The Journal
Cost & Value
Spokane Architect's Journal - 400 Mile Per Gallon Architecture
400 Mile Per Gallon Architecture

Imagine you are considering the purchase of a new car that gets 40 miles to the gallon... when you learn about a similarly priced high performance alternative that is far better built, looks great, and runs 200 to 400 miles to the gallon, depending on your driving habits. It uses some German parts...

Spokane Architect's Journal - What Breed of Architect is for You?
What Breed of Architect is for You?

Pretty much by definition, embarking on a search for any professional to place your trust in is likely to be a little worrisome. The prospect of selecting and hiring an architect can be something of a challenge, for any number of reasons. On the chance you may be in this situation, or know someone w...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Breathing Clean Indoor Air
Breathing Clean Indoor Air

Optimum interior air quality has become an increasingly prominent concern in our work. Passive house interior air quality is pristine because highly filtered fresh air is constantly being exchanged with the interior air. The passive house standard requires filtration systems that achieve a MERV (Min...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Building and Car Pricepoints
Building and Car Pricepoints

"Design is usually not about luxury, but rather, making the best use of available resources for any given project."   Buildings and cars are both designed and created across a spectrum of price, from low-end to high. Buildings are very different from automobiles in important ways... build...

Spokane Architect's Journal - High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends
High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends

Once we have a conceptual design solution that has been approved by a client, we typically provide them with a financial analysis of the costs and benefits of building to the passivhaus level of quality as opposed to simply building to current code minimums. "By building to passive house quality in...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Quality, Time and Cost
Quality, Time and Cost

Quality, time, and cost are the three legs supporting the metaphorical stool of project management. Good project managers constantly work to maximize the outcome for a project in each of these three realms. The most difficult aspect of this nonstop challenge is that each of these priorities c...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Advanced Design Technologies
Advanced Design Technologies

We design using cutting edge tools and technologies to create - truly - the highest quality environments for human habitation in the history of our species.  It's far beyond the incorporation of high technology in components of the buildings... the buildings themselves are technologic...

Spokane Architect's Journal - HERS Index:  The Home Energy Rating System
HERS Index: The Home Energy Rating System

 The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home's energy efficiency is measured.   HERS scores are designed for new homes (or homes after a complete renovation). When builders need to meet efficiency standards, they use the HERS Index, which has...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design
Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design

A view of earth from space reveals a trace band of blue - our atmosphere - just visible across the sunlit edge of our planet. Below, eighty percent of the globe is coated by salt water but a fraction of the depth of that atmosphere. The remaining surface area rising just above the seas supports an...

Spokane Architect's Journal - The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems
The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems

“Environmental control systems tend to be treated rather like the Cinderella of architecture; given only the plainest clothes to wear, they are relegated to a back room to do the drudgery that maintains the elegant lifestyle of the other sisters: light, form, structure, and so forth." ~ Lisa Hesch...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Triple Glazed Window Benefits
Triple Glazed Window Benefits

Triple glazed windows are the new stars of window energy efficiency... but why should you care?  Comfort. Comfort is the reason you will want to use triple glazed windows. Before we get too far on why you should be excited about energy efficiency and comfort, here is a brief history of US windo...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Cakes Left Out in the Rain
Cakes Left Out in the Rain

That natural forces will act on, and ultimately destroy, any contribution we make to our built environment persists as one of the few things we can be sure of about the fate of any building. For architects, this presents a challenge somewhat analogous to that of medical professionals who, desti...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Saving More With Commercial Passivhaus
Saving More With Commercial Passivhaus

The savings to be realized by Passivhaus architecture are exponentially increased when we build institutional and commercial projects. We are pleased to have one of the most experienced commercial/institutional Passivhaus architects in the world on our design team. Adam Cohen brings thirty years o...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Choices Reflect Values
Choices Reflect Values

"Simplicity, clarity, singleness; these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy." ~ Richard Halloway Imagine that in your left hand, you hold a bottle of very low cost wine... and in your right, something like a Willamette Valley Pinot or a Napa Valley Cabernet. The ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Your Home or Office Can Power Your Car
Your Home or Office Can Power Your Car

