Good design improves people’s lives. We want to help each person, couple, or family express their own unique vision of “home”. In residential design, we pursue three primary areas of investigation: Relationship, Site, and Material.
A home is fundamentally a series of relationships between people, spaces, and the surrounding context. In the beginning, we collaborate with our clients to create a vision of spaces, both public and private and indoor and outdoor. We discuss where our clients might like to entertain versus where they might like to huddle and dream. We talk about what activities can take place indoors and outdoors. Because a residence is always part of a larger context, we work with the surrounding community to ensure that our project responds to neighborhood development issues. Also, we strive for the highest standards of sustainability as we believe that excellence must go hand in hand with environmentally responsible design. In the words of Lewis Mumford, we want “every increment of construction to heal the city.”
Creating a sense of place necessitates a careful reading of the geological, botanical, and cultural site conditions. By allowing these factors to inspire the design, a home becomes deeply rooted in the surrounding environment. Site conditions influence views, layout, mass, and material choices. Just as day-to-day living informs the design from within, topography and orientation shape the design from without.
Good buildings, like the landscape, become richer with the passage of time. Whereas some contemporary buildings are in tatters after ten years, we build our homes to absorb the stories of a hundred years. Architecture that is built to last minimizes the consumption of resources. The use of indigenous material creates a connection between the architecture and the site. Natural material such as stone, concrete, and wood will improve with age. Inspired by the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi, we choose material that refers directly to natural phenomenon. In the treatment of material, we specify both crude and refined finishes. Because we are a design/build firm, we also carefully consider how materials intersect. In so doing, we express the big idea in the fine details.