All phases of project development from concept, schematic design, design development, construction documents, permitting, to project management. Feasibility studies. Code and
zoning analysis. Special Use Permitting. Labor organization. Facilitation of owner-based designing. 3D renderings. Models. Materials research and recommendation. Regional resources, biodiversity, endangered species mapping. Furniture design and construction. Wood and joinery specialist. Event and exhibition set design and construction.
My building practice arose, manually, from a love of joinery and the tools, attention and techniques it takes to build beautifully. The exhilaration of making, the pure poetics of bringing forth form and working according to the nature of materials as care for Mother Earth remain the basis of my livelihood.
The equivalent square footage of all the buildings in NYC is added to the planet every 34 days. —UN Environment, Global Status Report 2017
Regardless of how efficiently/renewably our new buildings may function, “life” can’t abide the usual generation of energy required for the sourcing, fabricating, transporting, installing, wasting, recovering, reusing, upcycling and repurposing of hundreds of billions of additional square feet of construction materials. It’s the built environment that has long been bringing Earth to the brink. Perhaps this tragic trajectory started with homo habilis and the first tool. Does self-destruction actually inhere in human being to this extent? Does it inhere more ineluctably than our survival? How could that be? As an artist, it wasn’t possible for me to delimit my work in ways that would not enable me to address, if not redress (on its proper scale), building culture. To make meaning, I needed to be caught up in the paradox of being a builder in the throes of the very building sector that potentially spells our doom.
And the drive behind designed and built biocide is business itself, or, business-as-usual — private profit primacy. To commit myself to a whole, hopefully non-contradictory or undercut practice, it has been necessary to embrace “business” as an artistic medium as well. With whatever little I can do, with whatever little any one of us can do, to never let up — to controvert the business of building with each material choice and through everything I touch.
My definition of “artist” is to be an artist as a poet. "Architect" architects speak of poetry. "Poet" architects speak of architecture.
Architecturally, I focus on working regionally with local crews and materials. Traditional methods, site-built and handcrafted furnishings are mixed with “new” materials and methods. (And no matter how reengineered, or unethically or toxically altered, admixed or rearranged the metamaterial or product, whether a metal foam, solar shingle, transparent aluminum, light-emitting cement or cross-laminated timber, all matter is still inexorably the body of our Mother.)
My work is, first, a form of listening, and at most of form of amending the violence of construction, a chance to not waste the preciousness of resources and to turn resultant waste into source and supply. Foremost I seek projects in need, projects involved in a purpose, a social cause, vision or beneficial mission; projects possibly impossible to realize, projecting especially sane and humane places; to provide what is missing and to deepen what is known to be of value with regard to dwelling. It’s an arduous process to make a building belong where it is, to make a place no longer imaginable without it, patinated by the people who will have lived there. In my practice, it’s crucial to work collaboratively with clients and contractors throughout all phases of the project development. Ultimately, a building will be the sum of relationships that have gone into its making, with every manual and mental act of the constructing inscribed in its rooms.
Form follows not function but faith in humankind.
I can’t say that I’m concerned with creativity; it’s a consequence (or nuisance?) not an objective, and as such is already just as likely to be over-present as absent. Building as a verb is vibratory and constantly verging on the void of our forms never having existed at all. (It is miraculous, beyond belief, to be and to make a place be!) And every bit as materially as rockwool, glass, plaster or wood, a building is composed of light, acoustics, tactility, smell, temperature, continuum of interior and exterior spaces, the spirit of the workers, contractual contentment, safety, flow of the work, care for the outcome, simplicity of principle, awareness of socio-ecological justice, the interplay of details with the whole, and so on.
“Perhaps poetry is unexpected truth. It lives in stillness. Architecture’s artistic task is to give this still expectancy a form. The building itself is never poetic. At most, it may possess subtle qualities, which, at certain moments, permit us to understand something that we were never able to understand in quite this way before.” Peter Zumthor