Who We Are

S.H.E.D. is a full-service design-to-build organization, which emphasizes adaptive, whole-systems approaches to local development. We customize our design process based on the needs of each project, bringing together an integrated team of researchers, systems designers, project managers, construction specialists, and local craftspeople. We pride ourselves on our commitment to quality, community, and consideration of the long-term impacts of our work. Additionally:

We believe that design should be thoughtful. At the beginning of each process, we outline in detail all of the social, ecological, economic, and technological considerations that are important to a project.

We believe that design should be transparent. We involve our clients in every step of decision making, and openly discuss how to best allocate project resources.

We believe that design should be co-generative. Whether we are developing a family home, a commercial office, or a community farm, we work directly with the people who will ultimately use these places, and ensure that the interests of all generations are met.

We believe that design should be inclusive. Great design can bring people together, enriching social networks, enabling civic participation, and celebrating diversity.

We believe that design should be authentic. Our designs are rooted in a systems-based analysis of communities and ecosystems. Rather than overwriting these systems with our own creative vision, we seek to reveal their unique qualities.

We believe that design should be resilient. In our view, resilient places cultivate reciprocal benefits between nature and culture.

We understand that places change with time. We recognize that the use of a place can vary over the course of a day, a season, a year, and a decade. We appreciate that communities and ecosystems evolve, as do their needs. A central part of our approach to design is imagining the various stages of transition that a property might undergo, over the long-term, and accommodating for this in our systems planning. For example, these changes might accompany the growth of a family, business, community, or municipality. To anticipate and design for these possibilities, we engage our clients in processes of long-range scenario planning.

And finally, we accept that we don’t yet have all of the answers. Global sustainability challenges are complex. As much as we aim to apply best practices in sustainable design, in all of our work, we also continue to question our assumptions about how to arrive at a future that we want to live in.