DWL’s architectural philosophy strikes a balance between function, efficiency, context and aesthetics. We believe that what looks good can work well; and what works well, endures. Design and technical issues are treated equally, not as opposing factors, and represent the belief that DWL can transform problem-solving into art.
DWL works closely with clients to create functional, economical and sustainable quality buildings that fit well within their environment. We listen carefully, and we provide straightforward advice during design and construction. Our commitment to client service excellence ensures delivery of exceptionally well-built facilities embodying the finest contemporary architectural thought, and which are economical, efficient and environmentally sustainable. We value our clients and work diligently to exceed their expectations.
DWL has been providing Master Planning services to clients for over four decades. A comprehensive master plan guides the decision-making process throughout a project. It is a flexible planning tool that communicates a strong vision about the project while identifying program and facility needs, as well as developing and managing resources.
DWL has been involved in the growth and development of many significant campuses: higher education, airports and healthcare. The lessons we have learned through Master Planning reinforce the need to respond to new trends and changing times. With a limited site and budget, but seemingly unlimited needs, it is critical to develop a master plan that not only allows for future growth but also guides in the re-purposing of existing structures, outdoor spaces, and infrastructure so that programs can expand within current facilities.
BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that DWL uses to design, visualize, coordinate and communicate a project. Buildings and all their components are modeled in three dimensions on the computer, enabling us to explore design options and virtually walk our clients through their building before they make decisions on what it will physically look like or how it will function.
As an integral part of our Quality Management Program, BIM helps the design team spot potential problems, which allows us to avoid unnecessary changes later on. Our collaborative approach continues through construction, as an essential part of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), and helps ensure that we the best buildings possible. Because a majority of our projects over the last 10-plus years have utilized BIM, DWL has the proven capacity to provide client-specific services that exceed industry standards.
DWL is committed to incorporating sustainable principles into every project. We have consistently succeeded in combining simple materials and cost-effective systems to design attractive, efficient and environmentally friendly architecture. Many of DWL’s projects have incorporated ‘green’ features well before the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the inception of LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), so we assume that green issues will be part of every phase of construction.
In addition to our standard sustainable work, we are proud to have an expanding portfolio of projects that have been recognized by the USGBC’s rigorous LEED standards:
- NAU’s Student and Academic Service Building – LEED Gold
- The City of Scottsdale’s Appaloosa Branch Library – LEED Gold
- Arizona State University’s Police Department – LEED Gold
- Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University – LEED Gold
- Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library [bruderDWLarchitects] – LEED Silver
- Maricopa County’s White Tank Branch Library and Nature Center – LEED Platinum
DWL starts every project with research, analysis and collaboration. One of the pre-design services we offer is Programming, which evaluates and develops the criteria for specific spaces or type of facility. This is done through client interviews and programming work sessions. We initiate discussions using diagrams and lists. These are used to depict the project’s options and to summarize the advantages and disadvantages of each option. This visual approach allows us to create plans for complex buildings in a short amount of time, and we have successfully employed this technique with our highly technical projects.
If a client has a program already in place for their project, we analyze the work that has been done and address critical issues concerning functional and spatial relationships. Often we prepare alternate schemes, and always we draw up questions designed to add to our understanding of the project. We’ve found that users usually have a pretty good idea of what they need, and the alternate schemes and questions often serve to increase the confidence of the user group in their own initial judgments.
Facilities Assessments are the basis for creating long-range plans to maintain and/or improve an existing site. Because DWL designs a large variety of building types — administrative, transportation, educational, public safety, cultural, recreational, operational, storage — we have in-house expertise in every facility type. Our thorough field investigations provide a record of existing conditions, determine as well as interpret any found deficiencies, and allow our team to validate a project’s program requirements. We routinely report on a project’s non-compliant building and ADA code items and offer site-specific solutions in removing those barriers.
Analysis of a building for continued use includes a methodical summarization of assets and problems, along with a creative look at alternative ways a building can be used. DWL uses basic forms to summarize a range of factors for each major building space; we then chart the primary statistics for each building studied along with secondary related issues that can’t be tabulated. This includes historic value, proximity to related uses, and other factors that may be of interest to the owner. Beyond that, we evaluate the capability of a building to accommodate a different use, or to handle current uses in a different way.
Specifications Writing is not simply the technical compilation of products and materials for construction, it is the defining of the quality of those products and materials. However, at DWL it is even more. We use the specifications to add finesse to the architectural design. The term ‘finesse’ refers to the skill or the adroitness of execution.
In architecture, finesse is the artful use of materials and products – a controlled refinement that is managed. DWL’s in-house construction specifiers are sensitive to a refined design philosophy, and they can add finesse to a design through thoughtful, well-coordinated specifications and fine detailing.
DWL is known for our work stabilizing, restoring and adaptive reuse of historic properties. Our firm has completed more two dozen projects involving some of the finest historic public buildings: Arizona State University’s President’s Cottage, Tombstone Courthouse, the Naco and Sasabe Ports of Entry in Arizona, and the John J. Ford house in Los Angeles. These projects demonstrate our dedication and sensitivity to projects with historical significance.
