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Meet Our Team: Brittany White Johnson, Principal Architect

You’ve decided to hire an Architect for your upcoming project – but who do you choose? Because the project will not only be a financial investment, but also an investment of your time, it’s important to find someone who will be a good fit for both your project and you as an individual or business owner. 

If you have a project coming up, we encourage you to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team to find out if Trio Design would be a good fit. 

In the meantime, read on to get to know Brittany White Johnson, our Principal Architect! 

Brittany White Johnson, Principal Architect

AIA, NCARB, LEED GA

Having grown up in Utah, Brittany White Johnson always felt a strong connection to the desert and mountains that surrounded her. When she is not in the office, she enjoys getting out into nature with her husband, four adorable children and their dogs.

Brittany strongly believes that in design, it is important to respect the natural environment as a finite resource. When she earned her Masters Degree from the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Utah, she knew she wanted to use her work to create a meaningful connection between the built and natural worlds. 

Today, that is exactly what she does! Brittany founded Trio Design as a woman-owned business in 2014, and has specialized in environmentally-friendly design ever since. She loves renovating existing buildings whenever possible, and works to incorporate sustainable practices into each project she takes on. These practices include paying attention to site orientation, selecting sustainably-sourced building materials, and using natural ventilation when possible.

A 5-Minute Interview With Brittany White Johnson:


What is your favorite part about being an Architect?

“I love the problem-solving aspect. My favorite part is the beginning of a project, when a client presents their problem or need, and I can solve that in a creative way. I am most at ease with a clean desk, a blank sheet of paper and pen, and a swirl of solutions in my mind.”

What has been your most memorable project so far?

“The most memorable so far had a fair amount of problem-solving. It was an adaptive reuse project – an outdated office building with a parking garage. It was in a great location, and we were able to help the new owner transform the space into a beautiful dance studio. It really gave the building new life! It’s been fun to see a space so well enjoyed, when it had been in a position where a new owner easily could have demolished and replaced it instead.”

When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time? 

“I love to spend time with my family, traveling and exploring. We love to spend time in Utah’s beautiful weather and landscape, and I’ve always been drawn to the desert and the mountains. I also have a small farm at home, and usually end up spending time wrangling chickens or children on the weekends.”

Want to work with Brittany on your upcoming project? Call 801-417-9951 or send her a message to get started!

Meet Our Team: Troy Anderson
Troy Anderson, Landscape Architect at Trio Design

Meet The Team: Troy Anderson, Landscape Architect

You want to work with an architectural firm for your next project – but with so many options out there, how do you know which firm to choose? 

Architecture and design projects are not only a financial investment, but also an investment of your time. That’s why it’s so important to work with a team of professionals who are not only a good fit for the project itself, but also fit well with you as an individual or business owner. After all, we’re going to be working with each other for the next several months!

To find out if Trio Design would be a good fit for your next project, schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team! In the meantime, read on and get to know Troy Anderson, our Landscape Architect.

Troy Anderson, Lanscape Architect at Trio Design (architectural design firm based in South Jordan, Utah)

Troy began his career with Robert L. Marshall and Associates in the late 1990’s, which later became Trio Design. Since Troy has been with our team from the beginning, he has worn many hats. He holds a degree from Utah State University and a license in Landscape Architecture, but his talent and experience extends far beyond the exterior landscapes of our projects.  When it comes to functional design, Troy is our secret weapon! 

With a mind for civil engineering, he has quite the knack for making things work. In fact, his favorite aspect of his job is problem-solving.

Troy Anderson is a Landscape Architect licensed in Utah. He holds a degree from Utah State University and works at Trio Design, an architectural firm based in South Jordan, Utah.

What Troy Wants You to Know About Landscape Architecture:

Most people hear “Landscape Architecture” and automatically think about “landscaping” – mowing lawns, trimming hedges, etc. In reality, the two are very different. Troy says his job has little to do with these, and a LOT to do with the functionality of an outdoor space. If you would like to learn more about what a landscape architect can help you with, check out our recent blog post on exactly that!

When we are faced with a project that has an old irrigation system, Troy knows how to have it replaced correctly and efficiently. If the water supply to a field or grassy area is insufficient, leading to dead spots, Troy’s on it. He may be a bit more behind-the-scenes, but his skills are of the utmost importance for each of our projects.

