I am an architect with a decade of professional experience working in both new construction and remodeling, always with sustainability in mind. I have practiced in both rural (La Crosse, WI) and urban (Chicago, IL) environments.
How did this blog come about? Well … my interests in architecture and sustainability began simultaneously ten years ago when I traveled through England, India, the Philippines, New Zealand, and Mexico with an amazing traveling study abroad program called IHP. After a childhood in the architectural monotony of suburban America, I was awed by the simplicity and specificity of local design in each community and how the nature of people’s buildings shapes their lives. It was clear to me that good housing is essential to sustainability and that it cannot occur independent of society and environment.
I came home, finished my undergraduate degree in environmental studies and applied to architecture school. I really had no idea what I was getting into; I didn’t know any architects and I didn’t have a very clear idea of what an architect did. Skyscrapers and schools did not cross my mind. When I matriculated, however, it rapidly became clear that the field of architecture is much broader than I had guessed and that most architects do not design small, green residences.
I’ve done my best, though, to stay true to those goals. My design work has run the gammut of eco-friendly options from remote rural natural building to chic urban sustainable architecture. (Here’s a little essay on the difference between green building and sustainable architecture.)
Working for Whole Trees Architecture in La Crosse, I practiced at the natural building end of the spectrum. I sat at a reclaimed slab wood desk in a straw bale, off-grid office, heated by wood stove and designed timber framed passive houses for rural wisconsin.
Later, working for moss design, in Chicago, I worked in the sustainable architecture direction. I sat at my reclaimed slab wood desk in a re-purposed urban utilities building in the North Side Ravenswood neighborhood, and repurposed existing commercial buildings into urban restaurants and retail spaces and updated older houses into homes ready for modern life.
These days I’m living in Madison and crusading on behalf of the humble builder-basic ranch house. I want to help young homeowners update their ranches for modern living AND tweak them up to be more midcentury-cool than they were when built. Find me discussing this at RanchHouseRedux.com.