The Journal
Featured Entries
Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Building and Car Pricepoints
Building and Car Pricepoints
Design the best building for your budget

"Design is usually not about luxury, but rather, making the best use of available resources for any given project."   Buildings and cars are both designed and created across a spectrum of price, from low-end to high. Buildings are very different from automobiles in important ways... build...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - 400 MPG Architecture
400 MPG Architecture
Save money, breathe easy...

Imagine you are considering the purchase of a new car that gets 40 miles to the gallon... when you learn about a similarly priced high performance alternative that is far better built, looks great, and runs 200 to 400 miles to the gallon, depending on your driving habits. It uses some German parts...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends
High Performance Architecture Pays Big Dividends
Save BIG by building smarter

Once we have a conceptual design solution that has been approved by a client, we typically provide them with a financial analysis of the costs and benefits of building to the passivhaus level of quality as opposed to simply building to current code minimums. "By building to passive house quality in...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - What Breed of Architect is for You?
What Breed of Architect is for You?
Pair your project with the right team

Pretty much by definition, embarking on a search for any professional to place your trust in is likely to be a little worrisome. The prospect of selecting and hiring an architect can be something of a challenge, for any number of reasons. On the chance you may be in this situation, or know someone w...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Perspectives: Knowledge vs. Wisdom
Perspectives: Knowledge vs. Wisdom
Technological mastery versus sensitivity and harmony

Architecture has the potential to be greatly enriched with an inclusive appreciation of both 'Western' ('European') and 'Eastern' ('Asian') perspectives. This is not to say that we favor Asian style, but rather, that we appreciate the contrasting character of Asian thought systems and what thos...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth Architecture
Rammed Earth Architecture
The best walls on earth

It comes as a surprise to many people to see an architect working in the Pacific Northwest designing and building with rammed earth, which is generally associated with very arid, hot climates and low tech, indigenous building traditions. I became interested in working with rammed earth as an unexp...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Loss, Love, Architecture
Loss, Love, Architecture
It's not about buildings

"Architecture is not really about buildings, any more than poetry is about vowels."    Life is full of disappointments, small and large. Then there is loss in life, an entirely different matter. The former, time will surely reveal to be relative, perhaps even trivial; the latter is absolu...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Breathing Clean Indoor Air
Breathing Clean Indoor Air
By weight, you breathe more than you eat and drink

Optimum interior air quality has become an increasingly prominent concern in our work. Passive house interior air quality is pristine because highly filtered fresh air is constantly being exchanged with the interior air. The passive house standard requires filtration systems that achieve a MERV (Min...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Design in Uncertain Times
Design in Uncertain Times
Two options: Be part of the problems, or be advocates for advancing solutions.

No one knows what twist of fate will materialize next week, or tomorrow, or even today. We live with a gnawing awareness that actions we take - or fail to take - now may have profound consequences that are often equally unpredictable.  What are the implications for architecture in this uncerta...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Quality, Time and Cost
Quality, Time and Cost
Choose two... Then choose one

Quality, time, and cost are the three legs supporting the metaphorical stool of project management. Good project managers constantly work to maximize the outcome for a project in each of these three realms. The most difficult aspect of this nonstop challenge is that each of these priorities c...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Passive House at a Glance
Passive House at a Glance
Integrating building science to build better and smarter

The term 'passive' in the context of passive house refers to the reduction or elimination of 'active' mechanical systems. There are many compelling reasons why this is a more intelligent and responsible way to build. Here is a quick list of benefits - in no particular order:- Increased comfort.- I...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Art as a Way of Life
Art as a Way of Life
Six minutes of inspiration

A quiet conversation with artist David Secrest in his studio and home in the Flathead Valley of Montana....

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Design-Build Architectural Practices...
Design-Build Architectural Practices...
Pros / Cons

"Hiring your architect separately from the builder allows you to select your first choice for both, and to defer committing to a builder first thing, before you really know what you're going to build." ~ Sam Rodell One of the decisions you will make when you select an architect is deciding the...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Proportions of the Particular
Proportions of the Particular
Considering the particular within the universal

Questions of proportion span across philosophy, mathematics, science, history, and numerous aspects of art and architecture. Two opposing schools of thought about our understanding of reality recur in this context. One camp describes proportional systems as a means to better understand the harmonies...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Carbon  Neutral Architecture
Carbon Neutral Architecture
The 2030 Challenge: All new buildings, developments, and major renovations carbon-neutral by 2030

The built environment is responsible for three fourths of annual global greenhouse gas emissions: buildings alone account for 39 percent.  Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets. The American Institute of...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Advanced Design Technologies
Advanced Design Technologies
Yes, that's a badass Porsche - and it's 100% electric

We design using cutting edge tools and technologies to create - truly - the highest quality environments for human habitation in the history of our species.  It's far beyond the incorporation of high technology in components of the buildings... the buildings themselves are technolog...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - The Path to Health and Happiness
The Path to Health and Happiness
Health is a design issue

Health and happiness cohabit in a powerful alliance. It is a close partnership; one does not fare well without the other. Neither just happens. Both require attention, both require work. To this simple rule, no exceptions are allowed, no excuses are granted. There are no shortcuts. Anything that ...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - The Meaning of 'Professional'
The Meaning of 'Professional'
Why hire a licensed professional?