When he’s not at work, Troy enjoys hanging out with his wife and four great kids, spending time outdoors or working on home-improvement projects.Ready to get started on your Landscape Architecture project? Contact us now – or reach out to Troy directly: troy@triodesigninc.com.

Behind The Scenes:Utah Tumbling Academy

Today we are giving you a behind-the-scenes look at one of our favorite architectural design projects to date: Utah Tumbling Academy.

MEET THE CLIENT

Tiffany Schroeder, Owner of Utah Tumbling Academy

SOLO INSTRUCTOR TO BUSINESS OWNER

In 2007, after teaching competitive gymnastics for 2 years, Tiffany Schroeder began teaching recreational tumbling as a private contractor at a recreation center in Millcreek. Her clientele quickly grew, and in just two years, Utah Tumbling Academy was born.

As time went on and more students joined UTA, her business outgrew its original location. Tiffany began offering classes at several other recreation centers in Salt Lake County, as well as Performing Dance Center.

The owners of the Performing Dance Center had been witnessing the excitement and progress of Utah Tumbling Academy’s students for six years when they decided it was time to relocate to a bigger building. When they asked Tiffany if she wanted to move to the new building with them, she enthusiastically agreed. The offer meant Tiffany and the team she had assembled over the years would have an entire large basement section dedicated to Utah Tumbling Academy. For the first time, she could finally hold classes in her own dedicated space!

FROM THE GROUND UP

In our initial consultation with Tiffany, she explained that she needed an open floor plan that would allow students to safely perform tumbling passes with multiple skills. She also needed a waiting area that could accommodate parents and observers in a comfortable setting. In addition, she needed separate entry and exit doors into the studio to simplify the transition between classes.

The space Performing Dance Center had been considering for the building was in a fantastic location in Salt Lake City, with enough square footage for both businesses to hold their classes. There was just one small problem… the space was nowhere near ready to hold dance and tumbling practices! It was, in fact, a garage.

What was once a messy garage became the brand new Utah Tumbling Academy studio!

Our team at Trio Design is always up for a good challenge!

We saw the potential in this project, and believed in Tiffany’s vision for what the parking garage could become.

To make the building feel less like a parking garage and more like a tumbling gym, there were three main things we had to do:

  • Properly infill the walls – the structure was there, but gaps from the open-air parking garage needed to be filled in to fully shelter the gym from the elements.
  • Excavate the floor to make it level – the existing angle was great for drainage as a parking garage, but a far from ideal spot for round-off back-handsprings!
  • Finally, we had to make sure it was fully accessible, meeting all ADA codes.

 With some creativity and thoughtful planning, our team was able to transform the space into a tumbling gym dream that staff, students, and parents love.

Want to learn more about this project?

Check out our portfolio here.

Do you have a great location, but a challenging building site? Reach out to schedule a virtual consultation, we would love to help make your dream a reality.

Interior Remodel: Fall in Love With Your Home Again
Interior Remodel: Fall in Love With Your Home Again

An interior remodel will change your home for the better.

Remember the feeling you got when you first purchased your home? How excited you were about closing day, and the readiness you felt about finally moving in. The high ceilings, the fixtures, the color scheme – it was all perfect.

Or maybe you were never totally in love with your home – but recognized the potential in it, what it could be with a few changes.

Either way, now that you have been living there for a while, things are starting to get on your nerves. The placement of a bathroom right off of the dining space is driving you crazy. Your family seems to have completely outgrown your kitchen, and there is not enough cabinetry or counter space. You would love to have a home office…but there’s no extra bedroom, so working from your laptop on the couch will have to do.

It’s all making you think, should we move?

Still, you love certain aspects of your home…

 If you could just fix those few annoyances, it would be perfect.

Friend, we hear you! Your frustrations are valid. We help clients with these issues every day. No matter how much you love the color scheme, fixtures, or features of a home, the floor plan is what makes or breaks your experience living there.

It’s time for an interior remodel!

Most of the time, these small (though annoying) imperfections are easily addressed with an interior remodel. In many cases, the square footage isn’t the problem – it’s the way the square footage is being used. You would be surprised how new your home will feel after a few adjustments to more efficiently use the space!

Take  Our House With The Red Barn, for example.

