Nature is the greatest example of design we've been given and a pantheon of inspiration. Preserving it and leaving it even better than we found it is a responsibility we have to our children and future generations. Sustainable design is a fundamental part of the design process, whether it be energy-efficiency and resource-conservation, high performance building envelopes, no-VOC materials and finishes, or just creating more walkable and bikeable communities.
The culture in which a design is implemented plays a major role in the decision-making process. The parti, or inspiration, of a project reflects the existing and creates a new element of that culture throughout in everything from space planning to architectural elements. For instance, for Holy City Cohousing, in trying to create intentional community among different individuals, a parti of coral and its voluntary symbiotic relationship with an organism called zooxanthallae was utilized. From the coral came organic, layered shapes and bright colors that manifest themselves throughout the space.
No building exists within a vacuum; every place has its own unique character, history, and surroundings that successful designs must take in to consideration and play off of in order to create an appropriate addition to the built environment. Whether that be using local or vernacular building forms and materials in a contemporary fashion or scaling a building to its surroundings, the context of a building and the way it interacts beyond its walls is just as important as how it functions within it.
The ultimate end of every building is to serve the needs and desires of people. We all long to belong somewhere and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Creating spaces that allow people to connect and develop interpersonal relationships is the greatest way to serve people - the greatest good - through architecture and design.