Our Design Philosophy

A building must have meaning. A building without meaning risks being forgotten. The process we use to develop a building must be simple and lucid and expressed in every element of the final product. Expressing the logic of the structure is only a small part of this process, but it is a very important part. It's most important that we maintain a clear design thread from the very beginning to the very end of a project. Having a close relationship with the construction team is vital. By establishing a building as part of a network of influences - from client, to building code to site - then that building takes on a greater meaning to everyone.

Every client is different in the same way every micro-climate and site is different. It is important to respond to all these differences, and by doing so create a unique solution. Only when all these unique and unpredictable variables are resolved do we consider the design complete.

Physical and digital model building is a very important part of testing our ideas and it is the first stage of turning a sketch or concept into an actual object. Without physical models there is nothing to touch or hold. It is extraordinarily difficult to imagine making a full size building without being first somewhat familiar with it in the physical world. Digital models and images serve to enhance understanding of finishes, relationship to site, and conveying the concept to the public and the client.

Clues from site
The site features that lie within the property boundaries are the most influential, and the surrounding area has an influence too. It's critical to observe and research history, transportation and mobility for the area where the building is located. We also carefully study and respect natural features such as vegetation and geology. Building codes also affect every site in different and unique ways. We believe these constraints can enhance the creative process since in many cases their limitations result in surprising and dramatic solutions. Building should be considered as a careful 'insertion' into 'place'.

Efficiency & appropriate scale
Our projects do not focus specifically on sustainability or green building, because these two outcomes are achieved in other ways, for example through 'appropriate scale'. This often means that we work with our clients to re-think their check-list of features and focus instead on the useful, the practical and the everyday. If design features of a building fall into dis-use then they become obsolete. So we believe sustainability is full utilization of an entire building. Reducing the footprint of a building also preserves the native habitat around a building, appropriate scale also reduces footings and excess grading. Appropriateness is inherently sustainable, while 'green' is often an intangible concept.

A 'signature' building that embodies a rote design concept can never realize its full potential.
Good design is as little design as possible.
Good design is following an established methodology that ignores style and focuses on preserving unique natural features.
Good design embraces human habitation.
Good design solves zoning constraints in a surprising and even humorous way.
Good design produces buildings that embody their own unique personality.
Lastly, good design is producing a building that is unlike a building that has been designed before, and therefore it is anonymous.