Active Listening

We consider design as a form of creative engagement that begins with listening. Having a genuine understanding of the needs and aspirations of the people who will own and use a building focuses our creative energy on design strategies that will be relevant and impactful. At the beginning of a project, we immerse ourselves in a dialogue with clients and stakeholders that continues for the duration of the project. We ask probing questions, we analyze, and we empathize.


Define Problems First

We seek architecture that is a timeless and authentic response to client needs, so we intentionally resist designs that are merely fashionable. At the beginning of our process, we wait to create concepts until key design problems are fully understood. Instead of jumping into design solutions, we start with research and analysis to identify practical challenges, and with visioning exercises we define a project’s strategic objectives. To ensure that our solutions will be meaningful when the project is realized, we establish a set of design principles that are specific to a project, and these principles guide the design from concept through detailing.


Open Thinking and Collaboration

Our most innovative design solutions are the ones that emerge from unexpected places. Instead of applying preconceived ideas, we engage with clients and the whole design team in an interactive process of discovery. We believe that everyone has valuable ideas to contribute, and we find great joy in uncovering and then synthesizing good ideas into something great. Through workshops, pin-ups and charrettes, we engage clients, consultants and peers; we challenge each other’s preconceptions, and we turn design assumptions upside down. This openness in the creative process yields better, more impactful solutions.


Iteration and Analysis

Each project is the result of numerous design choices that are subject to a process of continual improvement and refinement. To ensure that the summation of these choices yields something that is both moving and meaningful to its users, we implement a comparative and iterative methodology. We explore multiple options to expand the horizon of our thinking and push us beyond the obvious solutions to more innovative approaches. When making significant design choices, we utilize evaluation matrices to measure and compare options against design principles established with stakeholders early in the process. This tool grounds creative innovation with the foundational values of a project.


Integrate, Distill and Resolve

Because we focus on complex and highly technical design problems, our design process takes on numerous, and sometime conflicting problems, simultaneously. Through a highly collaborative process, we strategically engage consultants and stakeholders to find solutions that solve multiple, overlapping problems. We use design and technical reviews to further refine solutions until they have a sense of resolution – designs that are economical, functional, and elegant.