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

We are designers, educators and advocates. 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

Focused on human-centered spaces, experiences and services. 

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TEAM

With over 35 years of design experience combined, we are a husband and wife team with distinct yet complimentary backgrounds. We work on projects independently, in joint collaboration, and in partnership with other talented individuals and organizations. Learn more about us.

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STRATEGIC THINKING

Our hybrid practice merges design strategy and conceptual design. 

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Multidisciplinary Team 

Professionally trained in design research methodologies, strategic planning and architectural design. 

RESEARCH-BASED DESIGN

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.

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. 

Process First

Valuing the importance of processes and research methodologies, as well as end results. 

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INNOVATION

We help clients figure out “what to make” before working on “how to make it ”. We are deeply committed to investigating the specific contexts and qualities of each project. Our goal is to find solutions that are meaningful, functional, and innovative.

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DIGITAL & PHYSICAL

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.


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Educators

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

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Advocacy

Promoting the value of design in our communities and debating critical issues within our cities.

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Recognition

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

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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