Every project, regardless of size or scale, is unique and emerges out of specific programmatic, budget and site opportunities that inform the design process. Our approach to each design is to balance the triple bottom line of economic, ecological and social variables as we strive to create architecture with the ability to positively transform communities and civic life. The result is buildings that are in tune with their surroundings and resonate with their users.
We believe architecture is about integrating with nature and when done right can make living, working and playing more rewarding while also providing a lighter footprint on our planet.
HOW WE WORK
Critical to our architectural process is a team approach. A good relationship between architect, client, consultants and contractor are necessary to allow a free interchange of ideas. This allows a hands-on approach to build upon strong concepts with buy-in from all involved. 2 + 2 can equal 10. Crucial to this team process is the sharing of knowledge and experience. We believe that to learn from one another is the best approach to find the optimal solution.
Our approach to design is “Passive First, Active Later” which allows for maximizing efficiency with analog means and vernacular methods before embarking on use of active technologies for lighting and thermal control. By using this method we are able to provide structures that not only use less resources and energy but also create more productive and healthier environments for its users.
Architecture must lie gently upon the earth and be responsive to it’s environs. It must fit with its site, and work with all surrounding elements whether in a tight urban environment or in the “middle of nowhere”. Just as a good jazz, horn player works with and becomes a part of the rhythm section, a building must embrace its locale and play off of it’s surroundings.
Combining the wants and needs of human existence while maintaining the delicate balance and cycle of the natural world we live in is the primary driving force of our approach.
Rob Paulus AIA LEED AP
Growing up in Arizona, the desert has played an important role in forming my approach to architecture. Blue skies wash down to the horizon and form a backdrop to the craggy, spiny earth and cactus. Wide-open space predominates the view, yet is contrasted by tight canyons with the dappled light overhang of mesquite trees. The desert has imbued in me an intense appreciation for nature that I find ultimately satisfying.
Architecture to me is about nature. Pleasing to the eye and sensual to the touch, there should be a balance in built form that echoes the give and take of a natural environment. Just as an ecosystem contains many constituent parts that make up the whole, I strive to create articulated parts that work together on many different levels to develop the composition of a project. Many times the natural complexity of a site is better served by creating a simple backdrop to the inherent beauty already present.
This particular appreciation of the natural environment is designed into urban projects as well. In designing the adaptive reuse of an eighty year old Ice House complex into 51 living units, my firm re-used the rugged brick, concrete and steel truss building in a derelict industrial area to create an authentic rich experience for living. Upper floors give views to distant mountain vistas while foreground apertures focus inward to landscaped courtyards and shared communal areas. This project saved literally hundreds of tons of materials while rescuing an iconic building from demolition.
Critical to the architectural process is a team approach. This allows a hands-on approach from all involved to build upon strong concepts. A strong direct relationship between designer, user and builder provides for a marriage of ideas, resulting in built forms that are conceived of in a natural dialogue.
My approach to architecture relies on a sculptural rather than decorative composition. Merely copying the past belittles its very integrity. Notable buildings throughout history have all stressed innovation, from the soaring structural ribs of Chartes Cathedral in France, to the technologically daring Lloyd’s of London building. All precedent setting architecture has sought to create something new that is both functional and inspiring.
It is my ambition to create projects that are pleasing and functional to the user while employing sustainable technologies, that are durable rather than throwaway, and that connect to existing communities and infrastructure.