Our Principal Architect, Brittany Johnson and her family were faced with an issue similar to what many of our clients are dealing with. They purchased a beautiful house with a red barn. Not because of what it already was, but because of it’s potential – the large backyard allowed plenty of space for their 4 children to run and play. The big red barn and agricultural zoning meant they could raise chickens and goats, a life-long dream of Brittany’s. 

However, there were small things that needed to change before they could really feel at home in their new house. The laundry room, small and containing a toilet, was located right off of the garage with no mud-room to separate it. There was no home office, a must-have for Brittany, who occasionally works after hours. And the master suite? Well, that was outdated, to say the least…

BEFORE: A very outdated master bathroom, practically screaming for an update!

The square footage was there. They had a large enclosed patio with enough square footage to add a mud-room, make the half-bathroom more accessible, create a larger laundry area with plenty of room to wash and fold clothes. There was also enough room to add a nicely sized home office! The space simply needed to be reimagined with an interior remodel.

Here’s what the floorplan looked like, before our renovations:

And here’s what it looks like today:

The enclosed patio was eliminated, making space for the much-needed office, mud-room, and larger laundry area. The staircase was extended, and now leads to a locked door of a separate basement apartment.

In the new floorplan, the kitchen has also been completely transformed. With a more open-concept, the large island offers plenty of counter space for meal prepping school lunches and entertaining guests.

The not-so-ideal floor plan has been transformed into Brittany and her family’s ideal home – including a completely updated and beautiful master suite! Instead of hindering the way they live, the floorplan now serves their lifestyle. 

At Trio Design, we believe the best architectural design will make the lives of those using the building easier and better.

Whether it is a residential home, office building, or any other structure, it’s amazing how different, and how new, a space will become after an interior remodel. 

Are you experiencing some frustrations with your current living space? Before you think about moving, chat with our team! Let’s look at the square footage you already have, and re-imagine it together. We can help you fall in love with your home once again.


Contact Brittany Johnson to schedule your free consultation today!

How To Create an Environment that Helps You Achieve Your Goals

New year, new space! Give your life (and your home, and your office) an upgrade in 2020.

You’ve made your resolutions, set your intentions, and have decided 2020 is going to be your best year yet. Now that we’re a few weeks in, though, something feels… off. It’s not that you don’t want to work on your goals. It’s that you just can’t get motivated.

Have you been feeling this way? We’ve been there too! Consider this: maybe you need to hit the reset button and give yourself a change of scenery.

No, we’re not talking about a vacation. (Although, that couldn’t hurt, right?)

We’re talking about giving your home or office an update!

Take a good, long look at the physical space you are working or living in, and ask yourself: “is this space designed to help me achieve my goals, or is it keeping me from making progress?”

Our Interior Upgrade completely transformed the Trio Design office.
Photo: Elisha Braithwhite

When it comes to productivity, environment is (almost) everything.

Hear us out: your environment has a massive effect on your productivity. In fact, there’s a ton of research showing that things like temperature, natural light, sound, and color scheme all impact our ability to be creative and productive.

But even if you have the temperature is set to a perfect 71 degrees, there’s plenty of natural light, low-levels of sound, and an earthy non-distracting palette, one thing could still be throwing off your productivity level: the floorplan!

This is true for residential homes – just think about how annoying it would be if you had to walk through a child’s bedroom every time you needed to access the laundry room, for example – but is especially true for office environments. 

If you work in an “open-concept” office and can’t seem to get anything done, you’re not alone. Originally made popular by tech companies, open concept offices were thought to improve communication and collaboration among employees. However, recent studies are showing that this layout can actually decrease productivity

At Trio Design, we believe the best buildings improve the lives of those who live or work in them. Your home should serve your life, and your office should serve your business. And when your environment isn’t working for you, it’s working against you. This is where an interior upgrade will help out.

Living room with beautiful interior upgrades
Photo: Unsplash

What is an interior upgrade?

Ideal for those who don’t necessarily want to change their location but still crave a new environment, interior upgrades are changes to the design of a building. An interior upgrade is done in a residential home (think: bathroom remodel, kitchen upgrades, etc) or in a commercial space (changing the office layout, for example). “Interior Upgrade” is a fancier term for what you’ll likely call your project when talking to friends: a renovation.

The best thing about interior upgrades? They can be as big or small as you like. If you really only want to change one aspect of your space, like adding a mudroom between your garage and kitchen to prevent dirt from tracking throughout the house, that can be done. On the other hand, if you want to completely transform an outdated interior to the point where the space is almost unrecognizable, we can make that happen, too.