The meanings of words shift over time. In the 13th century the word 'nice' meant foolish, or stupid. Today, the word 'professional' has been shifting to refer to pretty much anything done for money. But this erosion of meaning muddies the critical distinction embodied in the term. Professional&nb...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design
Rammed Earth: Deep Green by Design
It's not a 'dirt' wall - it's a natural, toxin-free, sanitary rock wall

A view of earth from space reveals a trace band of blue - our atmosphere - just visible across the sunlit edge of our planet. Below, eighty percent of the globe is coated by salt water but a fraction of the depth of that atmosphere. The remaining surface area rising just above the seas supports an...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - My Mentor's Mentors
My Mentor's Mentors
What I discovered they all had in common

"There is one timeless way of building. It is a thousand years old, and the same today as it has ever been. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way. It is...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Terroir and Architecture
Terroir and Architecture
Listening to this place

Our present position begins with the observation that people and cultures are defined by the balance they make between the general and the particular. We feel that in Western society this balance is in jeopardy. Mass culture is becoming so predominant that the local and the particular are becoming l...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Low Voltage Electrical Systems
Low Voltage Electrical Systems
A brilliant alternative

This article is somewhat technically oriented, but it is also about the larger picture. Our design focus favors taking forward-looking, intelligent advantage of emerging but proven technologies. What we are doing 'under the hood' enhances our work with improved economies and performance - weaving ...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Why We Build Buildings Twice
Why We Build Buildings Twice
See it all - before it's built

Before our projects are actually constructed on a site, they are built first in our studios, in a comprehensive computer model. Working closely with specialized experts in each of the disciplines involved, we model every system in the project... not just the architecture, but the lighting, plumbin...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Architecture and Water Vapor
Architecture and Water Vapor
Why understanding building science is crucial

Water is one of the most powerful forces of nature, and one of the primary variables determining the durability and performance of buildings. Depending on the climate, regional building design responds directly to rain, snow, and ice, but another powerful form in which water interacts with str...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Cakes Left Out in the Rain
Cakes Left Out in the Rain
"... If it leaks, it's art."

That natural forces will act on, and ultimately destroy, any contribution we make to our built environment persists as one of the few things we can be sure of about the fate of any building. For architects, this presents a challenge somewhat analogous to that of medical professionals who, desti...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - David Suzuki Explores Rammed Earth
David Suzuki Explores Rammed Earth
(10 minute video tour)

In this short film clip, David Suzuki visits a home built with SIREWALL - rammed earth walls that are insulated, steel reinforced, solid sandstone. Unlike traditional rammed earth, SIREWALL is a top tier, cutting edge contemporary architectural material appropriate for any climate. ...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Why We Build Airtight Architecture
Why We Build Airtight Architecture
Air sealing is the 'secret sauce'

Passive House architecture: Healthy, comfortable places to live and work that use a fraction of the energy of mainstream construction. Many people presume this must be all about insulating really well, and while that is important, the amazing performance of a Passive House project actually begins wi...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Building Legacy Architecture
Building Legacy Architecture
Site matters more than stuff

Building with durable, inorganic materials such as SIREWALL means spending more initially to create buildings that will not burn, rot, or otherwise decompose. What are the implications of designing buildings that will stand for generations rather than years?A brook trout swims freely... within the b...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Dualities in Design
Dualities in Design
It's not always desirable to resolve differences

Yang: The active, masculine cosmic principle in Chinese dualistic philosophy.Yin: The passive, female cosmic principle in Chinese dualistic philosophy. Differences may be experienced as complimentary attributes. It is not always necessary or desirable to resolve differences. It has often been the...

Coeur d'Alene Architect's Journal - Design for Aging
Design for Aging
Old people are not sick - they are old

We experience our environment in very different ways as we age. Too often, we fail to fully appreciate the importance of this simple but profoundly important reality.Architecture for the elderly is a distinctly different challenge that requires knowledge, awareness, appreciation, and emp...