HOW WE WORK

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Unlike many problems that have “closed-end”, or discreet and limited solution sets, the design process is “open-ended” with an infinite variety of solutions available. In order to sort through these potential outcomes, we work within an approach that is an ongoing, iterative process of creating and constantly analyzing multiple concepts and ideas to continually refine a particular design so that it is appropriate for all parameters- the context, the site, the budget, the schedule, and most importantly, the client’s goals and aspirations.

When we begin, we will assemble a wide range of information about the site, client’s program and budget goals, and other pertinent information. We prepare multiple concepts during the design process, and use these to analyze, hand-in-hand with the client, what works and what doesn’t. Often we begin the creative phase for larger scale projects that have large groups of stakeholders with a process called a “charette”, which is an intensive, multi-person design effort designed to quickly create potential concepts for subsequent refinement. We create detailed loose bubble diagrams of the site and floor plan that primarily circulation and contextual relationships.

We will add more functional, spatial, and massing information to create loose site and floor plans that begin to communicate “architecture”. Concurrently, we are mindful of the design vocabulary we are working within, or have been requested to work within by the client. Whether we are working within a traditionally based vocabulary, or in a contemporary vernacular, we believe that tradition is a rich trove of inspiration, as is the work of other talented architects, designers, and craftsman. Because a picture is truly worth a thousand words (and at least a few sketches!), we maintain an extensive library (of books, magazines, and images and increasingly utilize the incredible resource the blogging community has become) to assemble and then create collages of images which communicate our design concepts- to tell the story visually, so to speak, in a depth and breadth that can’t be done from drawings alone. We will often assemble story-board “walls” of images that help us refine our random creative thoughts.

At times we will create these image boards in a range of styles for a single project, each representing a particular design vocabulary; at other times we will use images to convey both the essence as well as specific attributes of an idea. When combined with sketches and other techniques, we believe that this process helps our clients reach a thorough understanding of the intended result as they decide whether a particular solution works for them.

Hand-drawn sketching is an extremely valuable and important tool in our creative process. We believe that it is one of the most effective ways to communicate the inherent emotion and character of a design idea. However, it is rapidly becoming a lost art in today’s computer driven architectural environment. The importance we place on this aspect of design is reflected in its’ prominent location elsewhere on our website.

Designing and constructing buildings is a complicated and labor-intensive process, particularly if quality is a primary goal. We use a variety of techniques and technologies to constantly monitor important considerations, including budget, constructability, and suitability, and strongly encourage a working partnership with a contractor to help monitor these areas. We are committed to preparing a thorough and complete set of construction documents that are well coordinated with sub-consultants. Our embrace of BIM (Building Information Modeling) allows us to closely analyze projected energy usage, as well as analyze the integration of various building systems, and resolve conflicts between them. This is a technology increasingly utilized in large complex projects and multi – disciplinary firms, but is still uncommon in smaller firms and projects. We are strong believers in adopting this type of new technology where it can enhance the process and the quality of our service; as an example, the BIM technology allows clients to continuously access three-dimensional computer modeling from their own computers and IPads. It also allows sub-contractors, during the bidding process, to quickly analyze how various systems are integrated and interface within the building envelope, resulting in tighter bids that avoid excessive contingencies for the unknown.

Teamwork is the essential ingredient to successful project design and final result. We maintain allegiance to a small number of construction professionals whose commitment to quality and client service matches our own. We have a proven track record with these companies and individuals, and are confident of their integrity, abilities, and attention to detail. We are continuously working to develop more effective tools throughout the entire design and construction cycle to offer more effective communications and clearly established responsibility, achieve more precise estimating and cost containment, and reach a higher level of coordination and detail resolution to help minimize costly change orders, budget busts, and schedule impacts.

Recently, we have begun offering full Interior Design services to clients on appropriate projects. Our goal is to create a coordinated design statement, and provide the numerous benefits that results from consistent, one source responsibility for all design and documentation. Because we don’t believe that there are arbitrary lines that define different areas of design, we have long taken a strong role in the design of the interiors, the hardscape, and the landscape of a project. Offering Interior Design services is a natural evolution of this belief, and can become a way to offer full-service more efficiently and cost-effectively than a design process that utilizes different professionals. For the majority of projects, we still work with leading Interior Design and Landscape professionals, and welcome the creative energy this teamwork brings.

We believe that our attention to detail, commitment to our client’s goals and priorities, the ability to offer fully integrated services, and the focus on full-cycle sustainability results in buildings that are quietly unique, timeless, and respectful, whether the design vocabulary is traditional and modern.

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SOME OF THE FUN (OLD) STUFF

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