We recently did an interior upgrade on our own office, which is now a much lighter and brighter environment to increase productivity.
Photo: Elisha Braithwhite

When should you consider an interior upgrade?

It might be a good time to consider an interior upgrade if you have felt any of the following three things:

  • You love the location, but feel like you’re “growing out of” your home or office.

In many of the original floor plans we have re-designed for past clients, space was simply underutilized. If you wish to keep your location, but feel like you need more space, contact us for a no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to look over your floor plan and determine if there would be a more efficient way to use the space you already have.

  • Something about the layout of your home or office isn’t practical, aesthetically pleasing, or bothers you in one way or another.

The bathroom is right next to the conference room, and you can hear the plumbing during meetings? There is no space between your garage and kitchen, leading to dirty floors that you’re sick and tired of cleaning? Whatever it is, we would love the opportunity to help you fix it and fall in love with your space. Schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated problem-solving architects today. 

  • You want to live or work in a more environmentally conscious environment.

If you want to lead a more sustainable day-to-day life, we can help transform your building into a more environmentally-friendly one. Reach out to Brittany, our sustainability expert and Principal Architect to learn about how to lessen your building’s impact on our natural environment.

Ready to explore your options? Contact us and let’s talk about the possibilities!

Interior Architecture: Setting The Tone For Interior Design

If you’re like us, you may be known for the occasional HGTV binge-watching session…which means you’re familiar with what a difference great interior design can make! Before your very eyes, homes have been completely transformed on shows like Love It Or List It, Flip or Flop and our favorite, Fixer Upper. You have watched as designers change the color palette, add textures, and mindfully selected furniture and artwork to create a feeling that wasn’t there before. And you have witnessed Chip and Joanna turn a sad, decrepit nightmare home into a luxurious farmhouse dream!

 

But there’s something else happening behind the scenes… these homes aren’t only transformed by interior design. Most of the time, there are significant changes made to the interior architecture.

Interior Architecture sets the tone for interior design.

Photo: Michael Browning

So what is interior architecture? 

 

As with architects and designers, the lines between interior architecture and interior design are sometimes blurred, creating confusion as to what each term actually is. 

 

We like to think of interior architecture as the blank canvas for interior design. Before you start decorating, you need to have a safe and structurally sound space to decorate in, right?

 

Think of the static elements of a room as the interior architecture.

 

If you removed all of the furniture, artwork, and fixtures like door handles, knobs, faucets, etc., what would be left? The flooring, walls, ceiling, and windows. Anything permanent within a space is part of the interior architecture.

When you remove the non-static elements of a space, you are left with the elements of interior architecture.

Photo: Steven Ungermann

 

The way a space functions is also part of interior architecture.

 

Is there an open-concept? How do you navigate from one room to the other? Where are the bathrooms located? If the building is an office, can you efficiently go back and forth between the most commonly utilized rooms? And if the building is a home, are you going to be able to hear family members in the living room as you try to sleep in the master bedroom? 

 

Carefully planning a space around how it will actually be used is important to the quality of the building, and the enjoyment of those working or living in it. 

The best Interior Architect will take the way a space is actually used into consideration when designing and planning the space.

Photo: Michael Browning

 

Everything behind the walls is all part of interior architecture, too.

 

How does the plumbing run through the walls? What about the electric wires? A trained and board-certified Architect will determine the best placement for each of these, helping you avoid maintenance issues in the future.

 

All of these are examples of how interior architecture sets the tone for interior design. The two go hand-in-hand, but paying attention to the interior architecture creates the foundation for a safe, functional space.

Interior Architecture sets the tone for interior design by creating lines, angles, and a functional floorplan.

Photo: Michael Browning

At Trio Design, we believe the best architecture makes the lives of building users easier. In the initial consultation, we take time to get to know our clients and gain an understanding of what it is they want out of their space. Then, we put our knowledge and experience into action, creating a strategic plan to bring that dream to life.

Do you have dreams for an interior remodel? Let’s chat about it! Our team of licensed Architects can help create a plan to bring those dreams into reality. Schedule a free consultation today!

