Working on Spec

This painfully funny video about doing creative work on spec (e.g. for free or reduced cost) is all too real for most architects/creatives and it gives me flashbacks to some jaw-dropping requests we’ve had over the years. One component that is particularly important to our firm and not typically considered as part of the spec-work… More

Skeletons in the Closet

We all have a few and some of them are actually fun to share.  I was proud to see my name connected with the 10th anniversary of the Ravenel Bridge which is both a beautiful bridge and one that is heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists thanks to the work of cycling advocates.  During the… More

When Water Saving isn’t Just Smart, it’s the Law

We are asked to run a lot of cost scenarios for sustainability ‘upgrades’ and I can tell you, reclaimed water and rainwater harvesting rarely make the cut.  Who’s doing it? Camden Friends, Musconetcong Watershed Association, Tasty Baking Company, and United Natural Foods.  Okay, a bunch of our clients do it but our clients are more forward-thinking… More

Post-Occupancy Plea for Data

Dear Owners, We design, we consult, we model, we stress about an insane amount of minutiae, and then we sit and wonder how projects are actually performing.  One easy gauge is your utility bills.  We deeply appreciate when you send them to us…you are helping us identify possible issues and shape what we do on… More

Re-Purpose Ideas

I am in awe of the wide array of salvaged materials generated by this company, as well as the creative re-purpose ideas they feature from their customers.  75,000 unused kitty litter bags anyone?  How about an ACTUAL RAILROAD BRIDGE?  Their periodic newsletter is oddly addictive, and useful. Repurposed Materials website


I suppose a blog is as good a place as any to get out your pet peeves.  One of mine is the “Net-Zero Energy” label on buildings that are still in design.  As I write that, I am thinking “Oh crickey, I bet I am guilty of that.”  Yes, I may have gotten sloppy myself… More


I field lots of calls of homeowners curious about building their own home. In order of frequency, here are the most typical questions: costs (!!!), process (who does what?), schedule, and pros/cons of new vs renovation. Every so often you get a wild-card question too, like yesterday when Craig Claudin (a cameraman who got the… More


When you design a project, you create a lot of assumptions (and perhaps some fantasies) how a space will be used.  After real people are doing their real thing in our buildings, we like to go back and test some of these assumptions.  At Berks County Community Foundation, one of the client goals was to… More