction.
Every day, the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, yet most buildings ignore this. Using a combination of modern and ancient tools, we orient the building on its' site to maximize warming sunlight, cooling breezes and views.
Rooms and functions are placed around the site based on their function. This ensures you can eat breakfast with the morning light, enjoy the sunset with dinner and not have glare on your computer screens. Smarter site planning creates better and more efficient buildings.
You can tap into our expertise right now. Whether you need full architectural services or just a couple of hours of advice, we're here to help. Schedule a consultation right now.
For nearly two decades, we've been designing deep green, sustainable projects around the country. Take a look at our recent work.