Design Approach

Excellent design is achieved when we excel beyond baseline requirements for function, operations, environmental stewardship, cost, and schedule. By leveraging our expertise and experience, we provide design solutions that push beyond baseline requirements.

Our team of designers and architects has significant expertise in the building and program types on which we work. Each member of the team has a strong design focus and is dedicated to innovation in the field. Understanding specific building and program types allows us to advance the design of these environments. We are also interested in the design of the interstitial spaces in our projects. These in-between and often forgotten spaces offer wonderful design opportunities and are frequently where the most fruitful interchanges and interactions occur.

Our process involves careful analysis and study of the relationships between three aspects unique to each assignment:

1. People

This is the study of the stakeholders who are influenced and impacted by the current and proposed built environment. Stakeholders include owners, operators, funders, and users. It is important to understand each stakeholder’s points of view, aspirations and needs in order to produce a truly exceptional design.

2. Purpose

Purpose can simply refer to the intended use, which typically is documented by a program list of required spaces for the project. At Plan A, purpose also includes the methodology, pedagogy and/or philosophy of each space's expected use, who the spaces will serve, and what is to be achieved in the occupied spaces.

3. Place

The study of place is the study of both physical and non-physical contexts from a variety of viewpoints. We analyze the geographic, topological, and climatic conditions to create sustainable places. We take note of the surrounding architecture and open spaces. We also study the historical, social and political nature of the place and how the intended design could influence those elements.

The overlaps and interactions we find in our investigation of these three factors helps us to focus our design approach. Through the information we gather in this process, we pinpoint which aspects of the project narrative we wish to convert into design opportunities. Within the spatial and financial requirements of a project, we formulate designs to better relate to project stakeholders.

We strongly believe that following this approach results in design solutions that are acutely site-specific and addresses the particulars of a given assignment.

Plan A's Aaron Schwarz, FAIA, giving a lecture.