Shoptalk - Chadbourne+Doss Architects

Q: Chadbourne + Doss Architects was founded in 2001. What were the firm’s original intentions, and how has the practice developed?

We started our firm with an intention to stay small, provide full service, and remain personally hands-on in every aspect of the architectural process from design through construction. With this approach, we are limited in the number of projects that we can take on. Over time, we have found that we are able to be more selective and find projects that are a good fit personally and professionally. Since we typically spend a few years with our clients, we want the process to be fun, rewarding, and successful for everyone.

Q: As a husband and wife firm, how do you work together?

We work collaboratively on every project, partly because we are a small firm, but also intentionally. We have a process that is iterative and critical. We each constantly push the design forward. Our collaborative process also involves the whole team, including the client and contractor. We are searchers and ideators rather than didacts. We express strong and sometimes different opinions and find that this creates an open dialog that allows everyone to voice their opinions and ideas. This results in the best ideas rising to the top with a deep knowledge and a thorough commitment to the project.

Q: What projects are you currently excited about working on?

All of them of course! We’re working on a couple small homes on dense urban sites, including one for ourselves. We’re interested in the challenges of designing spaces that don’t necessarily rely on a view or a beautiful natural site. Projects that have challenging problems to solve, such as steep slope or unusual program, are of interest to us.

Q: You have completed an adaptive re-use of an historic marine industrial compound. Do you feel that your firm is particularly suited to these types of projects?

With every project, we strive to create an environment that is unique to its user and place. With historic buildings, we embrace the rich context to work with. We love accentuating the contrasts between new and old through form, materials, and details. These projects are often successful because of the appreciation for the historic architecture, and the design is made accessible and further emphasized by the new work.

Q: How do you feel your backgrounds and upbringings have shaped your design principles and philosophies?

Both of us grew up around creative building and have worked on construction sites. This practical knowledge and experience have informed our design and detailing. Our work, travel, and education have given us each different strengths and perspectives. We find that our collaborative process pushes and reveals our differences and promotes progressive design.

Q:Best way to spend a long weekend in the Northwest?

Spending time at our place in Astoria, Oregon - surfing, swimming, eating, and sitting in the hot tub watching the Columbia River roll by.

Q: Favorite travel destination for inspiration?

We have spent a lot of time in Asia, and we went to Japan this year. We are always inspired by how dense urban living can be, and how much design per square foot can be accomplished in quality living spaces that are primarily internally focused. It is especially interesting to see the various strategies to create an indoor-outdoor connection on compact urban sites. Ultimately, we strive to travel with open eyes in our everyday environments, to find poetic inspiration in the mundane.