UVa | A R C H 2013

A Broader Spectrum of Architecture

Last week, Kevin and Carrie Burke of the firm Parabola came to to speak to our class about designing within the environment, not around it.  Their focus is “toward the design of a more nuanced human experience of the built environment through the precise integration of the inestimate.” Instead of seeing the systems of the environment as fragile, they see the natural world as full of amazing energetic system.

By following the Hannover principles, their designs work toward  creating an environment where humanity and nature can co-exist.  Their home went above and  beyond these principles; they designed it so that the sun and other natural forces were used as the design tools to form space.  The roof was carved by the solar equinox and solstice; the beams of light can fall along the interior and exterior walls of the attic space.  The house was designed in section in order for the sun’s path to be the primary force.  It surprising that there aren’t more homes like their’s.  The house’s design connects the residents to the sun and the land and gives it a sense of place.


Kevin and carrie gave us a lot of good design advice.  Some of the ones that stuck with me were:

-when designing, think about the impact to the parts per million; we have the ability to work at a variety of scales

-try to design things to have a positive impact, not just a passive one

-anticipate optimization

I hope that I will be able to incorporate these ideals into my future designs.


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