Approach – Substance Architecture
Approach – Substance Architecture


Design Process

The bedrock of the Substance Architecture design process is the belief that the information that will make a building or site solution excellent exists in the inherent qualities and history of the site and the minds of our client and the project’s ultimate users. We have developed a variety of tools and strategies to research these elements and create a vibrant and inspiring set of shared goals for the upcoming project. From these goals and constraints, our team sets about to create a set of options. We believe strongly in the development and consideration of options, and iteration, as a powerful design tool.

 We work with our building’s future users to critique, question, and modify the options until solutions emerge that begin to utilize a few simple moves to solve a myriad of goals and challenges. Through many subtle and some not-so-subtle changes the best solutions reach a level of inevitability.  A good building, site, or interior often leaves visitors thinking ‘Why would you do it any other way.’

Ultimately the most effective evaluation of the success of our work is seeing clients who meticulously care for their sites and buildings and who, hopefully, call us when challenges or opportunities arise.

Design Quality

Substance Architecture is invested in the process of documenting, reviewing, coordinating, and estimating our design work in ways that will allow the projects to be successfully estimated, constructed, and maintained. The best design work that cannot become a well-maintained building is not very successful. In service to these priorities, we spend much of our energy developing complete contract documentation that is coordinated with all of our consultants and understood by our clients. 

We enjoy working with construction partners to get our projects built, and we understand that these partners bring profound understanding regarding what, when, and how our projects will be constructed.