Expressive structural column.
Expressive structural column.
Stairs to the yoga studio; a study in color and light.
Stairs to the yoga studio; a study in color and light.
Rammed earth columns.
Rammed earth columns.
Prospect & Refuge
Prospect & Refuge
A beach built for/with the the house.
A beach built for/with the the house.
Rose garden and lily pond.
Rose garden and lily pond.
Building a new home in a traditional neighborhood with respect for established architectural character.
Building a new home in a traditional neighborhood with respect for established architectural character.
Built in storage elements in a dressing room.
Built in storage elements in a dressing room.
Weaving architecture and landscape into one.
Weaving architecture and landscape into one.
Quoined concrete block.  A zero cost architectural detail.
Quoined concrete block. A zero cost architectural detail.
Garden shed with rose garden.
Garden shed with rose garden.
Wooden eating bar, stone work surfaces.
Wooden eating bar, stone work surfaces.
My first architectural studio, 1984.
My first architectural studio, 1984.
Tensile shelving, custom library ladder.
Tensile shelving, custom library ladder.
As storm clouds gather, a sleepover party gathers momentum upstairs.
As storm clouds gather, a sleepover party gathers momentum upstairs.
Contemporary ceiling fixture in an entrance hall.
Contemporary ceiling fixture in an entrance hall.
Low maintenance, fire resistant exterior materials.
Low maintenance, fire resistant exterior materials.
Architecture?  Landscape?   Both?
Architecture? Landscape? Both?
Powder room niche.
Powder room niche.
A bridge over water to the front door.
A bridge over water to the front door.
Rammed earth entry porch.
Rammed earth entry porch.
Custom sand blasted glass at entry door.
Custom sand blasted glass at entry door.
Birds moving in.
Birds moving in.
Dramatic interior spaces for a photography studio.
Dramatic interior spaces for a photography studio.
Architectural dog kennel.
Architectural dog kennel.
Rose garden and lily pond.
Rose garden and lily pond.
A kitchen deserving of a chef.
A kitchen deserving of a chef.
Entrance to a graphic design studio.
Entrance to a graphic design studio.
Simple architecture on the St. Joe River.
Simple architecture on the St. Joe River.
Contemporary entry porch light fixture.
Contemporary entry porch light fixture.
Transitional entry court.
Transitional entry court.
Sheltered path to back door.
Sheltered path to back door.
Rustic garden shed interior.
Rustic garden shed interior.
Water moving through architecture.
Water moving through architecture.
Architectural joints.
Architectural joints.
Seeded art glass in exterior window.
Seeded art glass in exterior window.
AIA Award winning landfill scale house.
AIA Award winning landfill scale house.
Traditional fireplace mantle.
Traditional fireplace mantle.
Japanese height dining table.
Japanese height dining table.
Intentionally vernacular machine shed.
Intentionally vernacular machine shed.
Chinese pot water feature.
Chinese pot water feature.
Contemporary light fixture and window.
Contemporary light fixture and window.
Hand Forged Ballister
Hand Forged Ballister
Rammed Earth with Rusted Steel Panel
Rammed Earth with Rusted Steel Panel
Traditional Interior Composition and Detailing
Traditional Interior Composition and Detailing
Entry Porch Accent Window
Entry Porch Accent Window
Tensile Bookshelving Design
Tensile Bookshelving Design
Rammed earth wall, detail.
Rammed earth wall, detail.
Rammed Earth Row Housing in Ghana, Africa
Rammed Earth Row Housing in Ghana, Africa

APPROACH TO PROJECT

I pursue an architecture that takes root in substance rather than style – the kind of work that will anchor to and honor the land, create a distinct sense of place, age to gain character and meaning over time, and truly be as environmentally appropriate as possible.    It is also important to me that I accomplish these professional aspirations in such a way as to make the experience for my client as fulfilling and enjoyable as it is within my means to achieve.

Regardless of their relative size or complexity, most projects consist of a sequence of distinct smaller projects, or ‘phases.’  Each is important, and each builds on the previous work.    Here is a brief overview of the usual sequence, beginning when virtually everything is uncertain, and methodically progressing toward a fully successful completed project:

 My architecture is built on earnest research rather than assumed or arrogant presumptions.  Before I design, I sincerely listen to, inquire of, and learn about both my client and their site, because for me, this is where I discover the fundamental understandings that fuel our creative inspiration.  Just as importantly, it is here that the boundaries for project schedules and costs are defined.

 From ambiguity and confusion, we distill clarity.  This phase is concerned with the creation of a valid design concept that honors the design program established in the previous phase.   Conceptual design usually involves the exploration of alternative design options, gaining focus on a strong fundamental solution defined with a broad brush, upon which the specific details can be developed.

Building on a strong concept, the design is now steadily refined to develop fully realized design excellence.   Design development systematically clarifies and optimizes the individual components and details that ultimately distinguish and carry the whole project.  Details literally determine how everything comes together.     Regardless of the type of construction or style of architecture, details define many things, including cost, performance, appearance, clarity, meaning, functionality, maintenance, and production time.    (A noteworthy architect once wrote, “God is in the details.”   Others have subsequently observed that the devil may reside there as well.)

Another important function of this phase is to encourage significant revisions at an appropriate time.   After-the-fact changes undermine project efficiency and become increasingly expensive and difficult to integrate successfully into the work.    A given amount of design refinement is to be expected during construction, and is a healthy, productive, desirable part of the process – design revision is another matter.

 Technically coherent, concise, complete, and contract-capable contract documents are an invaluable project management tool, and always represent an excellent investment, more than paying for themselves.   They support, and control, the work of the diverse group of entities that become involved in the project before, during, and after construction.    They have a profound impact on both the cost and the quality of the completed project.

 How to build it?  Who to build it?  When will it be finished – how much will it cost?   These questions have been underlying every step of work completed to this point, but it is now time to resolve them contractually.   Whether interacting with one contractor or many, whether bid negotiated, I normally remain active through this phase of the project in support of clients.   It has been my experience that remaining closely involved with projects all the way through every step of their production is the best way to foster desired outcomes.

 The vision becomes reality.  It is time to harvest the benefits of thorough preparation as the team grows and the site becomes a steadily unfolding story.   While the best architects never stop thinking about design, and always demand appropriate quality of material and craftsmanship, I believe the ideal role of the architect is to support  a committed team of technicians, craftsmen and artisans in a collaboration of service to the project.  During construction, a stream of questions, problems, and opportunities are inevitably addressed.    The architect, with a global understanding of the project, should be actively involved in the resolution of questions and conflicts.

 The first passing of the seasons in a new structure is a time to test, observe, take notes, and confirm that all is functioning as it should.    I recommend building a one-year warranty into the construction contract extending to cover the work of all subcontractors and suppliers.

The common scenario of a construction project characterized by conflict, chaos, and stress – designed and built in haste, then superficially ‘decorated’ - is all too familiar.   I advocate an alternative path, systematically producing a fully realized architectural concept founded on solid design premises appropriate to a particular project.   It is an intensely gratifying journey.

 

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