working principles



Over time, we have distilled certain general principles from our experience. There are some that we use for guidance in our work.

ecology = economy

The words ecology and economy both derive from the classical Greek for house, "oikos", and both refer to the relationship between the household and its external context, whether natural or societal. We believe the two words are linked functionally as well as linguistically -- that an architecture which is ecological must also be economical.

integration and multifunction

An essential part of high performance design is multifunction, where one element of a design serves more than one purpose. Integrated design is a much-discussed but rarely-implemented process where all disciplines, systems and components of a building are considered together, so that the performance of one is considered as part of the performance of the whole, and vice versa.

Multifunction is elegant, efficient and robust.

didactic structures

We believe that our buildings should express themselves through form, material, and systems. It should be possible for anyone from a child to a professional to appreciate the design strategies of our projects, and understand on some level their relationship to form and performance.

connections with nature

Plants can make buildings perform better - moderating temperature, cleaning the air - but their greatest value is making people healthier and happier.

distributed, redundant systems

A trend in many aspects of technology is toward intelligent, small scale systems. Sensors, data processing, controls, and power sources, are becoming smaller and less expensive. Compared to consumer products and automobiles, buildings are one sector where these systems could have a very large impact, but little has been done. Enormous benefits await in interactivity, efficiency, and the comfort and quality of the built environment.

integrated systems >