Why You Should Build in the Silicon Slopes

Like Silicon Valley in California, Utah’s Silicon Slopes region has long been a hub for business, especially tech startups. However, unlike Silicon Valley, the Silicon Slopes have remained an affordable place to live compared to most US cities. With local residential and commercial real estate both increasing in value, now is a great time to invest in this growing market by building your home or business here.

The "Silicon Slopes" region includes the metropolitan area from Salt Lake City to Provo, Utah. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Silicon Slopes is the metropolitan area from business-friendly Salt Lake City, Utah to Provo, Utah. (Photo: Shutterstock)

You’ve heard it before – location, location, location! 

Regardless of the purpose that a building serves, location matters. If it’s a business you’re starting, location defines who your customers are, and how easily they can get to you. If it’s your home, the area in which you build is going to shape your entire lifestyle. Your commute to work, your children’s schools, and your proximity to the things you love to do; like shopping and dining in the city, or exploring the great outdoors, are all determined by location. 

Of course, constructing a building is also a considerable investment. Location heavily influences the overall value of your building, so where you choose to build is a significant financial decision, too. When well-planned and executed by an experienced professional team, constructing a new home or commercial building can bring you a return on investment in the future.

If you are on the hunt for the best place to construct a building right now, look no further than the Silicon Slopes. 

With close proximity to both the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, the Silicon Slopes region is home to a well-educated talent pool

The Silicon Slopes sit between two highly rated universities, the University of Utah in Salt Lake, and Brigham Young University in Provo. (Photo: Parker Gibbons via Unsplash)

Where are the Silicon Slopes?

A relatively new term, the “Silicon Slopes” region is defined as the metropolitan area stretching from Salt Lake City to Provo, the two biggest cities in Utah. 

Book-ended by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, the Silicon Slopes region produces an extraordinary quantity of talent. These new graduates are eager to grow their careers within the startup community. Many businesses, including Amazon, have sited Utah’s extensive talent pool as a reason for setting up shop in the Silicon Slopes.

We can confidently tell you that Utah, specifically the Silicon Slopes region, is a fantastic place to invest. 

Why, you ask? Let’s dive in:

The Silicon Slopes region is growing quickly, and by 2065 will have added 2.5 million new residents.

By 2065, it is anticipated that the Silicon Slopes region will have added 2.5 million new residents.

The Silicon Slopes area is growing incredibly fast.

Utah’s population is growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country, and the value of both commercial and residential real estate is increasing right along with it. 

By 2065, Envision Utah predicts the Silicon Slopes will have 2.5 million new residents. To find out what is bringing so many people here, we reached out to our friend and local real estate expert, Alicia Holdaway. The owner of Sherpa Solution, Alicia is a licensed Realtor with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty and currently serves as President-Elect on the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. When it comes to Utah’s real estate market, she knows her stuff!

About Utah’s Population Growth

First and foremost, we asked her what’s bringing all of these people to Utah. It turns out that the state has always been one of the top states for population growth. Until recently, about 70% of Utah’s growth had been coming from “internal growth” – AKA, children of existing Utah residents’ growing up and buying houses. The other 30% was “external growth,” people moving in from out of state. 

This number is on the rise; however, as companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Adobe have begun to recognize Utah’s business-friendly environment. These companies have been relocating and building second headquarters here, joining the ranks of Utah-born companies like Ancestry, Overstock, Pluralsight, and Qualtrics (among others). 

The influx of large companies has brought a massive number of new jobs to the area, and this job growth has contributed to a rapidly appreciating housing market. In the last year alone, Salt Lake County homeowners saw an average appreciation of 6.9%, and in Utah County, 6.7%.*

With Silicon Slopes home values rising quickly, now is a great time to invest in building a custom home.

With home values climbing, now is a good time to invest in building in the Silicon Slopes. In many cases, equity is already earned by the completion of construction. (Photo: Shutterstock)

What this growth means for those building homes:

With appreciation rates like this, and the length of time it typically takes to build a house, “new owners often move in with equity already gained,” Alicia pointed out.

When you build a home from scratch with an architect, 9-12 months is typical; however, it always depends on the scope of your project. Our Trio Design team would be happy to provide you with an estimated timeframe; please reach out to chat about your upcoming project! 

Alicia also gave us a hint at where we might see the most growth in the coming years:

“Utah County is slated to increase the most over the next ten years since that is where the developable land is, and Bluffdale specifically is to see some great appreciation over the next 5-10 years as the state prison relocates and that land gets redeveloped.”

