It is a perfect building for the kind of firm we are – raw concrete walls and exposed timber trusses, with high volumes and enough square footage to house our architectural practice, fabrication shop, and even a work-week apartment for Olle. The practice has always been very diverse – we have designed homes, restaurants, wineries, corporate headquarters, distilleries, hotels, apartment buildings, bars, lobbies, and even San Francisco’s bus shelters. We describe our style as "nature-inspired modernism," and we strive for elegant, simple solutions in our work. We like materials with substance – wood, stone, steel; materials with heft and texture – really the opposite of veneer. For us the making of architecture is a collaborative act; between ourselves and especially with our clients – while we aim for poetry we also pride ourselves on making buildings that work very, very well.
The work is quite personal – to our clients, to the site, and to us; and to that end we have always had a fabrication shop as part of our practice. It is a place to experiment with materials and details; it is a place to build things. The shop is a way to emphasize the notion of craft in our projects – the unique piece handmade for just that moment. This enables us to at times act a little more like a sculptor, where the process of making begins to inform the end result, so that the pieces really do end up being one-of-a-kind. The act of making is different from just drawing an idea – no matter the cost the mark of the hand makes the piece a kind of gift, unique and personal to that client. It is an inseparable part of our design practice.
Our firm's basic philosophy for environmental sustainability is thinking long term: to design singular places that last. Architects need to lead the way in creating buildings that minimize resource consumption and carbon emissions, and ideally create a net positive impact. We utilize today's latest technologies and building strategies in our design toward these goals. The use of reclaimed materials, artfully integrated to create strong architectural statements that are also highly functional, is another hallmark of our firm.
Yet, ultimately, our real mission is to produce beautiful buildings, each unto itself, buildings that the user and subsequent generations of users will love – this for us is the essence of environmentally responsible design. If our buildings work well, capture the imagination of its users over generations, then the materials and effort that went into their creation have been well spent. We strive to design buildings that will far outlive all of us that build them, buildings that are admired and help show us how we can live respectfully within the limits of our Earth.