Historic Preservation requires a wide scope of specialized design and construction services. At DWL, we attempt to understand the motivations and goals of the original building designers and treat the building with the same care that they did. We understand the interface between contemporary and historic architecture, taking into account not only old structural systems and modern codes but also respecting the very elements that make the building unique. Regulations, historic district design ordinances and certification forms are dealt with properly and efficiently. DWL’s Historic Preservation staff is familiar the guidelines established by the Secretary of the Interior Standards, State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO) in multiple states, and the National Register of Historic Places, as well as grassroots efforts at the local level.
A Feasibility Study evaluates the impact of a proposed program or project from both a financial and operational standpoint. It tests the viability of a project before any large expense is committed, and aids the decision-makers in determining whether to move forward. In fact, we encourage the owner and user groups to participate in the study to ensure that a consensus is reached and their needs are incorporated into the project design.
DWL’s experience conducting Feasibility Studies ensures an unbiased, extensive analysis of all aspects of a proposed project, answering the key questions and providing valuable solutions. We develop a comprehensive document that will identify, among other things: project issues and opportunities; suggested program and design criteria; constraints of the site and related site improvements; and estimated construction cost. This process will often produce multiple options, which allows the client to fully explore a project’s potential.
DEVELOPMENT CONSULTING SERVICES
Design Development is a process of problem-solving and planning. DWL’s in-house experts can provide the technical assistance and project management that seamlessly guides a design from concept to construction documents, clearly defining how the project will function in addition to how it will look. We do this with owner input, coordination with other design disciplines and a variety of study models. The design will continue to evolve until it achieves the level of refinement that satisfies the owner completely and becomes a project we are confident building.
During Design Development, DWL provides outline specifications and detailed drawings that incorporate all the design disciplines and building code compliance diagrams. We also prepare a statement of probable cost, broken down into major trades. Optional services during Design Development can include life-cycle cost analysis, project renderings, 3D modeling, and energy analysis and design.
DWL provides the critical Project Management oversight and coordination to ensure that all tasks are being executed properly to deliver the project on time, on budget, and with the intended level of quality. Our experienced project managers are adept in instilling a sense of accountability and ownership among all project stakeholders. This requires a broad knowledge that crosses multiple disciplines as well as competency in a variety of skill sets. But Project Management requires more than just knowing how to define scope, create timelines, and manage budgets – DWL’s project managers excel at ‘people skills,’ such as the ability to motivate team members, resolve conflicts and problem-solve. This is why our project managers are so effective, and why DWL has so many repeat clients.
At DWL, project managers act as the main point of contact for communications between the owner, design consultants, and members of the extended project team. All of DWL’s principals are ‘working’ principals, which means that they, too, are heavily involved with the day-to-day efforts of an assigned project.
During project construction, we provide complete and impartial inspection services utilizing experienced DWL staff to ensure full compliance with the contract documents. Our role is to represent the owner in all project meetings and in the field; however, this does not mean the relationship between administrator and contractor is automatically an adversarial one. On the contrary, we see it as a partnering opportunity, with all parties focused on the shared goal of a successfully completed project.
Well before the start of a construction, we familiarize ourselves with the bid documents and existing conditions. This allows us to provide comprehensive guidance and direction from the first day of construction. DWL believes in ‘preventative observation,’ a process of trying to anticipate problems and solving them before they become a detriment to the project. Our Construction Administration services include, but are not limit to: conducting project meetings and regular site observations; preparing progress reports, cost change evaluations, applications for payment certification and other project documentation; and completing project closeout and post-occupancy warranty evaluations.
DWL is committed to understanding and responding to our clients’ needs throughout the design process. An important part of this process is the interface between building shell and interior spaces. Our Interior Design staff works closely with clients to identify and respond to any issues with solutions that are both functional and aesthetically attractive. Through careful listening, we develop plans that effectively utilize space, reflect our clients’ values and culture, and stay within established budgets. Because DWL’s interior designers are part of the process from its beginning, we are able to address your technological, accessibility and environmental concerns while meeting your project’s functional and aesthetic requirements.
DWL has worked on behalf of our clients with many purchasing agreements, including the State of Arizona Furniture Products and Services Contract and the Maricopa County Community College District Furniture-Buying Agreement. We offer the added benefit of established relationships with reputable vendors.
GRAPHIC DESIGN & SIGNAGE
Architectural graphic design connects people to the built environment while emphasizing its uniqueness. DWL provides design support with graphics and signage that visually reinforces the project’s identity and purpose. We can work independently, or we will collaborate with the client to bring their ideas to life. Our designers are experienced in working with a range of different materials: stainless steel, plastics, wood and vinyl. We are knowledgeable of the production processes in fabrication and have a thorough understanding of ADA requirements for signage.
Whether the project requires striking wall graphics that add interest to a space, wayfinding for a campus, developing marketing or fundraising collateral, or creating a new signage program, our designs help people identify, navigate and understand the built environment and its surroundings.