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Christopher Gutsche, NCARB, Architect, LEED AP
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About Us

Beginnings

I first saw a set of blueprints in my third grade “show-and-tell,” brought in by a friend whose father was an architect. Blueprints in those days were a field of deep, azure blue etched with tiny white lines full of mystery and meaning. I was fascinated and from that day knew I would become an architect.

Sustainable design is a holistic synthesis of form, function, beauty, and sustainable practices. We spend nearly the entirety of our lives inside and between buildings. How we create buildings helps define the quality of our life, the joy we experience and our connection to nature, to place and to each other. Our built environment achieves its highest meaning and quality when it is rooted in place and integrates nature and natural processes.

Iconic Influences

Buildings with heart rise from the soul not from artificial constructs or concepts. Working with internationally renowned architect Christopher Alexander (A Pattern Language; The Nature of Order) at the University of California, Berkeley, and professionally with his firm the Center for Environmental Structure, infused me with the principles and skills of working with people in a collaborative and participatory process to bring forth beauty, joy, and meaning in the art of making places.

Life cycles and closed loops are the basis of life. Working with internationally renowned architect Sim Van der Ryn (Design with Nature), a pioneer of ecological design, at the University of California, Berkeley, and professionally with his firm Van der Ryn Architects, instilled in me the principle of sustainable design as a natural process rooted in the fabric of life. A deep knowledge of sun, wind, light, materials, and passive and active techniques and technologies provides the tools to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Today

I strive to make a meaningful difference in improving the quality of people’s lives now and for all generations to come. Our environment can be a joy-filled, life enhancing, sun and rain enriched whole of indoor and outdoor spaces and places. I believe in encouraging great steps and that small steps are also significant. Any step is a step in the process of shifting our paradigm toward a sustainable future.

Professional Background

As an Architect and Associate at Sim Van der Ryn Architects, I was responsible for all phases of project design and management for a range of sustainable design institutional, commercial and residential projects. At Hajo Neis & Associates in Berkeley, CA, I worked on a range of local and international multi-family and mixed-use residential projects, particularly in Germany. I developed the use of a «project language» as a project rubric for guiding design and construction. At the Christopher Alexander Center for Environmental Structure, I worked with the principles of A Pattern Language and the Nature of Order to explore and implement a “Building Process” approach to design and construction.