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190 North Main Street
Florence MA
USA

413.250.7270

Nova Design Studios works on architecture in a creative and exciting way, combining the skills of the best minds and hands in the Valley. We design and build innovative, beautiful, vernacular New England architecture.

HOW WE WORK

"Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, and comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition." - Freeman Thomas

THE PROCESS

+ CONCEPTUAL DESIGN: What is the project about? What are your dreams for the space? What do the site + context tell us?  

+ PROGRAM: What are all of the specific elements that need to be included in the design?

+ SCHEMATIC DESIGN: A first look at ideas: The concept working with the program.

+ DESIGN DEVELOPMENT:  Making it real - how will we build it + with what materials?

+ PRICING: Working with a contractor to define the costs.

+ CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS: Drawing the instructions for what we want to be built.

+ THE BUILD: Working as a team to make the project a reality.

WHY THE PROCESS MATTERS

Designing a space well results in something that looks effortless.

That ease + beauty to the eye comes from its ability to move through without hesitation, to see the sunlight and the richness of the wood without stumbling. When we think through all of the materials and the way they come together, true simplicity can work. 

ALL THE LITTLE DETAILS MATTER MOST

It is often the seams that are most telling - the place where two materials meet.  By thinking through the details and drawing out the possibilities, we can create spaces where the light falls a certain way and the relationships between materials are beautiful and make sense. 

CONCEPTUAL DESIGN: DEFINING THE OVERARCHING VISION OF THE PROJECT

“While artists work from the real to the abstract, architects must work from the abstract to the real.“ - Steven Holl

What does the project need to do? What are your dreams for the space? What do the site + context tell us?  

By finding and defining the core of the design, we are able to talk about a project in terms of its concept.  A concept could be anything from the gesture of a roof as the arms of the swimmer, the nesting of pieces into each other so as to create the ultimate efficiency of space, or the interplay of converging gable roofs.  By defining a concept, we develop a language and a method by which to make decisions.  This language can be used with designer, client and builder.  When we are all working towards a common vision, we can collaborate that much more effectively.

 

CONCEPT SKETCH, HOUSE AS FILTER

CONCEPT SKETCH, HOUSE AS FILTER

SCHEMATIC DESIGN: BRINGING THE PROGRAM OF A SPACE TO LIFE

Conceptual Design merges into Schematic Design as we test the ability of the concept to fulfill the needs of the program.  A good concept makes this easier, not harder.  Instead of a simple space planning exercise, we can think about the movement within the framework of the concept; we can plan space the same way we think about materials (and vice versa). It is the interplay between the different functions of a space that make it come alive and work.   

SKETCH OVERLAY, VERY SMALL HOUSE, 2012

SKETCH OVERLAY, VERY SMALL HOUSE, 2012

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT: MAKING CHOICES + DEFINING MATERIALS

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery  

In the Design Development phase, we begin to figure out HOW to make our ideas work, and what they are made of.  By defining and refining, we can then ask a builder to price the project with a realistic sense of the size and scope, and a clarity of our intentions for materials.

NOVA uses Revit, Photoshop, and hand drawing to show you what your space would look like.  People all have different ways of visualizing space and objects.  These 3D drawings allow you to take a look inside, and to make changes very easily.  Below you can see how similar the drawing looks to the reality of the built space. 

SIP COFFEE + TEA BAR: FROM DRAWING TO REALITY

SIP COFFEE + TEA BAR: FROM DRAWING TO REALITY

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS: DRAWING THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR WHAT WE WANT TO BE BUILT

 

Construction Documents are the instructions for the project.  The builder follows these instructions in order to know what to build and where to build it.  How it is built is a collaboration between the designer and the builder or artisan.  The more the builder is involved in the design process, and the more the designer is involved in the construction process, the less the instructions need to say.  It is that kind of collaboration that delivers the best possible project.

POOLHOUSE ELEVATIONS

POOLHOUSE ELEVATIONS

THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

Communication between designer, builder and client is what allows us to carry the design concept all the way through the process and into reality.  Using the challenges that come up in any type of construction to our advantage is what makes a project great.  It is as a team of problem solvers that a builder and designer can do their best work.