Our Design Principles
“The belief that good design is optional, or in some way separate from the question of the provision of office space itself, does not bear scrutiny, and in fact invites the least efficient use of public money.”—Patrick Moynihan
Mr. Moynihan’s “Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture,” are timeless and strongly reflect the unwritten design values we preach here at WRA for designing schools. Inspired by these principles, we felt it was time to document our ideals.
- Design a secure environment to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the students, faculty and administration.
- Design sturdy, efficient buildings that are cost-effective to construct, operate and maintain. Strive to always be good stewards of the public’s investment.
- It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, however, the general aesthetic should reflect the values of the community that the architecture represents.
The first step in any project is a thorough analysis of the site and general surroundings. Topography, proper solar orientation, and other physical aspects should be studied and should influence the design. The impact the new building will have on the neighborhood, adjacent spaces and structures should be considered. It is a goal to complement and enhance the overall environment. Multi-story options should be taken into consideration for their efficient use of site space and contributions to the environment through on-site water absorption. Landscape design should be an integral part of the initial design concepts for psychological and sustainable reasons.
WRA advocates contemporary architectural thought; that is to say, leveraging current technology and discovery in every aspect of designing a building. Specific design methodologies such as regionalism, sustainability, security, accessibility, and healthy buildings are evolving and should be incorporated into designs. Patterns, materials and variations on stylistic themes should be consistent throughout the facility to maintain overall design cohesiveness. Input from contractors, tradesmen, and facility managers should influence the development of construction details. Constructability and maintainability are hallmarks of WRA designs.
WRA does not have or believe in a single office “style.” A design style must always begin with the values of the stakeholders, the context of the building and the thoughtfulness of the designer. We are realistic that additional time must be invested by the firm to avoid excessive standardization, but believe the societal benefits outweigh the motive of profit. Office pin-ups shall occur regularly to solicit ideas from all experience levels in the firm. Every project deserves ingenuity and creativity.