The Journal
Health & Wellness
Spokane Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth Architecture
Rammed Earth Architecture
The best walls on earth

It comes as a surprise to many people to see an architect working in the Pacific Northwest designing and building with rammed earth, which is generally associated with very arid, hot climates and low tech, indigenous building traditions. I became interested in working with rammed earth as an unexp...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Breathing Clean Indoor Air
Breathing Clean Indoor Air
By weight, you breathe more than you eat and drink

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 - The Path to Health and Happiness
The Path to Health and Happiness
Health is a design issue

Health and happiness cohabit in a powerful alliance. It is a close partnership; one does not fare well without the other. Neither just happens. Both require attention, both require work. To this simple rule, no exceptions are allowed, no excuses are granted. There are no shortcuts. Anything that ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design
Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design
It's not a 'dirt' wall - it's a natural, toxin-free, sanitary rock wall

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 - David Suzuki Explores Rammed Earth
David Suzuki Explores Rammed Earth
(10 minute video tour)

In this short film clip, David Suzuki visits a home built with SIREWALL - rammed earth walls that are insulated, steel reinforced, solid sandstone. Unlike traditional rammed earth, SIREWALL is a top tier, cutting edge contemporary architectural material appropriate for any climate. ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Toxin Free Consumer Products
Toxin Free Consumer Products
Leadership and innovation in industry

This is the first TV free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), built by Philips Electronics. We need to support industry leaders who are demonstrating that innovation can move us away from industrial production that poisons the environment. BFRs, used in circuit boar...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Sam On Meet The Elite Podcast
Sam On Meet The Elite Podcast
Five minute pitch for Passivhaus

A quick summary of what we've been up to with high performance 'passivhaus' building design.  Why do all of our clients request this option? Interview with Sam Rodell, AIA...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Chemical Hazards in Consumer Products
Chemical Hazards in Consumer Products
Toxins have no place in our everyday lives

Building with toxic materials is such a bad practice, in part because we are embedding them into environments where people then tend to have long term exposure to them. It's good to be aware that carcinogenic and toxic material is not only found in scores of products in the building industry, but ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Designing for Natural Light
Designing for Natural Light
Forensically accurate sun studies

One of the first things we do with a new project is build a detailed and accurate three dimensional computer model of the land and its physical features from a survey. The survey work is usually completed using both a laser theodolite and satellite GPS data. The topographic model created from this d...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Steer Clear of Toxic Tile
Steer Clear of Toxic Tile
Offshore sources are highly suspect

Most ceramic wall or floor tile is now manufactured out of the United States, and the use of highly toxic heavy metals in the glazes is common. Most of the tiles you will see, especially in retail outlets, were manufactured in China, or in Cambodia or Vietnam by Chinese companies. The environmenta...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Optimizing Walls for Energy Performance
Optimizing Walls for Energy Performance
Conventional assumptions turned upside down

We assign a very high priority to comfort in buildings - specifically, thermal comfort. One of the basic distinctions between being inside' and 'outside' is that when we are inside, we expect to be comfortable. We essentially live in two climates - interior and exterior - and the construction assemb...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Preserving Darkness to Design With Light
Preserving Darkness to Design With Light
(TED Talk Video)

Lighting architect Rogier van der Heide offers insights into how thoughtful architects and lighting designers pay attention to light (and to darkness) to design more healthy, delightful spaces and integrate the built environment into the world in more gracious ways. ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Environmentally Optimized Commercial Laundry
Environmentally Optimized Commercial Laundry
Being environmentally proactive is good business

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 - Reintroducing China to Rammed Earth
Reintroducing China to Rammed Earth
(7 minute video)

China is undertaking the largest building boom in the history of the world. A young and talented pair of Canadian architects are working to introduce SIREWALL rammed earth as a healthy, sustainable option for building beautiful and durable architecture in China. ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - You are quietly being poisoned...
You are quietly being poisoned...
(Compelling 1.3 minute SIREWALL video)

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 - Responsibility and Gratitude
Responsibility and Gratitude
We find nothing more rewarding than creating harmonious outcomes for clients

"Our life work is built on a foundation of reverence, responsibility, and gratitude."  ~ Sam Rodell Imagine building a scale model of the earth 75 yards in diameter. The biosphere in this model would be roughly the thickness of the skin of a tomato. It is here, between earth and sky, where t...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Lunch in Lima
Lunch in Lima
(3 minute video)

Design is everywhere we act with intention.  This exceptional restaurant in Lima, Peru celebrates distinct regional creations from a wide variety of locations in Peru, each from a specific elevation above or below sea level. Lunch - with wine and beer pairings - is a three hour experience invo...