Many old buildings were well thought out when they were built. They respected the power and consequences of the forces of gravity and water. We work to continue that type of approach.
We place materials in our buildings knowing the nature of how they react with each other and to the environment. Our Midwestern temperate climate has an annual temperature swing of over one hundred degrees. Humidity goes from low to high. This puts materials in motion. Midwestern design requires that we put some slippage into our details.
We also work to mainstream accessibility into our designs. Eliminating barriers allows more of us to use more of our buildings. We try to widen doors and reduce abrupt level changes as much as possible.
We interpret the requirements of the building codes as minimums. Consequently, we typically exceed the minimum requirements for structural strength. We find that this adds to the longevity of our buildings and to the quality of their daily use.
We work in a variety of styles. We design new buildings and remodel existing ones. One pleasure and challenge is remodeling buildings we originally designed. Architecture is a consequence of good ideas, and ideas come in many forms.
Recently, we have begun to ask the question “How will this building contribute to the community?” We are beginning to see the return of a respect for the neighborhoods and communities in which the buildings we design are situated. We are encouraged by the revived focus on community and look to help as we can.
We have become involved with building deconstruction to keep old parts in use and divert them from the landfill. We are looking at this as a component in our neighborhood stabilization work.
Old buildings have a great deal of embedded energy in them; old building parts do as well. As we remodel and add to these buildings, we seek ways for them to continue in service, and to re-use old parts as best we can.
Much sustainability work is quiet. We fold that in to our design process as much as the project allows. Envelope efficiency, energy efficiency, building orientation and configuration are quiet components of sustainability. We first look to decrease the need for energy in our buildings by careful attention to these elements.
Copyright 2010 | Ralph Rorem, Architect, Ltd. | 841 Cobb Blvd. · Kankakee IL 60901 | 815.929.2053 | email@example.com