On January 1st, Rhodeside & Harwell celebrated 30 years in business. Deana, Elliot and Faye founded the firm in 1986 with a strong guiding philosophy and a commitment to high quality, innovative, and multidisciplinary work. They have remained true to that aspirational vision and have continued to build it over the years. As our firm reflects on 30 years of success, it has been valuable to think back to those founding values, reaffirming and expanding upon them as we begin another 30 years of enriching the world around us.
This past year, our firm rededicated itself to the values that have guided our work and will continue to motivate us in the future. These are expressed in a set of six Core Values that encapsulate our passions and talents, and articulate the goals that drive us both personally and professionally. Over the coming months, we will undertake a deeper exploration of each Core Value and what it means to our firm, how it manifests itself in our work, and how each one impacts the broader goals of our professions and fields.
Here is a brief expression of Rhodeside & Harwell’s 6 CORE VALUES:
As landscape architects, planners and urban designers, our work moves freely between those more traditional labels. We approach challenges holistically, drawing on a broad range of expertise to create solutions that place people at the center. From detailed gardens and streetscapes to thriving communities and transportation networks, we ground our work in the everyday experiences of people, their cultures and their needs.
Every place tells a different story, and every project presents a unique challenge. Through our experience working in a variety of places, and with many different communities, we have learned to define opportunities within the real-world constraints that arise through the planning and design process. Our team gathers, synthesizes, and analyzes information at multiple scales, from different perspectives, and through the lens of different disciplines to understand the history and context of each site. Through this strategy, we create meaningful, inspirational, and lasting places.
Details matter. We craft connections at all scales. From the garden to the region, and from the streetscape to the city, we create meaningful and lasting places. We approach our work as a craft, and are mindful of how the smallest design decisions influence people’s experience of, and connections to, places large and small. To translate our designs into durable and meaningful built projects, we follow the details from concept to construction while serving as a bridge between clients, contractors and communities.
We believe historic landscapes are the foundation of cutting edge design, and that knowledge of the past fuels future innovation. Historic landscapes are living, interactive classrooms that should continue to educate and challenge us to think critically about our modern surroundings. We work to balance thoughtful preservation and sustained relevance in all of our projects.
Engagement is the foundation of our work, from planning to design to implementation. This exchange of information between the planning and design team and people in the community is a valuable resource for observations and ideas. We believe the most enduring projects result from clients and communities actively participating in shaping the places they experience. To this end, we help people re-imagine their communities and embrace the opportunities that come with change. We shape our process around the community’s/client’s values, priorities, and needs. By blending innovation with pragmatism and shared ideals, we deliver lasting, implementable results.
Creating “lively places” is complicated. In the office and through our collaboration with others, we celebrate and foster creative problem-solving while embracing the intricacies of place. We take pride in our ability to communicate across disciplines and translate technical details, so that clients and communities can make informed decisions about complex issues. Visually and through the written word, we help frame the challenges, synthesize visions, and generate enthusiasm for solutions that matter.
As Jan Gehl has noted: “First life, then spaces, then buildings – the other way around never works.”
In the coming months, we will delve into each of these values with the goal of exploring their importance to our work, and how they fit into broader trends in planning and design.
January 27, 2016