Silver Spring Library

Silver Spring Library

Design Process

Teaming    “All good architecture derives from understanding and responding to the needs of our clients, applying thoughtful designs to achieve their goals.” 

It is from the fruitful interchange between clients and architects that great projects are born.  Louis Kahn’s famous praise for Jonas Salk’s keen interest in pushing his search for form is what Kahn credits for the success of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.  Charles Moore is another architect who thought his best work came from engaged clients.  We happen to agree with them.  The art of listening is close to the heart of the matter.  

We hope to challenge preconceptions, develop the best design and strive to bring that vision to reality.  We have a highly participatory design process and an enthusiasm for facilitating public design discussions.  We manage our projects with a goal of being on schedule and within our client’s budget.  We pursue the creation of buildings that are functional, appropriate to their sites, environmentally responsible and memorable. 


Building Programming     Careful building programming is the road map to a successful project.  Without a clear and concisely documented program, the resulting building can easily be a handsome failure.  Worse, because the resultant building consumes both space and precious resources, by its existence it postpones the day when a properly functional building can replace it. 

If an owner has already independently developed a program, we focus on understanding the reasoning, and challenge the users to improve upon it.  In those better cases when owners ask us to develop the program, we greatly welcome the opportunity.  Team interviews bring out some of the most important issues hiding in plain sight.  Some may view programming as a necessary evil, however when correctly performed, it becomes the cornerstone of a project’s success.  It also happenes to be a major driver in defining project scope and controlling cost. 

An in-depth analysis of a client’s needs, how they presently operate, their budget and their goals going forward are the basic building blocks in a strong building program.   Equally important is an understanding of site context.  In the case of urban settings, an understanding of the surrounding community is also key. 


Technology    In a single generation, the profession has gone from pencils and drafting tables to computers, laser scanners and 3-D printers.  Tools of the trade are evolving, and as they do, we do.  3D modeling (using Revit, 3D Max Sketchup, Lumion and Kerkythea) allow us to prototype our projects before building them.  Building Information Modeling, (BIM) helps clients to visualize projects in context, and is the primary communications tool to explain them to a wider audience.  More critically, BIM is the core technology that architects, engineers and contractors use to communicate in the modern construction industry.  

“BIM is an intelligent model-based process that provides insight to help you plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.”  Autodesk

Francis Scott Key MS

Francis Scott Key MS

From the beginning your expertise and professionalism have created a seamless
project from start to finish. Your creativity and work project are superior.
— Eric L. Minus, Principal Frances Scott Key Middle School