Design Methodologies (with examples of each below):
- Precedent Studies: Learning from what others have designed and built.
- Computer modeling and documentation: working three-dimensionally allows for great insight and the ready sharing of ideas.
- Sketching: a useful tool for quick studies and an important means of graphic communication.
- Traditional drafting: the drafting board is a great place to work out small details that do not require extensive development.
- Photography: a powerful tool for documentation and analysis, including in-house drone photography and photogrammetry.
- Site Analysis and Map Creation: GIS maps and drone investigations are some of the tools we use to analyze sites, especially where topographic maps or surveys are not yet available. Drone photography and videography are also employed.
- Physical models: models offer great insight into projects, and while they are not feasible for every project, we welcome the opportunity to create them.
- Rendering: both hand and computer renderings are useful tools both for presentation and design insight into spaces.
- Color Boards and Physical Samples: organizing materials and finishes into a sample board offers important insight into the relationship of colors, textures, and even shapes.
- Communication: harnessing all of the above into words, phone calls, meetings and other means of conveying design intent is critical. We strive to communicate clearly in order to collaborate at a high level with owners, contractors, engineers, designers, suppliers, and all other dedicated parties to a project.
There is a vast body of excellent architecture that has been created around the world, both recognized and hardly-noticed, and we like to learn from it wherever we are. The influence of culture, history, and even business practices all play a role in how buildings come into being and we welcome these insights.
side of a carriage house, Lexington, MA
Munkegaards School by Arne Jacobse, Copenhagen, Denmark (1956)
Computer modeling & documentation
Working in 3d offers many advantages to visualizing projects as well as for producing high quality documentation for use in construction documents and even building management after the project is complete.
This is a very basic digital massing model (below) of farm buildings where the relationship of existing structures was being studied for the addition of new buildings and their impact on the adjacent owner's residence:
The following is a screenshot from a project we were making some significant changes to the play room on late in the construction document phase. 3d modeling facilitates the investigation of design implications from many vantage points, even simultaneously--as shown with three distinct views of the proposed window arrangement in plan, elevation, and perspective here:
In the above example we were able to confirm our assumptions from the plan, by checking their visual impact on the exterior facade. This was a quick task as the 3d geometry is generated automatically by modeling it from the beginning of the project.
Often we analyze the form of a project through sketching. This gives insight into key elements and themes, as well as being a fun way to see what may develop outside the constraints of a drafting program. Sketching can also be a quick way to work out construction details that can easily be shared with collaborators:
The simplicity and direct feedback from drafting can actually help clarify a design better than the computer, and whenever feasible we return to the drafting board for simple drawings that will not undergo extensive revisions.
Through photography, many details and insights are available: architectural relationships, urban contexts, materials, tones, textures--and more--remind us of possibilities.
We maintain a library with tens of thousands of highly organized photographic references to share and review for insight and inspiration.
Site Analysis and Map Creation
There are numerous programs and methods we use for map creation, integration, and analysis--now including in-house drone photography too. On many projects these provide important early site information about the project constraints, relationships, and opportunities. Where topographic maps or surveys are not yet available photogrammetry (such as Google Earth and many jurisdictions provide) is an excellent source of additional site data.
While not feasible for all projects, physical models are a wonderful way to develop an understanding of buildings, spaces, and/or objects.
Mixing hand media and digital rendering offers many possible outcomes, and depending on the project needs we adjust our approach to suit. We are also open to collaborating with professional artists to prepare or complete renderings based on our drawings.
Communication is critical from the beginning to end of a project (and beyond). We take this seriously, making sure to develop a sincere understanding of our clients, and that consultants and collaborators in turn fully comprehend the design intent.
We also make ourselves available so we can adjust to changing project needs, putting forth extra effort when it is most needed. Maintaining open channels of communication facilitates a successful project with happy owners and contractors.
Every project takes on its own specific forms of communications, but we always keep project documentation highly organized and readily available, with clarity about the necessary steps and stages for all parties.