DESIGN for SUSTAINABILITY
The design philosophy of Macdonald Architecture & Technology is based on the premise that the relationship between mankind and Nature is embodied in the practice of architectural design. Architecture provides the method by which we organize the basics of shelter. We define our actions, and design spaces with qualities to appropriately accommodate these actions. Architecture also encompasses the spiritual activity of mankind in that building design directly affects how our dreams, aspirations, and self-image shape our built world and its relationship to the natural world.
The sense of physical and spiritual well-being portrayed by the word "home" speaks to the age old activity of making a nest where we might be safe and comfortable. The design of a secure and comfortable shelter "home" includes programmatic choices of materials and construction, these days in the form of manufactured products and code compliant building methods, such that this home may remain affordable, durable, commodious, and beautiful. These qualities require us to integrate technology into creation of buildings which can sustain themselves through time.
To be sustainable through generations this shelter must be fabricated according to natural environmental principles. The attitude of the architect towards his manipulation of Nature, material fabrication, and building construction is critical, perhaps to the sustainance of mankind itself. The waste and rape of the natural environment in order to build buildings threatens forests, advances deserts, and alters micro-climates. Architects are at the crux of this activity. Society has entrusted us with public safety, the design of the built environment, and its relationship to Nature.
It is time for architects to involve energy engineering in design, incorporating solar energy production, both as electrical power and heat, as well as earth tempering into shelter construction. Comfort can be achieved through the physics and geometry of the building itself as well as through machinery. These means are renewable, less expensive for the owner, and less taxing on the natural environment.
DESIGN with EMPATHY
Of all the feelings experienced by a person, the feeling of "coming home" is one of the oldest and most basic. The sense of longing for home, and the inner comfort and relief of coming home, are common to tribal and modern man alike. The practice of architecture today has before it a giant and worthy task: which is to consciously mold the ineffable beauty and grace of coming home from modern manufactured construction materials and methods. This task takes precedence over designiing to be published, or designing according to this or that modern, or post-modern architectural style. It is the most exciting and comprehensive of tasks to tax the depth and ability of the finest designer!
Sincere and informed empathy leads the designer towards an amalgamation of traditional regional forms with modern construction technology. Such historical reference is what we interpret as the charm and flavor of mankind's various cultures and the world's specific locales. If the media oriented lens through which architects see their work being judged and published could be dispelled, a true vision sensitive to the regionality and individuality of local cultures would appear. There is no compelling reason for the rejection of traditional morphology. Traditional forms and their ornamental programs, extending back for sometimes thousands of years, need not be replaced by the latest architectural fashion simply because the practice of architecture, like manufacturing, has become single faceted through the dominance of global contractors and international design corporations.
The qualities of built space which inspire the emotion of coming home resonate in the mind and spirit of our clients. Our client's inner being reaches back to both childhood memory and to common history when it reacts to the form of his home. It is our gift and duty as architects to evoke this emotion honestly, through the empathetic application of our curiosity and creativity regarding both the physical world of Nature as well as the social and cultural milieu of our clients.
We believe such practice to be enlightening to ourselves and beneficial to mankind at large.