MARYANN THOMPSON ARCHITECTS
DESIGN PHILOSOPHY/MISSION STATEMENT

We believe great art, including architecture, should resonate emotionally. Our work attempts to resonate at a visceral level with anyone who interacts with it. We believe that architecture can be multivalent, that space, volume, and materials can have a powerful effect. We are interested in the creation of a sensorial human experience that prioritizes the subjective, the direct human experience of architectural form. Our design philosophy is grounded in a belief in the power of dialog and relationship. Our goal is to create an innovative architecture, which elevates the dialog, the dynamic interplay, between subject and place.

We believe in the potential for architecture to engage the human subject through heightening an awareness of the physical and temporal qualities of our surrounding landscapes and environment. Issues of the landscape and its relationship to architecture are at the center of our design thinking, and our work embraces a variety of interactions with the land and site. Our architecture embodies an interest in natural phenomena and our designs attempt to heighten the awareness of the presence of nature and the immediate site, whether visceral or temporal. We use light and shadow, rain, wind, and the relationship to the ground plane to enhance the experience of the phenomena of the site and the temporal events offered by a particular place. Our attempt is to reify the "genius loci" of the site through the creation of an architecture that is locally specific.

Many of our projects are rooted in the desire to create ambiguity between inside and outside space, to "exteriorize" the interior spaces and to "interiorize" the exterior spaces. In our work we often create unfolding spatial sequences, which prioritize a non-axial "dispersal of space," mimicking a landscape design strategy in an attempt to create a spatial continuum between interior and exterior space.

We are interested in providing tectonic evidence of the craft and fabric of building. We like to celebrate the art of building, and in many projects we have been interested in the creation of a "woven architecture" that acknowledges, even symbolically, the act of building. Our attempt is to facilitate a tactile comprehension of construction as a means by which to engage, enrich and give meaning to the perception of the subject. We appropriate the pragmatic as a device to enhance the creative. Surface, joinery, connection, technique are not appliqué but rather imbedded into the principles of the architectural idea. We believe that the art of making (craft) carries an important agenda in the human experience of space. We view the dialog between space making and tectonics as essential to the craft of meaningful place making.

We believe in employing a sustainable approach in our architecture. Issues of sustainability are woven into our architectural ideas - from the level of site planning to that of the techniques of architectural systems. In all our architectural endeavors we use a common sense green approach to site planning and layout strategies. We also incorporate as much sustainable technology as possible, informed by the client's desires. Ours is an attempt to create an architecture that not only heightens one's awareness of the site, but also attempts to "tread lightly".

In our work we are committed to a design process that is collaborative with the client and the community. Although we have received acclaim for the final products of our work based on its artistic merits, we honor not just the final product, but also the process involved in the creation of architecture. We believe in an inclusive process and believe, in the tradition of Alberti, that dialog can only make a project better - from the perspective of design, utility, and community ownership. Through an inclusive and collaborative design process, based on dialog and relationship building, we attempt to imbue our architecture with the essential spirit of the community and region in which we work.

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