Every design process begins with listening, observation, and reflection. As architects we seek to understand the rhythm of the day, week, and month. We start with the people who inhabit or use that space and ask: What is the spirit and the soul of the site? What makes this place special? What activities happen, or could happen here? What intrinsic opportunities and threats are present? What can be added or removed to yield the highest potential?
We believe a community-based design process should be democratic, fun, engaging and empowering. For public projects, a strong core committee will be important for smooth decision making and ensuring the project’s success as the design is developed. However, a transparent design process inclusive of the broader community of all ages and roles will provide the best chance for long-term success and allow the users to continue to thrive long into the future. The core concepts of a successful community-based design process are: respect for all involved (we are all busy and sacrificing our time to participate), all viewpoints have merit (every idea and criticism is based upon some merit – what is it?), be transparent (key decisions are made as a community), communicate clearly and build consensus (the design solution should evolve organically and embody what is best for the community in the near and long-term).
We run community meetings as design workshops and break down barriers to participation by providing simple tools, modeling pieces, colored pens, and props that facilitate the propagation of ideas. Of course, children should always be at the table, as they approach the project with a reckless abandon and an unfettered honesty that brings energy and creativity to everyone involved. With the community’s vision in our pocket, we develop alternatives addressing budget-conscious construction, local planning and building codes, neighborhood context, and state regulatory agency requirements. As the design is developed, more advanced study models are built to allow people of all ages to understand the design concepts. A model for this purpose conveys the spaces well, but is not so precious that it becomes exquisite and inflexible – rather it invites conversation and manipulation.
Our firm’s community design process is built on our experience and insight into the way places influence wellbeing, work, and lifestyle, as well as our technical understanding and experience of interconnected systems – natural and manmade. We believe the process of generating a design should bring the community together, and provide an opportunity to reflect on the now, consider the new, and imagine the next. Delivering a high-quality building is hard work, but it should be fun and offer an inspirational learning experience for everyone involved.
Your home is your place. The opportunity to custom design and tailor it to your match your lifestyle, your values, and resources is one that we take on with honor and respect. We work closely with our residential and private clients to understand their needs and transform their desires into productive, healthy, and delightful spaces for living. Beyond the initial ideas generation phase and multiple drawing phases, we take care of the permitting process, we guide you in your choice to hire a contractor (we have an extensive list of local contractors who we regularly work with) and we will assist you and your contractor throughout the construction phase. We will ensure the building that is built matches your taste, your quality, and your budget. Many of our private clients are repeat clients, whether it is to embark on a new project, or to make an adjustment to the home that was built in response to changing conditions we are honored to be your architect. If you are interested in engaging in your project, please give our office a call so we can set up a site meeting, review your goals, and get started!