7 Things You Should Know About High Performance Design + Build

Miniature Green Frog (Site Wildlife) - Back40House - Pendleton, IN - HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles

#1 – Designing For Efficiency is a Win-Win

Whether or not you believe that humans are impacting earth and global warming is actually happening, most can agree that there are ways to achieve high performance design + build that are more efficient and can save money over the long-term. 

Most certainly, the design + construction industry has the means and expertise to design strategies into buildings that use less energy, require less maintenance, and provide more comfort.  So, if we are spending less money/time/effort in maintaining a property, then we are spending more time/money/effort on the things we enjoy (quality of life), for the long-term.

So if while doing the above, we are also impacting the environment in a more positive, sustainable way, then isn’t that a win-win?

#2 – History Tells Us We’ve Been Doing It All Along

As architects, we learn early-on as students, the benefits of taking environment and overall context into consideration when designing.  We study historical precedents from the beginning of recorded human history  – how mankind evolved and how architecture supported civilizations. 

And it’s no accident that buildings have responded to not just cultures, but particulars of place, including the extremes of local environments throughout the world.  Buildings provide shelter.  And thus, different regions require different kinds of shelters responding to local environments, in addition to cultural and functional needs.

But over time, traditions evolve.  Sharing is constant.  Region-specific solutions make their way to other regions and mix with other cultures.  As mankind developed new technologies, these technologies gave us the ability to control the environment more-so than before.  Air conditioning and other advances have allowed society to ignore the local environment to some degree. 

Also, media, travel, and information-access and sharing has helped create a global marketplace, allowing worldwide sharing of ideas (including design, technology, natural resources).  The world is becoming smaller and smaller, faster and faster, with information and travel at our fingertips. 

Regional and cultural design methodologies and techniques continue to cross traditional boundaries.  And overall, the world is becoming more modern, homogenized, and less local.

Historic Adams Township Map - Client Land Plot - Back40House - Markleville, IN - HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles, Christopher Short, Indianapolis Architect - WERK | Building Modern, Paul Reynolds, Construction Manager
Hayes Acres - Design Inspiration - Back40House - Pendleton, IN - HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles, Christopher Short, Indianapolis Architect - WERK | Building Modern, Paul Reynolds, Construction Manager
Historic Context Streetscape View - Modern Villa Urban Home, Old Northside, Indianapolis

#3 – Learn Globally …

From an architectural design + build standpoint, this cross pollination or bounds-crossing can result in a perceived lack of authenticity.  It can create buildings that don’t appear to fit their environment or culture.  In many cases, this is absolutely true.  However, isn’t this melding of ideas and cultures a timeless concept – eventually leading to innovation and new ways of thinking?

This ongoing evolution may be considered both negative and positive.  On the downside, traditionalists may lament that cultures are eroding due to “globalization“.  And perhaps, could this ongoing evolution be affecting the environment?  If so, how and how much?  Or are these changes helping to advance cultures and civilizations (quality of life)?  And further, are these changes improving our ability to collaborate at a global-scale, bringing people and nations together to help solve our biggest world challenges now and into the future?

These are topics that will be shaped by visionary world leadership, grassroots consensus-building, and time.

#4 – Design Locally

What can we do at the grassroots level? 

Well, despite our access to tech and information, we need to be designing projects that respond to particulars of place.  This includes designing sympathetically to respect the history of a place (culture).  It includes fitting-in to the political landscape of a place (functional).  And last but not least, it includes designing for the local climate of a place (environmental). 

As a society, and as a design + build industry, let’s continue to share information, learn from one another, and do our best to do good design work on all levels, but particularly as it pertains to environmental stewardship.

Grain Bin Detail - Rural Modern House - North Central Indiana


Entry Porch Detail with lookthrough to matching workshop building beyond - Entry Covered Breezeway - Industrial Farm Modern - Back40House - Pendleton, IN

#5 – Designing Responsibly is an Expected Baseline, Not a Unique Branding Position

These are significant topics, and we’d like to do our small part to support global initiatives that align with our locale + client goals. 

We believe it is a cultural responsibility to consider sustainability in our lives.  This is particularly true in the design + build fields.  Most certainly, buildings consume a large portion of world energy and resources.  Although we have not branded our firm around “high-performance” design + building, we take the topic very seriously, and our projects perform to a very high level.  That’s just good design and common sense, and we will continually strive to do better. 

The momentum to achieve low-impact solutions continues to become mainstream.  In the fields of design + construction, we believe that high performance, sustainable solutions will continue to evolve and become an expected baseline, rather than unique branding proposition.

#6 – Sustainability Goals Should Integrate, Not Dominate

Accordingly, it’s becoming a new normal that our clients come to us with some form of interest in energy efficiency.  In fact, many have done quite a bit of research before contacting us. 

However, it may be best from a design standpoint that these ideas support, not dominate the idea of creating an ideal environment.  In any case, we engage a conversation around high-performance design at the front-end while reviewing all project goals (Programming Phase). 

Ultimately, the degree to which our buildings are lower-impact and resilient will align with how much our clients value environmental sustainability (and eventually, to what degree government regulations require it).

South Entry Garden - Bridge House - Fennville, Michigan - Lake Michigan - HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles
Front Exterior Elevation on Approach - Rural Modern House - North Central Indiana

#7 – Sharing is Caring

As you will notice while perusing our gallery of projects, we like to tell stories about the process of design and construction. And moving forward, we will continue to be even more diligent about adding more content pertaining to High Performance Design + Build.  So be sure to scroll downward and see our case studies about these experiences.

We’ll continue to highlight the important aspects of the projects we feature.  What worked best, what worked least, what challenges did we face, how are things performing. 

Also, we’ll be adding other helpful design + construction related content to help answer common questions that come-up from our collaborators engaging new modern construction projects.

Please peruse our PROJECTS gallery on HAUS, and also check-out our construction management arm, WERK | Building Modern.

Modern Design

This link from Redfin, “How to Design a Tasteful Modern Home” recognizes the increasing popularity of modern residential architecture and offers tips from a variety of sources.  Check it out.

Please check-back, as we’ll be writing our own customized articles about the design process.

Thanks for checking out our website, and please be sure to check-back for updates.  We continue to refresh our stories and topics regularly!

Entry Bridge View - Bridge House - Fennville, Michigan