• “If you dwell on the past, there can be no future… if you ignore the past, you may rob the future.”
  • — Rudolph Schwarz, Architect

Our philosophy of design is rooted in the quote on the left. We believe that historical experience provides the rational basis for design decisions. This experience has two components: aesthetic and functional. Aesthetic principles, such as proportion, massing, rhythm and balance, have evolved from ancient times. To be successful, architecture must integrate both realms. Aesthetics and function must unite, each informing and celebrating the other, to create structures that work for the users—in form and function. While these principles are founded in history, they can be projected forward as well.

Architecture as Exploration

To build upon these tenets, and indeed advance them, our philosophy revolves around architecture as exploration. In order for architecture to evolve, we must explore the multiple facets of form, massing, materials, light and shadow in new, brave and dynamic ways. For these searches to be meaningful, economic, societal and environmental forces must bind them. The challenge of this exploration lies in creating a sustainable partnership between aesthetics and function – the marriage of the two must be both practical and passionate, founded in reality, yet bold and forward thinking.

Contextual Design Approach

To implement this philosophy, GWWO believes in and fosters “contextual” design. To us, successful architecture is a response to the Program, the specific site Place and the users of the facility People . We believe that the best design solutions emerge from the context and that using the clues held within the specific site and program associated with any building will lead to the most appropriate and satisfying solution. Our buildings are therefore designed to be responsive to the site and respectful of the land. Furthermore, we believe that our buildings must integrate our client’s mission and goals into their expression. Thus, as no two clients, no two sites and no two programs are identical; no two buildings designed by GWWO are alike.


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