Residential homes aren't the only buildings increasing in value; there is also high demand for commercial office space, making now a good time to invest in commercial construction as well.

Commercial buildings in the Silicon Slopes are increasing in value as well. (Photo: Shutterstock)

And for those building commercially:

According to a recent report released by CBRE, which details Utah’s commercial real estate outlook, all commercial industries performed well in 2018. The report notes that there is a strong demand for office space, in particular, citing record-high absorption rates (the rate at which a new office building is leased), and low vacancies. In the same report, CBRE also predicts an increase in commercial rents. 

From city life with great shopping, dining, and entertainment options to endless outdoor adventures, the Silicon Slopes have it all.

Salt Lake City offers a business-friendly environment with easy access to a multitude of outdoor adventures. (Photo: Sherpa Solution)

Ready to join the Silicon Slopes? 

Don’t walk, run! In the grand scheme of things, the Silicon Slopes is still in its infancy – but as they say about all infants, it will grow right before your eyes, and if you blink, you’ll miss it. Now is the time to set the foundation for a solid return on investment. 

As if that isn’t enough motivation, mortgage interest rates are the lowest they have been in three years. In most cases, your rate can’t be secured until construction is close to being completed; which means the sooner you start building, the better your interest rate will be. 

With this urgency, however, it’s important to avoid cutting corners in the construction process. When building a completely custom home or commercial structure, we cannot stress how valuable it is to have someone in your corner to keep the builder and their sub-contractors accountable for quality work. Your team of professionals should include a licensed, experienced Architect who can design the structurally-sound, up-to-code building of your dreams, and a knowledgeable Realtor who can help you find the perfect location and determine the market value of your completed building. 

At Trio Design, we are committed to providing high quality, client-focused service from project inception to completion. We’re with you every step of the way, helping you navigate everything from the design to the permitting process, and keeping a close eye on the construction of your building. To learn more about our project management services, please contact us!

What Can A Landscape Architect Help Me With?
Here's why you should consider hiring a landscape architect for your next project.

What Can a Landscape Architect Help Me With?

You know the feeling you experience when visiting your favorite park or walking trail? Maybe it’s a sense of peacefulness, or connectedness with nature. Now, try to recall the feeling you get when stepping foot on a college campus. How about an outdoor shopping mall? 

Each of these should evoke a different emotion. Whether it’s a sensation of calmness, excitement, motivation, meditation or a complex combination of other feelings… each space was intentionally designed by a Landscape Architect or Landscape Designer with that specific feeling in mind. 

As with architects and designers, there are many differences between landscape architects and landscape designers. If you are taking on a big outdoor project, understanding the differences will ensure you hire the best professional for the job.

Landscape architecture can be found all around you. Look to the parks, trails, shopping centers, and street-scapes.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects typically work on large-scale projects that are part of the greater community. Think campuses, parks, trails, streetscapes, master-planned residential neighborhoods; but will occasionally work on smaller-scale residential projects, too. 

To use the title “landscape architect”, the individual must have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field, most often from a school accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). They also must be licensed by each state they perform work in. 

Through this education, landscape architects are taught an appreciation of cultural resources and historic landscapes. They are experts in the restoration of places that have already been disturbed by human activity (such as deforestation and mining), as well as preserving and protecting cultural and historic sites.

A landscape architect is not only trained in aesthetic design but is also knowledgeable of challenging environmental issues that can arise, such as:

  • Steep slopes and elevation issues
  • Water retention, irrigation, and drainage
  • Energy and natural resource conservation

Because landscape architects look at landscapes as a system, they incorporate potential environmental threats into their design. Drought, flooding, and natural disasters are carefully planned for to create the most sustainable outdoor space possible.

Landscape architecture rendering by Trio Design Inc showcasing Palace Gaming, owned by the Tachi Yokut Nation.

(This image is a rendering of our Palace Gaming design for the Tachii Yokut Nation)

Landscape Designers 

As with residential designers, the term “landscape designer” is not nationally regulated. A landscape designer may be self-taught or may have the same level of training as a landscape architect (without being officially licensed). 

Aside from the variance in training, the main difference between landscape designers and landscape architects is that landscape designers typically work on small-scale residential projects like lawns, gardens, and patios. Most landscape designers work with “softscape” – our industry-specific term for plants. Through the use of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses, landscape designers create colorful and aesthetic gardens, lawns, backyards, and patios.

