Studio 101 Designs holds the view that the places we live should be useful and functional, beautiful, and durable. These are principles laid out by Vitruvius 2,000 years ago which have guided architects ever since. However, the unstated framework of those principles has always been the constraining economics of time and resources. Today, perhaps more than ever, we are seeing the pressure of those constraints as the world's rate of economic expansion seems to be nearing its limits. We believe the recent economic downturns around the globe are evidence of this unsustainable growth hitting a wall. Our approach is to acknowledge these constraints, and to try to live within them – not to press outward on them. We choose to focus on making buildings that not only aspire to the Vitruvian ideal, but also minimize consumption of resources, time, and energy, both during and after construction. Our strategy is to work closely with clients and builders (on site and at the factory, as the case may be) to design efficient, simple spaces that accommodate multiple uses wherever possible, using materials, methods, and forms that minimize life cycle cost.
We design both prefabricated modular as well as custom site-built houses. Our experience and collaboration with acclaimed prefab-green pioneer Michelle Kaufmann and with factory partners (including Blazer Industries) have convinced us that sustainable prefab modular building is not only feasible, but a potential solution to inefficiencies inherent in traditional construction methods. Having said that, there are situations which require custom site-built solutions for various reasons, and we approach those projects with the same design ideals.
Overall, at Studio 101 Designs, our philosophy is: do more with less.
Our country, and the world, has been on a pace of economic growth which is predicated partly on cheap energy. Whatever one's thoughts are on the 'peak oil' phenomenon, it seems to us ever more likely that one way or another, at some point traditional fossil fuel energy costs are going to rise. The growth in resource consumption we have experienced over the past century is simply not sustainable. We feel that either with or without policy changes at the highest levels, our only choice to prepare for the future, as individuals, is to change the way we live.
Our design approach, honed during our years at Michelle Kaufmann Designs and in ongoing partnership with Michelle Kaufmann Studio, presents an alternative to the thoughtless consumption present in many home designs, while still providing beautiful, simple, and useful environments to inhabit. At Studio 101 Designs, we strive to do these things:
At Studio 101 Designs, we are experts at prefabricated modular design, having guided over 30 projects from start to completion while serving as project leads at Michelle Kaufmann Designs; projects located in jurisdictions throughout the Bay Area, California, and beyond. Our team’s combined experience and expertise in the area of modern sustainable prefab houses make us leaders in the industry: Studio 101 Designs has a rare combination of deep knowledge of factory production issues coupled with a thoughtful design sensibility.
There are several reasons to consider a prefabricated home.
The aspects of things that are most important to us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.
A common theme among our clients over the past few years has been a desire for simplicity in their homes and lives. We can relate. Life can be complicated; it makes sense that one's home should help ease the burden, both psychologically and philosophically.
At the same time, we believe a home should manifest simplicity by supporting a more direct connection to life. The burden of complexity is not that of hard work per se, rather it is the stress of dependency on a huge unmanageable system which may or may not have one's best interests at heart. In other words, an amount of self-sufficiency is beneficial, even if (or maybe because) it means one has to put forth a little more effort. Those who have chosen to go "off grid" probably understand this best, but even small acts such as growing a garden can bring some simplicity back into one's life.
Simplicity is an exact medium between too little and too much.
--Sir Joshua Reynolds
Our name, Studio 101 Designs, refers to our back-to-basics attitude toward design. We eschew gratuitous complexity in our building forms and in their details; we believe this in turn contributes to lower life-cycle costs for house and owner. Focusing on ways to make buildings reduce the consumption of energy and resources leads not only to simplifying building forms, materials, and details, but also to incorporating as many passive means for maintaining comfort as possible: proper orientation, daylighting, solar heating and shading, cross-ventilation, etc.
If a client wishes to go totally off-grid with a solar photovoltaic system, well and septic, graywater reuse, and propane tank for backup, we say "let's go for it!" There may be some higher upfront costs, but over the long term costs will be lower, and life will be free from dependency on utilities in an environment where future costs and availability of fossil fuels are uncertain.
