230 North 2nd Street, Studio 3-C, Philadelphia, PA | 215-923-2420 | www.bwa-architects.com
Established in 1988 as Becker Winston Architects, BWA Architecture + Planning is led by co-founder and principal, Richard W. Winston, AIA, who has more than 30 years of experience as an architect and builder. Our success is built on service, technical knowledge, and design ability. In projects ranging from renovation and restoration to new construction, our clients value our enthusiasm and our ability to take on projects of varying size. We make sure that we are available to our clients and are present at the job site as the pace and conditions of the project may demand. We believe the growth of our reputation is a direct consequence of our concern for providing conscientious service to our clients.
We excel at working in a group decision-making environment. Some of our most successful projects are those designed with the active participation of owners and end-users. We believe that good design comes from a team process. Working to become part of your team—understanding and supporting your organization’s protocols, approval processes, and communication styles—is an essential part of our design method. As a starting point, we welcome the opportunity of working with people of varying perspectives to create an effective design process. And we know that a process that is tailored to your needs will lead to an outstanding design solution.
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Service means more than getting the drawings done. It means being attentive to your needs as a client, as you define them. We are fully accountable to you for all aspects of the design, documentation, and construction administration process. In order to provide such service, we developed our organization and management structure to assure an extraordinary degree of partner involvement. The partner in charge of your project will be a full participant every step of the way: conducting meetings with your staff and user group representatives, directing and inspiring the design and documentation process in our office, and actively overseeing work during construction. We are available to the contractor to quickly respond to questions and submittals, to expedite approvals, and to review job-site conditions. Our firm emphasizes quality control in production of the construction documents and in overseeing work in the field. We believe that this high level of service is essential for a successful project and a satisfied client.
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Our architects have extensive experience with the nuts and bolts of construction, which gives us a great advantage as designers. Principal Richard Winston and Senior Associate Morris Zimmerman have more than 60 years combined experience as architects and builders. First-hand construction knowledge helps us to make informed judgments about which materials and construction methods are suitable or cost-effective, and which are not. Furthermore, our ability to “speak the same language” makes us extremely effective in working with contractors in the field. We view your budget not as a constraint, but as a tool which must be used along with others in the process of creating excellent designs. We have great facility with a broad range of construction and preservation techniques, and can confidently develop an appropriate, economical approach for your project.
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Minimizing harmful impact to the environment by designing responsibly has been part of our mission since our inception. In the initial stages of our relationship with our clients, we discuss the benefits of green design and work to establish priorities that fit their specific project goals. Experience has taught us that the strategies with the most immediate appeal have positive environmental impact and save the client money, usually in operating costs. Reducing energy use is frequently the first area we investigate: creating a good thermal envelope, utilizing natural ventilation, maximizing daylight and efficient lighting to cut electrical consumption, and employing alternative sources of energy such as solar and geo-thermal. Recycling old buildings is one of the most effective strategies we employ to save energy in the construction process and manufacture of materials, to reduce consumption of material resources, and to conserve open land—often with the added benefit of preserving our historic heritage. With the proper selection of low-impact and non-hazardous materials and, at times, with recycled and naturally degradable materials, we are able to avoid damage to the environment and create healthy indoor air quality. By using design as a tool for positive change, we look for ways to economically create buildings and spaces that are durable and adaptable, thereby offering utility for years to come. In many instances, clients set goals for and measure the level of sustainability their project will achieve by pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
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BWA excels at working with older structures on projects that may range from preservation to adaptive reuse. A principal challenge in most projects is the process of upgrading and modifying to meet new program requirements, to address life-safety codes and accessibility for the disabled, to accommodate general change and growth, and to counteract the effects of aging and deterioration. We understand the ways in which older buildings are fragile and inflexible, and the ways in which they are adaptable and changeable. In any given year, nearly 75% of our not-for-profit and institutional projects involves renovating, preserving, or altering older and historic structures.
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Respectful contextual design demands an understanding of both the physical environment and a client’s philosophical approach. We have completed projects that range from faithful period restoration to highly contemporary new construction, always with an eye to the goals of the client and the demands of the existing context. We aim to complement and build upon the recognized strengths of your structure. This approach demands sensitivity to the essential qualities of each building, including scale, massing, color palette, architectural styles, and choice of materials.
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A keystone of our practice is a commitment to design of the highest quality. Within BWA, we encourage one another to seek fresh insights and pursue inventive solutions. As a team, we also demand of ourselves rigor in thinking through and detailing the design so that the building is as well executed in its realization as the design was in creation of the concept. Our designs have earned recognition from clients and peers alike, resulting in our work being published in Architectural Record, Architecture, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Business Journal, Residential Architect, Venture Magazine, Traditional Building, The Philadelphia Architect, and The Pennsylvania Architect. We have received honors and recognition from Interiors magazine and various local historical societies and review boards.
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