For some projects, landscape architects and designers may work together as a team – the architect designs the overall layout and “feel” of the space, accounting for the nitty-gritty details like irrigation systems, and a landscape designer may be contracted to come back monthly or quarterly to replace plants, manicure the lawn, and maintain the environment.

Landscape designers focus on small residential projects.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Have a large outdoor project coming up? 

Our team of landscape architects can help design an environment that evokes a memorable feeling amongst visitors, and one that is unique to your space. With landscape architecture, the possibilities truly are endless. Contact us to get started.

Green Buildings: Valuable to the Environment and Your Energy Bill
Green buildings are about more than solar panels and rooftop gardens.

Have you noticed buildings with solar panels and rooftop gardens popping up in your neighborhood?

“Green” buildings have been increasing in popularity – and for a good reason! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes, offices, and other buildings account for about 39 percent of all energy used in the US. Thoughtful design by architects could significantly reduce the environmental impact of these buildings, while also lowering individual energy costs. 

Going green is a win-win, and there are even certifications available to buildings that meet specific criteria. In this blog, we will answer some of the most common questions about green buildings… but as always, please reach out to us if you have further questions. We would love to help you!

Green building with solar panels and rooftop gardens.

Green buildings are valuable to the environment, and they help reduce energy costs as well. (Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Does my building need to have a LEED certification to be considered green?

No. A certification is a fantastic achievement, and can absolutely be the goal of the design if desired. However, even without a LEED or other environmental certification, your building can incorporate features that reduce energy and lessen its impact on the surrounding environment.

So, what makes a building green?

The World Green Building Council (WGBC) defines green buildings as ones that “in design, construction, or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts on our climate and natural environment.”

A pretty broad definition, right? The purpose of the building doesn’t matter. Whether it’s a restaurant, office, grocery store, residential home, or another type of structure, it can be a green building! The thing to remember is, while any building can be a green building, not all of them will (or should) have the same features. Each building needs to be built with its surrounding environment in mind.  Constructing site-specific buildings and homes saves you money in the long term because you can maximize the existing site elements like wind, sun, shade, and trees to reduce the energy use over the life of the building. 

Xeriscaping is a perfect example of this in Green Landscape Architecture. A xeriscaped landscape incorporates plants that can tolerate very little water or even drought. It makes sense to do this in Arizona, Nevada, or here in Utah, where we have a desert climate. In some of the other states where we are licensed that get more rain (like Washington or Florida), it wouldn’t make sense at all. The plants would ultimately get too much water and die, costing the business or homeowner more time and money replacing the plants in the long run. Xeriscaping there wouldn’t benefit the local environment, but using native plants and trees that are used to the area’s rainfall would.

Xeriscaping helps reduce water waste, especially in desert climates.

The owners of this luxury desert home chose to xeriscape their landscaping.
(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Do I have to use solar panels?

Green building is about more than apparent exterior features like the solar panels and rooftop gardens we mentioned earlier. While these are great options if they make sense for your project, there are many other, more subtle elements that can be incorporated. In fact, most “green” fixtures and features may even go unnoticed in a completed building.

Here are a few examples of green choices you can make in the design of your building:

 

Selecting Green Materials

Choosing locally-sourced, non-toxic materials is beneficial to the local economy and the health of anyone who will occupy the building in the future. 

Efficient use of water, gas, and electricity

Years ago, there wasn’t much a home or business owner could do to reduce the usage of natural resources, other than living or working in the dark. Now, there are a variety of energy-efficient water valves, appliances, light fixtures, and many more items available!

Building Orientation and Passive Solar Design

Keeping the sun’s angles in mind allows us to maximize warmth in winter and protect from the heat in summer. This is done through site orientation, adding overhangs, placement of windows, and more. These methods are easy to implement and make a big difference in the long term energy costs.

Passive Solar Design reduces energy usage by bringing in more natural light.

Passive Solar Design maximizes natural light inside the Oculus in New York City. (Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Can I incorporate green architecture into a renovation project? 

Absolutely! We can incorporate almost all green choices available for new buildings into existing structures. Some things, like Passive Solar Design, may take a little more creativity in this situation…but hey, that’s what we architects do

Are you craving a more sustainable lifestyle? Do you want to reduce energy costs from the get-go in your new building? We would love to chat with you about how to design an energy-efficient building. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!

