Our goal is the most appropriate solution—the one that best solves the problem at hand. We believe design is a fluid exchange and a shaping of ideas between client and architect—it is iterative and it is interactive. There can be no predetermined solutions.



Programming Diagram Developed during the Discovery Phase for The Palladium

Programming Diagram Developed during the Discovery Phase for The Palladium


Discovery Phase

In Discovery, we work with the client to define the program, budget, scope and quality expectations. The goal is an overall set of project expectations. This phase may include a thorough site analysis and assessment of design options. Context is considered, as well. We develop an understanding of surrounding community, and the emotional & historical setting.



David Schwarz discussed the surrounding site and the design's response during a Schematic Design meeting for Schermerhorn Symphony Center

Schematic Design

Schematic Design establishes the scale and relationship of project components and the character of the project, exploring options, vetting each, and developing only the most appropriate. The entire team will evaluate the design for compliance with LEED sustainability certification criteria.



A sectional model of the Martha & John Rivers Performance Hall at the Gaillard Center used to study a variety of design options and details


Design Development

Upon client approval of the Schematic Design, DMSAS will prepare documents to describe the size and character of the facility. This includes complete drawings, details and design specifications of the appearance of the exterior façade and all interior spaces. We consider both first costs and life-cycle costs of the design and materials. We build scale models, augmenting with 3D rendering if necessary.



The under-construction 13|U apartment building


Construction Documents Phase & Final Completion

Typically, upon approval of Design Development and its accompanying cost estimate, we work with an Architect of Record – usually on the project team from design inception – who will have primary responsibility for preparation of the Contract Documents, coordination the biding, and providing Construction Phase Services. However, this is not a hand-off. We remain fully involved until completion, providing our clients review and advisory services to help ensure that the architectural design intent, established in the earlier phases, is faithfully executed in the final project. We review that Contract Documents, bids, and selected construction submittals, along with site observation on a regular basis with a keen eye for design integrity.