Community – The Power of Place
KSS values the building of human relationships as much as the building of stone and steel. We are experts at building bonds between people and project, and client and community, ultimately believing that the essence of community is centered on place. To foster such community and to reflect its richness and diversity, we create thoughtful and vibrant places of education, culture and commerce for children and adults to learn and grow, work and succeed.
It is because we believe so fervently in the empowerment of environment that we continually strive to excel at weaving this sense of purpose and place together: learning environments that change size and shape to support collaboration and camaraderie, cultural spaces of mixed-use for neighbors of all ages to meet, dine, shop and socialize, workplace transformations that encourage grand thoughts and support great actions.
It is through our thoughtfully crafted relationships between people and architecture that we believe a fabric of community can be woven, strengthened and broadened. A great place can not only bring a group of students, neighbors or co-workers together, but inspire it to do remarkable things.
A Master Plan covers missions and goals, land use and open space, resources and facilities, circulation, recreation and implementation. It should be flexible, versatile and dynamic. But perhaps more importantly, a Master Plan must create a sense of purpose, clarity and a way forward. It should put forth a vision that enhances the character of an organization’s campus and facilities while supporting its mission and strategic plan. It can, and should be, laborious in its research and detail, but if properly put into place, should also produce great dividends for many years to come.
Site analysis is of equal importance to a Master Plan as the right site location and orientation brings immeasurable added-value to a project. Successful site selection requires tenacity in search, thorough analysis of acquisition, and a methodical and imaginative program fit and orientation. It should also capitalize on opportunities to preserve, renovate, and enliven older buildings, as the relationships that are created between that which is old and that which is new are critical to a comprehensive, inclusive, ever-evolving Master Plan.
Inherent in achieving a sense of place is the conveyance of identity. It is as much an internal reinforcement of brand as it is an expression to the outside world.
While the representation of identity tends to be visual, we also strive to impart its essence – what a company is about, what an institution embodies, what a university stands for. Logos and graphics tackle part of the job – but we strive to use our tools of architecture to impart a sense of place, a feel for mission, and an opportunity for community to form and thrive.
Inspiring, beautiful design is synonymous with sustainability. Across markets, at varying scales, we sensitively integrate new buildings into their natural surroundings while minimizing environmental impact. Sometimes, “the greenest building is the one already built,” and care is taken to conserve existing materials while increasing energy efficiency to give an old structure new life. With each project, we grow our understanding of how the built and natural environments can co-exist symbiotically. Success is measured by how well a project respects its natural surroundings, how minimally it uses non-renewable resources, how resilient it is to the adapting conditions of its site, and how it contributes to strengthening the surrounding community. With each project, we ask ourselves: how small can our ecological footprint be? How great our social impact?