The Journal
Spokane Architect's Journal - Building and Car Pricepoints
Building and Car Pricepoints
Design the best building for your budget

"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 - What Breed of Architect is for You?
What Breed of Architect is for You?
Pair your project with the right team

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 - Quality, Time and Cost
Quality, Time and Cost
Choose two... Then choose one

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 - Carbon  Neutral Architecture
Carbon Neutral Architecture
The 2030 Challenge: All new buildings, developments, and major renovations carbon-neutral by 2030

The built environment is responsible for three fourths of annual global greenhouse gas emissions: buildings alone account for 39 percent.  Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets. The American Institute of...

Spokane Architect's Journal - My Mentor's Mentors
My Mentor's Mentors
What I discovered they all had in common

"There is one timeless way of building. It is a thousand years old, and the same today as it has ever been. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way. It is...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Building Legacy Architecture
Building Legacy Architecture
Site matters more than stuff

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 - Choices Reflect Values
Choices Reflect Values
How do we love the children of all species, for all time?

"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 - Shading Data - No Guesses
Shading Data - No Guesses
Knowing exactly what sunlight will do

One of the many aspects of site specific architectural design now standard practice in our pre-design research process is to acquire a forensic understanding of the shading conditions that will alter how our architecture will be exposed to the sun over the course of each year.Designing high perfor...

Spokane Architect's Journal - HERS Index:  The Home Energy Rating System
HERS Index: The Home Energy Rating System
It's like having a car dealer window sticker for your home

 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 - The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems
The Language of Mechanical Comfort Systems
Just in case you were wondering

“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 - Signature Architecture
Signature Architecture
In search of True

"Where there is style, there is no need for a style." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright Social networks provide opportunities to engage a diverse community of people in conversations to reveal a broad sampling of opinion on any topic. I have occasionally posed questions to fans of my Sam Rodell | Architect...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Travel and Architecture
Travel and Architecture
You had to be there

One of the most addictive aspects of a career in architecture is the level of ongoing learning that it engages one in throughout the entire arc of a career, of a lifetime. The sources of this 'continuing education' need not be distant or exotic travel. The insights offered by local interactions an...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Getting to Simple
Getting to Simple
Eliminate the superfluous and nonessential

"Like all great performances, a great work of art makes complexity look simple. It is executed with style, skill, and grace. Any genuine work of art is created through tremendous discipline, not put together out of a grab bag of random references and trendy trim. Great art eliminates everything su...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Collegiality and Teamwork
Collegiality and Teamwork
Collaboration in service to the project

"Listen to the man who works with his hands. He may be able to show you a better way to do it." ~ Louis Kahn "And always - always, say Thank You." ~ Mike Kelly My role during construction is generally to act as my client's agent, working to ensure that what was designed is what is buil...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Passion, Innovation and Efficiency
Passion, Innovation and Efficiency
Establish clarity of intent early

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 - Spaces for Creative Collaboration
Spaces for Creative Collaboration
The Unleashed Online Studio

Unleashed Online Media asked for offices that reflect who they are and support how they work. What was required was a balanced blend of collaborative, open space and personal, individual space that express and foster progressive thinking and positive energies. The design and construction schedule wa...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Waste is Food
Waste is Food
(7 minute video)

A 'circular economy' is a term for an industrial economy that is, by design or intention, completely restorative.  In a circular economy, material flows are of two types: biological and technical. Biological nutrients are designed to reenter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients are des...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Three Dimensional Point Clouds
Three Dimensional Point Clouds
Digitizing the material world

Technical innovation continues to rapidly and profoundly impact the practice of architecture. Here is one example: We can now perform a three dimensional laser scan of any built environment, rapidly collecting the locations of millions of points in space, creating a digital file housing a massive bu...

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 - Experiencing Expression
Experiencing Expression
"Your world is a living expression of how you are using and have used your mind." ~ Earl Nightingale

I know a lot of skilled architects who know what great architecture is - and really appreciate it - but can't create it. They have many skills, lots of talent, and deep knowledge, but lack some essential capabilities that are required to be a well rounded architect. They usually play an important ...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Lessons From Being a Developer
Lessons From Being a Developer
Our Passive House clients need not face a false choice between a better building or a better operational budget

Becoming licensed as an architect is a long, challenging process, but that is just the first step toward becoming an Architect, which is a lifelong journey. In my particular case, it has included decades of experience as a general contractor, building our designs for our clients... as well as becomi...

Spokane Architect's Journal - Investing in Design
Investing in Design
It determines value as well as cost

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...