Creating a living built environment requires a process that is, in itself, alive.


Wholeness in Practice.

We are one studio, one practice. Many of our staff have specialized expertise, yet we don’t keep them in silos dedicated to one building type or one part of the design process. We want our staff to stay engaged, learning, and sharing. By gaining skills in diverse areas of practice, our design teams can remain consistent throughout your project.

Mutual Understanding

We develop a unique written narrative for each project. Authored collaboratively and written in plain language, this narrative describes the mutual understanding of project requirements between architect and client. We call this narrative a Pattern Language. This language is a shared reference point, helps achieve consensus, and offers a means of evaluating the success of the design.

Undivided From Nature.

As designers, we recognize that our influence extends beyond buildings and property lines to the broader living community. The principles of sustainable design are a natural extension of wholeness-based thinking, integrated into every studio project.

Collaboration Without Ego.

We believe collaboration means more than asking clients to vote on predetermined options. Our clients are integral members of the design team. The people who will live and work in a building are uniquely qualified to inform the shape of their space; we bring them into the heart of the design process.

Respect for Craft.

Respect for craft permeates everything we do—this means attention to quality, clarity, and precision in our drawings and specifications. We seek out the expertise and advice of our building trade partners throughout the design process. We consider ongoing maintenance, durability, and repair of a building—not just what it looks like on the first day.


A key element of our design approach is a process called Pattern Writing. By writing patterns, we gain a deeper understanding of how a building and its site can be configured to support both human activity and natural processes in a harmonious way.

Patterns promise to:

Empower clients and stakeholders to become qualified design critics

Build consensus between the design team and the decision makers

Allow for subtle information to guide the design process

Establish priorities and organize design intent

Help create living, vibrant places

Patterns have 3 main components:


Captures the essence of the issue and/or solution

Issue Statement

Lays out the facts; an observation that describes a problem to be solved, a pitfall to avoid, or a resource to protect

Solution Statement

Describes a successful outcome and proposes the physical shaping of space to achieve that outcome. It should be specific, without being overly prescriptive.

See how Pattern Writing informed our design for the Zhogguancun Primary School in Beijing, China.

For more information on our design process and to learn more about how Pattern Writing has guided our projects, download the PDF below or contact us.