Mission Driven

We start every project by understanding the mission, vision and values of our clients, and considering how built form can reflect and amplify these core goals. This is the foundation for ideation, and the ultimate measurement of design success.

Connecting to Place

It is critical to understand the specific qualities and needs of the landscapes and communities within which we work. Every design, and every process, is a reflection of its people and place. Whether camping in remote landscapes, performing community outreach, or conducting health impact assessments and detailed analysis of urban density and watershed patterns, we always go deep to understand the people and places we serve.

Interdisciplinary Thinking

Our job is to create the right team and the right process to ensure success for each project. We craft and lead integrated design teams with relevant experts and stakeholders in a collaborative process to best approach each design. Fundamental to our culture is the need for each project to advance the potential of design through applied knowledge. Through research and development of technical strategies and systems, and analysis of real-world results, our teams weave design passion with critical thinking to craft sustainable and high performing solutions that meet and exceed our clients’ goals.

Exploring Options

Designing with options is fundamental to how we work. We approach design as an iterative conversation that tests multiple ideas at successive scales, giving clients the opportunity to make engaged and  informed decisions at each step of the process. We employ a variety of tools in this exploration – from hand sketches and digital modeling to full scale, detail mock-ups in our maker workspaces.

Expertise and Humility

We couple strong design expertise with engaging teams that know how to listen. We hold a cultural belief that good ideas can and do come from anywhere. We look to our team, our expert consultants, clients and user groups as rich sources of inspiration. We strive to avoid pre-conceptions, and rather test new ideas through this holistic perspective to help our clients arrive at inspiring results that are a unique expression of their mission, values and vision for the future.

High Performance

The built environment uses approximately 40% of our global resources. As national leaders in sustainable design, we are passionate about the positive impact that design can bring to our shared environment, and to human health and well-being. Whether pursuing certifications such as LEED, Living Building Challenge and SITES, or just doing the right thing, our design teams fuse beauty with the science of building performance to create innovative, thought-leading projects at all scales.

Research and Development

We are fueled by a sense of discovery and a vision for the future. Through our projects, we seek to answer questions that can maximize project potential while helping advance the profession. Our research and development efforts are performed by interdisciplinary design teams who often engage external experts from the design community, universities and NGOs. Whether doing research on innovative approaches to building codes, energy performance, health or high-performing workplaces, we always consider issues at a wide range of scales from the region to the neighborhood, campus, individual building and occupant.

Forging Relationships

More than 80% of our work is with repeat clients, and we view each new project as the beginning of a long term relationship. We highly value and respect all of our project partners, including clients, contractors, engineers, collaborating designers and community members. These relationships not only produce better results, they make our work more rewarding and meaningful.