What to Expect When You Hire an Architect

 

You’re about to take on a building design or renovation project, and you’ve decided to hire professional help. Maybe you are still determining whether you should work with an architect or a designer, or perhaps you’ve already decided. Either way, knowing what to expect from an architect will help you solidify that decision. 

 

 

THE INITIAL CONSULTATION

 

During this no-cost phone call or in-person meeting, you will get a sense of the architect’s personality and communication style. Do they understand your vision for the building? Are you a fan of their previous work? The initial consultation is crucial for determining whether the architect is a good match for your project, so it’s a good idea to ask a few questions about their portfolio and project experience.

 

Treat this conversation as an interview, but don’t forget that this first meeting is essential for the architect, too. The more details you can supply upfront, the more aligned their proposal will be with your goals.

 

Another good reason to be detailed in this initial consultation is that it is the only way for an architect to estimate the price of a project accurately. If you’re like most people, the total cost of construction is a significant, if not the greatest, concern you have. If your architect knows how much you are comfortable spending, they can keep that in mind as they draft the proposal. The first conversation is the perfect time to discuss an ideal budget and timeline for your project.

 

What to Expect When You Hire an Architect

 

How much does it cost to hire an architect?

 

Speaking of construction expenses; you might be wondering how much it costs to hire an architect to design the building in the first place. Maybe you’ve even looked around online, but your search came up short. The reason for that is some architects charge hourly, but most charge a percentage of the completed project’s cost (or a combination of both).

What if you don’t yet know the full scope of the project? That’s where our experience comes in. When you book a consultation with Trio Design, we will be sure to ask plenty of questions about the future building.  With an understanding of its purpose, size, location, your ideal timeline, and budget, we will give you an estimate based on the actual work we anticipate.

 

 

THE PROPOSAL

 

After the consultation, your architect will put together a proposal based on the information you gave them. This is your chance to see whether they understood your vision and if you like the direction they are taking the design.

 

The proposal should be clear and easy to understand. At Trio Design, we break it down into the phases of work to help our clients visualize not only what their building will look like, but also the step by step process of how we are going to get to the finish line. 

 

Our proposals typically include some additional options, allowing our clients to choose the pieces of the design that best fit their needs.

 

 

HIRING THE ARCHITECT

 

If you like the proposal presented to you, a contract will be prepared, signed, and the architect will get to work. 

 

This is when the nitty-gritty pieces of the process take place, the things that made you want or need to hire an architect in the first place. The proposal showed you the face of the building and gave you a visualization of how the final product will look. Now, though, your architect is focused on the bones: the schematic design. This more detailed design includes figuring out how the structure will be supported, where electrical wires and pipes will run, and how to make the building as environmentally friendly as possible. At the end of this process, you will have a plan for a building that is not only beautifully crafted but also functional, safe, and energy-efficient.

 

How long does it take to get through the architectural design process?

 

After finalizing the schematic design, your architect will draw up the plans for construction. Completing Construction Documents can take a few weeks to a few months depending on the size and scope of the project. During this time, the architect works with a team of professionals to complete all the drawings required for a building permit. This process also helps the contractor price and build the building or space. 

 

Certain building permits will be needed, which can be obtained by your architect as well. This process can take a few weeks, depending on location and type of building. Once the permits are established, the real fun begins: your building is ready for construction!

 

 

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

 

As we mentioned in our last blog, project management is a key piece of what an architect does. The architect will work closely with your contractor, who you may select. If you do not already have someone in mind for the job and need a recommendation for high-quality, reliable contractors, please reach out. We know several whom we would love to connect you with!

 

When construction begins, your architect will take care of Construction Administration, a fancy term for checking in on the construction team. You can expect your architect to pop in at the construction site often, even weekly, to observe the project’s progress. When they visit, they will review the work for compliance with the drawings and design, as well as local building codes. During this process, the architect often represents the owner and works with the construction team when the inevitable ‘bumps’ during the construction process arise. Doing so helps ensure local and national building codes will be met, protecting the health, safety, and well-being of anyone who enters the completed building and your project is built the way you and the design team intended. 

 

Ready to get started?

 

We would love to speak with you about your next project! Contact our team to schedule a free consultation today. 

 

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