Passive House: Designing and building buildings so well for a specific site and climate we can eliminate eighty to ninety percent of the energy demands of space heating, cooling, and humidity control. This is fully achievable and affordable today, using readily available technologies and materials. ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Seasons in Architecture and Construction
Seasons in Architecture and Construction

Growing up, spring was the time my dad and I began to get the building itch. The two of us would design and plan out a project, purchase the materials (and any needed tools…) and wait for the right day to start. The projects we worked on ranged from a shed or a boat to a chicken coop or play ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Building Legacy Architecture
Building Legacy Architecture

Building with durable, inorganic materials such as SIREWALL means spending more initially to create buildings that will not burn, rot, or otherwise decompose. What are the implications of designing buildings that will stand for generations rather than years?A brook trout swims freely... within the b...

Spokane Architect's Journal - The Intelligent Choice
The Intelligent Choice

Europeans have lived with high energy costs for a long time, and have a strong pragmatic awareness of the costs associated with heating and cooling buildings. So it may come as no surprise that the leading standard in energy savings comes to us from Germany: The Passive House standard. It's not a...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Passion, Innovation and Efficiency
Passion, Innovation and Efficiency

There are no shortcuts to excellence. An ever present tension in architectural practice derives from the need to not only work well, but to do so as efficiently as possible. Each project we undertake represents a leap of faith - on everyone's part - on our ability to arrive at an optimum result with...

Spokane Architect's Journal - The First Step to Net Zero Energy
The First Step to Net Zero Energy

A 'net-zero energy' building generates more energy than it needs. The most important item in Net-Zero design is reducing the demand for energy. This is the main principle behind the Passive House concept, so it should be a natural progression for architects designing to the passive house standard to...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Building with Organic Materials
Building with Organic Materials

All the rivers run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full.  Ecclesiastes 1:7 Waste does not exist in nature. In the natural world, everything is cyclical; everything happens in closed loops and dynamic systems of loops. One familiar example would be the hydrological cycle, in which e...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Design for Future Abundance
Design for Future Abundance

The classical English pattern of using the village commons (that communally owned and used land which was available for pasturing private livestock) did not involve a conflict between public and private welfare as long as there was enough land. However, as herds increased, the over-grazed land becam...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Heirloom Architecture
Heirloom Architecture

"When you make things well, it's an ethical thing." ~ Stanley Tigerman Instant gratification in architecture is highly over-rated. As an architect, being published and winning prestigious design awards is validating and gratifying, but this kind of recognition also tends to be fleeting, capric...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Details and Intention
Details and Intention

When we experience good design - whether it is the design of a product, a service, or an environment - seemingly small, nuanced details we may well not even be conscious of will often exert a powerful influence on our perceptions. Even without knowing why, we are drawn toward the intentions of our b...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Zero Net Energy Owners Speak Out
Zero Net Energy Owners Speak Out

A Zero Net Energy Home produces as much energy as it consumes, resulting in zero net energy bills and zero net carbon emissions. But the story does not end there. Zero Energy Homes have many other advantages over standard homes and so-called 'green' homes. They are very quiet, they provide f...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Environmentally Optimized Commercial Laundry
Environmentally Optimized Commercial Laundry

You might not think of architects as being particularly interested in laundry as a design issue, but we get really excited about saving our clients money and easing the impact that the facilities we create have on the environment. And when we're talking about thousands of tons of laundry being pro...

Spokane Architect's Journal - You are quietly being poisoned...
You are quietly being poisoned...

Most people assume there is some level of oversight protecting them from unhealthy building. That is not the case. No form of regulatory oversight is concerned with the levels of toxic materials embedded in building materials. Building codes, for example, primarily focus on issues like life safety ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Investing in Design
Investing in Design

Hiring an architect is expensive... but embarking on a significant construction project without a good architect is likely to be much more expensive.An investment in the service of a qualified, competent, and committed architect optimizes available resources with a design solution truly responsive...