design thinking and architecture
 

We are a strategy-led, design studio that creates human-centered spaces, experiences and services.

 

 

APPROACH

Our studio integrates design thinking methodologies and architecture to tackle a wide array of projects.

 
 
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Professionally trained at IIT's Institute of Design (the New Bauhaus), we help clients figure out “what to make” before working on “how to make ”.

 

Design leader Patrick Whitney suggests a "third way". A process that combines both "rigor and creativity" is needed to tackle the issues that face us today, "a methods-based, human-centered approach to global challenges". Strawn + Sierralta follows this lineage of thought and integrates design methodologies with architecture's systems-thinking approach.

USER RESEARCH

We conduct generative user research, from in context, one-on-one interviews with end users to co-creation sessions with client stakeholders. Discovering what users value and how they navigate through the world is the foundation for every project.

CASE STUDY

service design

Today, services are more complex than ever, often blending multiple digital ecosystems with a series of spatial settings. Unpacking these hybrid journeys and sharing them in highly visual and approachable ways allows the project team to design breakthrough user experiences.

CASE STUDY

prototyping

Experiential prototypes move projects forward faster. Bringing them into the process as early as possible allows users to give feedback when cost of discovery is low. Prototypes are utilized across the entire design process to pose the right questions at the right time. 

CASE STUDY

 
 

NEWS & WORK

Inside Out" featured in the "50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards" exhibit envisioning Chicago's future and celebrating the Chicago Architecture Foundation's 50th Anniversary.

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Strawn + Sierralta's work ranges from strategic planning for learning institutions, to service design for healthcare, to generative user research for innovation initiatives, to the design of prototypes of spatial environments, to architectural design.

CURRENCIES OF ARCHITECTURE

A competition, exhibit and series of events questioning the state of the art of architecture today. This partner program for the  2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial celebrates the Chicago Architectural Club's 130th Anniversary.

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MARINA CITY LIVE/WORK

Reimagining the future of urban living through the design of a dwelling in a mid-century icon.

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9/11 MEMORIAL

Memorial to remember and honor the victims of the terrorist attacks of Feb 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 to be located in the World Trade Center Site in New York City.

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ABOUT

We are a husband + wife design team.


BRIAN STRAWN

SERVICE DESIGNER + DESIGN STRATEGIST

Brian grew up on a family farm in rural Illinois and went on to start up an Architectural Experience Design (AXD) department in an innovation consultancy. Brian specializes in Service Design for Spatial Environments.

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KARLA SIERRALTA

ARCHITECT + EDUCATOR

Karla grew up on the Caribbean coast of Venezuela and studied under a Fulbright Scholarship in Environmental Studies. Her research focuses on Inhabitation and Endemic Tropical Design. 

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We work on projects independently, in joint collaboration, and in partnership with other talented individuals and organizations. 

 

ADVOCACY

As architects dedicated to healthy and livable communities and guided by scientific consensus and reason, we advocate for action on Climate Change.

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SCHOLARSHIP

Sierralta joins faculty at University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's School of Architecture in Honolulu.


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LEADERSHIP

Strawn + Sierralta are active members of the design community, including serving as Co-Presidents of the Chicago Architectural Club from 2012-2014.

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