Communities & neighborhoods


Architecture & landscape


Rooms, finishes & furniture


How do we create environments that are USEFUL, DURABLE AND BEAUTIFUL?

HEALTHY PLACES meet people’s real needs, while preserving ecological balance.  Our responsibility as designers is to help communities, families and individuals build places that provide for their physical, emotional, and spiritual life while also enhancing the wellbeing of the environment. 

Design is a social and ecological PROCESS

The design process begins with a VISION, whereby  the client, a community, family, or individual come to define their environmental goals. This vision can be both inspired and down to earth practical. 

This vision includes all members of the community. When people engage in full PARTICIPATION in the shaping of their environment, they take responsibility for it's maintenance and repair.

When we are READING THE LANDSCAPE we analyze site factors, including climate, solar orientation, topography, the surrounding context, access, the flow of water, soil, and vegetation.  When we understand the structure of a site we can make informed judgments about the appropriate location and character of development and the preservation of natural features. 

Human activities define the environmental PATTERNS & TYPOLOGIES of buildings and towns.  These responses are unique to a place and its inhabitants.  A critical part of the design process is understanding  the project's particular system of significant patterns and transforming this network to realize the emergent vision.

In an INTEGRATED DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION PROCESS building starts with the initial vision and design continues until the last brick is laid.

Using a WHOLE SYSTEMS DESIGN APPROACH, the project development team leverages its expertise to maximize the connections between environmental systems and address various project constraints simultaneously.

The use of healthy places develops over time.  Traditionally, buildings and communities expanded through INCREMENTAL GROWTH, whereby the existing structures are preserved and enhanced by new development.

Creating healthy places means making buildings and towns that are ENERGY EFFICIENT, that utilize NATURAL, NON TOXIC, LOW EMBODIED ENERGY MATERIALS & PROCESSES.

Healthy places are oriented and shaped to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impact of the sun, of climate and weather, to utilize NATURAL VENTILATION & DAYLIGHT.

Healthy buildings are MULTIFUNCTIONAL & COMPACT.  They maximize the use of space.  They provide for the needs of all members of the community.

Healthy places provide SHELTER & REFUGE, while also providing a view onto, and encouraging AWARENESS of, the DYNAMIC NATURAL PROCESSES that preserve and enhance life.

Healthy places help PRESERVE THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.  They respect the lives of all SENTIENT BEINGS.

Healthy places are INCLUSIVE.  They encourage CULTURE and diversity.  They learn from the past, plan for the future and live in the present.

Healthy places allow for SELF REFLECTION & CONTEMPLATION.  Healthy places encourage us to come together in FAMILY, in COMMUNITY, on this earth, our HOME.

© Christopher Andrews 2002