Emerald Hills  

The ultimate arbiter of beauty is the natural world. Nature has no passing styles - no trends, no fads, and no gimmicks.

I was educated at MIT, and studied the natural world for evidence of good design. My design philosophy pays great respect to the surroundings, whether they be natural or man-made. I was a biologist before I was an architect.
Fundamental elements of good design transcend style. Locations of the sun, the trees, the views, the sounds, the surrounding houses, all are incorporated into creating great spaces and light.

My respect for the surroundings extends to a respect for building materials, used in ways that are appropriate to their nature.

My focus remains on basic design principles. I have built several houses myself, keeping one eye on design and the other on constructability and cost.
I take great pride in designing houses that are easy to build with common materials, though not necessarily put together in common ways. Anyone can design a good house on an extraordinary site with an extraordinary budget. The real satisfaction comes from making the most out of less.

As in most creative fields, I work sometimes on commission, sometimes for a public opening - with equal enthusiasm on clients' homes and on my own, for-sale projects. This practice is not so common in architecture.
Our work has many threads.

Courtyards are used to bring the outdoors in, expanding the interior.

We place a second floor towards the rear of a house to mitigate the visual impact on the street, which has the added benefit of allowing the common areas to be vaulted.

Contrast is used with subtlety to set up drama between light and dark, low and high, simple and complex.
Materials are chosen judiciously. I select exterior materials that respect the houses nearby. Interior materials provide richness where they can be most often viewed and touched, more modest elsewhere to provide contrast and, of course, a reasonable budget.

All of our current work uses a sophisticated software program (ArchiCAD) that builds a 3D computer model right from the concept phase. We use this as a design tool, to allow clients, buyers, and contractors to understand the house in three dimensions before it is built. The software allows walk-throughs as well as solar studies at different times of the day and year.

  Copyright 2007 David Solnick
   Emerald Hills