Approach

Site-Specific Design

At Whitten Architects, we believe the site is the starting point of a well-designed home. With over 25 years of site-specific design experience in New England, we approach the design of a home out of an appreciation for and understanding of the land it sits on. Designing specifically for your site will not only preserve and enhance the natural qualities that first attracted you to the property, but will inherently add long-term value and maximize your investment. A site-specific home is also a sustainable home—one that is naturally more comfortable and energy efficient. Several factors influence our site-specific design:

Existing site features.
Our design preserves, enhances, and creates strong visual and physical connections to the natural features inherent to the site—whether they are ledge outcroppings, a large boulder, trees, a field, bodies of water, or a distant view.

Solar orientation.
Our design maximizes solar exposure and natural day-lighting with respect to the specific solar orientation of the site and the home’s arrangement of spaces. We design living spaces that respect the path of the sun in all seasons, allowing warm sun in during the winter, while providing natural cooling in the summer.

Homeowners’ lifestyle.
We consider the lifestyle of the homeowners by asking questions that inform our program of spatial needs: Are the owners early risers? Do they want their bedroom on the eastern side? How does the master suite relate to their adult children returning with grandchildren? Will the guests stay for a weekend? A week? The whole summer? How does the home present itself on approach by car, foot, or boat? How does the sequence of interior spaces relate to the arrival—do the owners want to see arriving family members from the kitchen? Do they want guests to go to the front door?

Views.
Our design enhances the best views and creates strong connections between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Wind patterns.
Our design provides protection from prevailing winter winds and northern exposure.

Topography.
Our design keeps disturbances to natural topography, vegetation, and existing water drainage patterns to a minimum. We use landscaping that is native and well adapted to the region and site.

Local vernacular buildings and materials.
Our design respects, borrows from, and builds on local vernacular precedent in order to create a home that is durable and easier to maintain. We use local materials that have been proven to withstand our climate.

Surrounding neighborhood context.
Our design works within and respects local regulatory guidelines in order to ensure compliance with local community interests and "be a good neighbor."

Here are the types of sites we commonly design for.