Confusion and clutter are the failure of design, not the attributes of information.
--Edward R. Tufte
Beyond the energy theme, there is another aspect of simplicity we recognize. We believe in home environments that have well-proportioned spaces, pleasing materials, multiple uses with a minimum of hallways, and connections to the outdoors. Spaces and forms should be clean, simple, and by their beauty and usability provide for meaningful experiences.
With over 13 years of diverse professional architectural experience, Scott founded Studio 101 Designs with a focus on clean, efficient, sustainable design and an unwavering commitment to client satisfaction.
Since receiving degrees in Architecture and City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley, he has contributed to the successful completion of projects of all types and sizes, throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Early in his career, Scott worked as a Designer for CAS Architects and was involved in a variety of challenging commercial, retail, and high-tech projects for clients including Hewlett Packard and Applied Materials. For a short time, he explored a career path tangential to his architectural one as a Strategic Account Manager at San Francisco's Bidcom, Inc. (now Citadon, Inc.), a leading provider of web-based project management software for the construction industry. Scott soon found himself missing the reward of delivering successful projects to satisfied clients, and took a position at a small architectural firm in Sonoma County. As that firm’s Senior Associate, he managed a broad spectrum of residential, commercial and light industrial projects through all phases of design and construction.
Most recently, with Michelle Kaufmann Designs - in his dual roles of Senior Project Manager and Director of Architecture - Scott applied his substantial design and technical knowledge to help develop that firm into one that is synonymous across the world with modern, sustainable, modular design and construction. Scott’s commitment to clients and his ability to put himself in their shoes resulted in the successful completion of roughly 80% of MKD homes in the 5 years of the firm’s existence.
Scott knows the value of building a strong, well-rounded team and has done so at Studio 101 Designs. Keeping together the core of a great team he helped build at MKD, Scott’s focus continues to be on the clients and making sure that their needs, goals, interests and met and satisfied every time.
Scott lives with his wife, 2 sons, and golden retriever Yogi, at their home in northern California. He wears the many hats of little league baseball and soccer coach, avid Cal Bears fan and occasional golfer.
Levi has 10 years of experience as an architect and as a real estate project manager. He received a Bachelor’s in Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Masters in Real Estate Development from Columbia University. Levi is a registered architect in New York State.
Levi brings a wide range architectural experience, from site-built & pre-fabricated single family housing in the Bay Area, to large scale multi-family and mixed use projects New York City. Levi has lived roughly half of his life in New York and half in San Francisco, which is always causing him an identity crisis.
His experience is real estate development was as a development project manager on multi-family & commercial properties in San Francisco. He primarily focused on financial analysis, project entitlement, and construction coordination/administration.
Levi’s newest hobby is hanging out with his newborn daughter. He has completed seven marathons, and the best sporting event he ever competed in was swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco in the "Escape from the Rock Triathlon".
Born and raised in Iowa, James has been deeply influenced by the rural built environment. The efficiency, durability, and functional beauty of the Midwest buildings/landscape, which seemed to belong exactly in their place and perform exactly the function for which they were designed, imprinted James with the belief that the design of architecture is as much a cultural process as a material one.
James studied architecture at Iowa State University under a diverse faculty of gifted educators. Graduating in 2003, he spent a year in the field working for a local Iowa general contractor - further developing his passion for building and knowledge of the project delivery process. After making his way to the West Coast, James worked for firms in Fresno and Los Angeles gaining experience in a wide range of projects from elementary schools and hospitals to tenant improvements and furniture design.
James comes to Studio 101 Designs after 2+ years at one of the most acclaimed modular design/construction firms in the country, Michelle Kaufmann Designs. As part of the team at MKD, James played an integral role in the design and construction of several of their most successful projects, including 2 high-profile projects completed for public exhibitions in San Francisco and Chicago.
Oh…and he was also in the U.S. Marine Corps.