Placemaking & Community Preservation

We are placemakers.  We create buildings, landscapes, settings, environments, and neighborhoods. Our job is to listen to the land, to understand the underlying patterns in the landforms, to recognize how our sites relate to the human and non-human communities around them, and to weld our buildings seamlessly to the land.

We hold ourselves accountable to a succession of clients – our actual clients (who are paying the bills), the neighborhood within which we’re working, the island itself, and the planet.  The needs of all must be considered, understood, and respected.

Success requires intense collaboration. We work with a variety of landscape architects, landscape designers, and civil engineers who assist us in working with the land.  In concert with our collaborators, we discover what the site has to offer and how to preserve its important qualities. We go to great lengths to protect existing trees and vegetation. We emphasize the use of native plantings and we are trying to incorporate edibles and permaculture techniques into our landscapes whenever possible.

No building can achieve its purpose or reach its highest aspirations without a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with its landscape. This is an essential aspect of our work.

Community Preservation

Like many, we've been concerned about the Vineyard's diminished supply of affordable housing and its effect on both the quality of peoples' lives and the strength of our community. This is not an isolated problem; it is a common one, common to all beautiful, vibrant places, all the desirable places where people want to live - from culturally rich college towns to resurgent cities, from beautiful places in the mountains to places by the shore like the Vineyard.

We like to think of our affordable housing work as “community preservation.” Many of those at the core of the Vineyard civic life are people who bought homes 25-40 years ago, when real estate was cheap, who couldn't possibly buy the home they own if they had to today. They see little opportunity for their children, and they realize that with the million bucks they could get for the house they cobbled together over time they could buy half of eastern Kentucky, so they're gone, and those who replace them are second home buyers. To preserve our community we must create new affordable housing opportunities.

In our affordable housing development work, we create neighborhood settings that support a sense of community where buildings, people, gardens, ponds, and other natural features are woven into a fabric of uses and settings.  Affordable housing should be identical to the very best luxury housing: just smaller, less detailed, and differently financed. It should consist of wonderful, high performance places for people to live; housing that is affordable forever.

We have completed many significant affordable housing projects, and it has become an essential aspect of our work. At any given time we try to have at least one affordable housing project in process. You can read about several of them here: