Dan Maginn, El Dorado, Inc.

The designers at Kansas City–based El Dorado believe they are improving on the conventional architect-contractor relationship by cultivating a more collaborative spirit among client, contractor, and architect while maintaining the roles and responsibilities of each. The 13 full-time “Eldoradans,” as co-partner and local AIA director Dan Maginn describes them, collaborate with an interior designer and a fine artist. Everyone is expected to spend time in the shop.

The bottom line is that architects should know how to build,” says Maginn. “The best way to know how to build is to get in there and do it. We have a pile of misfit details in the back that we call the Boneyard and it is an honored place because it is a record of the fact that we recognized mistakes and improved.”

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