Architecture as a real practice (at least from my experience)… my background for thirty some years has been in residential architecture, designing interiors, renovations, additions & new builds, both in urban/city settings (attached town homes, typically) & suburban type contexts (newer or older green areas with stand alone detached houses). While Philadelphia is a city based on many vernacular traditions, the stylistic preferences these days are as diverse as the imagination & taste of my clients, who are more involved than ever in coming to the proverbial design table with many images culled from books, magazines, travels & the internet that inform and reflect both their design & layout preferences.

I see my role as leading them down the path to the best planning & aesthetics that I can imagine for their new home. Typically, after reviewing images, we tackle their program, that is the type of spaces they want/their use, how big these need to be & how they interrelate (or not). It is like a jigsaw puzzle that needs to be assembled in a meaningful useful way so how they live will be as seamless as possible. Ultimately, this is typically a collaborative process with lots of back & forth and revisions till we find the right plans floor by floor that connect & flow just so. The “look” of the exterior is very important… this is the face of the project. In a town home, this is typically a front & rear facade. On a stand alone house, this is all facades. Finally, where & when we can play with volumes in a 3­D way can be the most sculptural fun of all.

All the phases of the design process are important. Most important of all is good open/non- judgmental communication with the client at all times. Often, letting them know what is not possible is hard, but it is very important to be honest about what the site or budget can offer, both the possibilities & constrictions. In all of my designs, I strive for a truly custom resolution both pragmatically & aesthetically. Never, have I repeated the same design twice even when the program was almost identical to another previous project. The site, the clients’ desires, their funding guidelines… all blend together to create an authentic “bespoke” solution.

Here is project of mine that I believe illustrates this point, a spec row home in the Transitional style that I & two partners are almost done building in SW Philadelphia where we are seeing a renaissance of urban renewal…