Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Adaptive Reuse and Community Involvement

Our approach to sustainability includes adaptive reuse of buildings. By reusing old buildings we minimize material waste and resource inputs, saving our clients money as well as reducing the environmental impact of development.

We also believe participation in community projects is necessary for architects. The skills learned while conducting and participating in community design projects helped us with our design process thinking. We’ve come up with the following five guiding core values.


  1. Much of who we are as people comes from the stories we have been told as well as the ones that we are a part of. We work to identify the intertwined emotional narratives upon which we depend. This allows us to have a sensitivity to the many challenges that may influence the outcome of the project. Not only did we find that this came easily when pursuing memorial, dedication, and legacy projects, but also became relevant to single family homes and utility additions.
  2. We have found that the inclusion and productivity methods required for collaborative public interest projects are particularly helpful in guiding the objectivity and the humility required for any project. By continuing to collaborate with neighborhood participants we keep these sensitivities fresh as a guiding principle for all current and future work.
  3. We are dedicated to building form with attention to detail and building aesthetics. Thus, we apply our design sense with a responsiveness that best accommodates project challenges with client, budget and place in mind. The result of these formal applications provide experiences of aspiration, inspiration, and longevity for a project.
  4. We draw to learn, but the drawing strategies may not be all technical in nature. We include many recording processes as a form of drawing and try to improve our understanding of the challenges. Our experience in producing artwork is a principal method to the acquisition of data.
  5. We Include and work with surrounding urban, exurban, open, and green landscape spaces to provide for an integrated proposal. The “Power of 10” and “Tactical Urbanism” are two popular examples from which we borrow to innovate the making of place.

For us, architecture signifies a gracious art, a calling to service. We pride in volunteering and hope our unique perspective will help affect meaningful change in our community.

The book, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison has been a catalyst to Ian’s passion for understanding the position of African Americans in our society. The book is about an African American man whose color renders him invisible. It addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans as well as issues of individuality and personal identity. The symbolism of 1,369 light bulbs (reflective light or self-awareness) has become part of our company identity and exactly 1,369 light bulbs are included in the design of our business cards. “Without light I am not only invisible, but formless as well.”