As architects, builders and developers, we began our practice with the belief that thinking and making were inseparable. The architectural profession, specifically over the past century, has generated the belief that the art and act of building, while certainly essential to Architecture, is in fact merely but significantly the means by which Architecture presents itself to the world. The construction industry over the last century has divided this making into disparate disciplines aimed at limiting liability and responsibility in the making of architecture. The ironic yet obvious result has been a kind of familial separation of the architect from the art of building. Our work is focused on reestablishing those familial bonds, opening up lines of communication between them, embracing the risk inherent between them rather than limiting it and contributing to a culture of thinking which strengthens the discipline of architecture from within.
Our work in Affordable Housing begins with the premise that energy consumption is a fundamental concern for those with limited resources. Secondly, and equally important is the belief that inspiring design is not a luxury, rather it is the foundation of all projects worth undertaking. This idea of good design is not based on the cost of materials or the architectural flourish, rather it is the way in which a building fosters community, from the level of the home to the surrounding neighborhood. Onion Flats Architecture is leading the discussion and advocacy throughout the Country with the majority of state housing finance agencies to promote building developments to be built to the Passive House standard. As experts in this new movement, OFA is able to work with developers as architects and Passive House consultants to ensure that your financing application meet all of the necessary qualifications.
Onion Flats' origins are rooted in Adaptive Re-use. As Carl Elefante wrote, "The greenest brick is the one already in the wall". Not only is Adaptive Re-use environmentally conscious, it provides a link to the history of the community. Our experience with the successful redevelopment of existing structures (many on the National and local Historic Registers) within a diverse Philadelphia urban fabric is one of our core competencies for our clients.
As developers, we've learned that no matter how inspiring a design might be, if the numbers don't pencil there is no project. In order to determine the viability of a potential project we have become experts in the production of concept designs that test a variety of approaches to maximize a site’s potential.
From the scale of a single parcel, to a city district, to an urban corridor, Onion Flats has collaborated with developers, civic organizations, and institutions to refine a vision for the future. Master planning at a variety of scales is the foundation that allows for the clarification and implementation of a site’s highest and best use. In addition to our own professional work, we have over a decade of public engagement as members of neighborhood zoning committees that provide experience in the opportunities and challenges in creating and sustaining vibrant communities.
Onion Flats has participated in more than our share of competitions & proposal requests. As both developers and architects we have honed our skills in preparing compelling proposals on tight schedules. As architects we have collaborated with developer clients to produce diagrams, architectural plans & renderings, as well as schedules, & project proformas and overall presentation graphics for a wide variety of project scales.