Place Making

    The theme of our work here in the Pacific Northwest is based largely on the dialogue between a building and its setting. We are fortunate to have been involved with building sites in dramatic natural settings. The way in which one utilizes and controls the elusive natural light, water and mountain views, topography and other rich qualities that make this region special, is often the key to unlocking the spirit of a place and creating a great design. Experiencing the change in seasons and the dramatic weather of this region from a sheltering place or open place according to its exposure is a vital source of pleasure in architecture. The opportunity in creating compelling indoor and outdoor spaces within the microclimate of a given site is an important generative source of design. Ours is a region where the temperature of a deck or terrace on a site can vary ten degrees or more depending upon its placement. We see each site as possessing potential opportunities to be unlocked through careful planning.

    Many of our projects are inspired by the and straightforward working structures of the waterfronts, boat sheds, lumber mills, and the farming legacy of this unique region. These vernacular structures, many constructed of wood, have been the source of inspiration for many of our projects and the materials and forms used in them. It is of critical importance today that architecture reflects the traditions and climate of its locale with clarity and wit to prevent the overbearing sameness of “anywhere USA” that is so rapidly affecting the character of our towns and countryside.


    We create highly personalized houses that take cues from the dreams and unique qualities of their owners. We listen very well. Often, the most inspirational components of a residential design come directly from an idea put forward in a direct collaboration with clients. Everyday elements like the ubiquitous northwest mudroom can be great design opportunities. We are drawn to the challenge of creating great small buildings, even with very tight budgets, as well as on large-scale projects. We have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with some of the finest craftsmen in the area.

Building for the Future, The Power of Green

        On several of our new projects we are incorporating a whole new generation of building products and techniques that use recycled and sustainable systems. This mandate is very exciting to us as designers. It can take on many dimensions in design and construction. Everything is involved, from placing the building on the site, selection of materials and systems, how they are installed, and how the building performs over time. In addition, the logic of choosing appropriate structural systems and materials can be critical in squeezing the most from a budget and creating buildings that perform well over time.


    It is the best buildings that respond both poetically and practically to the spirit of their regional place, both natural and manmade. That is where the magic lies. The buildings we call classic are those that stand the test of time, physically and aesthetically. These must be detailed and constructed competently with quality materials, and also be designed to express the visual and experiential qualities that make them a special place, to create lasting value.

Photograph by E.S. Curtis, 1915

Bainbridge Island Residence, Rendering