ABOUT
Who we are. What we do. How we think.

Our design process integrates a methods-based, human-centered approach with progressive architectural systems-thinking to tackle a wide variety of projects.


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We are designers, educators and advocates.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM
We are a husband and wife team with over 30 years of combined design experience. We have distinct yet complimentary backgrounds and work on projects independently, in joint collaboration, and in partnership with other talented individuals and organizations. Learn more about us.

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ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
We are deeply committed to investigating the specific contexts and qualities of each project, exposing larger surrounding systems, issues or opportunities that may otherwise go unnoticed. Our goal is to find solutions that are meaningful, functional, and innovative.

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We are professionally trained in user research, strategic planning and architectural design. 

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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.

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DIGITAL & PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS
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.

We value the design process as much as the end result.

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STRATEGIC PLANNING
We help clients figure out “what to make” before working on “how to make it ”. The project team works together to formulate the right questions at the right phase of the project. Finding the "why" behind the project is critical in order to create innovative solutions. 

EXPERIENTIAL PROTOTYPING
Prototypes are utilized across the entire design process to pose the right questions at the right time. 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.


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Designers

Our work has been recognized nationally and internationally in a variety of media formats and a diverse range of venues.

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Educators

Involved as professors, guest critics and speakers at a wide range of universities and institutions.

 'Design Islands' presentation at the AIA Honolulu Design Awards Gala 2017.

'Design Islands' presentation at the AIA Honolulu Design Awards Gala 2017.

 Academic Exchange. IIT College of Architecture and ITESM Queretaro, Mexico 2012.

Academic Exchange. IIT College of Architecture and ITESM Queretaro, Mexico 2012.

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Advocates

We promote the value of design in our communities and encourage public dialogue of critical issues within our cities.

 Behind the scenes. 'Come to the Table' for the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015.

Behind the scenes. 'Come to the Table' for the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We have collaborated and partnered with: AIA Chicago, AIA Honolulu, Chicago Architectural Club, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Landmarks Illinois, Graham Foundation, IIT College of Architecture, IIT Institute of Design, BRT Steering Committee, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Department of Transportation, IBC Engineering, Louis Shell Structures, Martin Thaler, Dugdale Strategy, FogPilot, UH Community Design Center, and many more. 

We have worked on projects for: IIT Institute of Design, Santa Clara University, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Chicago Loop Alliance, McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, Hyatt, China Guardian, Ford Motor Company, City of Chicago, Godrej, Sabal Financial, and others.  

Selected Design Awards:

  • 2017 AIA Honolulu Design Awards, HM Institutional
  • Modern Mountain Home Award, Tahoe Quarterly
  • Emerging Visions Award, Chicago Architectural Club
  • IBM Engineering Innovation Award
  • Gold Star Award, Global Green Design Competition
  • McCormick Tribune Foundation Competition Finalist
  • Ford Calumet Environmental Center Competition Finalist
  • First Prize Award, Green Tent Design Competition  
  • Notable Entry Award, Paris Olympic Landmark Competition
  • World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition Finalist

Selected Exhibitions:

  • Honolulu State Capitol, HI
  • Hawaii Convention Center, HI
  • The World Financial Center, New York, NY
  • Pavillion de L’Arsenal, Paris
  • The Graham Foundation, Chicago, IL

  • Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL

  • Chicago Architecture Foundation, IL
  • Chicago Cultural Center, IL
  • Chicago Tribune Tower, IL
  • High Desert Test Sites 4, Joshua Tree, CA
  • The Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
  • The Art Museum of Western Virginia, VA

Selected Press:

  • The New York Times
  • USA Today
  • Dwell Magazine
  • Newsweek
  • Chicago Magazine

  • Fast Company
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Architect Magazine
  • Architectural Record
  • National Geographic
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Hawaii Business Magazine

HELLO. HOLA. ALOHA.

info@strawnsierralta.com