ORA provides innovative design services to community-focused organizations with particular emphasis on the design of museums, cultural facilities and public open spaces. We collaborate with clients, exhibit and landscape designers, engineers, and crafts people to create transformative environments. This collaborative process enhances each client’s ability to achieve their mission on all levels, from community engagement to creative gathering spaces, with environmental, economic and social sustainability at the forefront.

We accomplish more with less, offering large firm expertise with small firm responsiveness and personal approach. We avoid a ‘signature style’, instead allowing each design to evolve through open-minded exploration with clients and community to create inspiring environments which express each client’s unique context, program and values.

Our Values

Visionary / Practical: We thrive on the dynamic challenge of creating designs which are visionary and highly responsive to program and site, with careful attention to meeting tight budgets, schedules, and functional needs. Through an iterative and thoughtful distillation process, the overarching vision is continually refined with a focus on achieving clarity, simplicity, and economy of means.

Adaptive / Sustainable: We believe that adaptability and sustainability are fundamentally linked: we strive to anticipate and actively celebrate future evolution and change. We seek clients committed to environmental responsibility, and we believe strongly that affordable and sustainable need not be contradictory terms.

Modern / Timeless: As we forge ahead with contemporary innovations, we never lose sight of time-proven principles and values. We strive to create timeless built environments which are contemporary while also evoking time tested traditions and values.

Community / Culture: We are passionate about creating places which enhance the vitality of our communities and culture. We dedicate a significant portion of our time to pro-bono services for non-profits and clients serving communities in need.

Our Approach

Our collaborative cross-disciplinary approach forms the clear foundation for every design process which is actively refined to suit each project’s specific needs. Our approach is founded on these key principles:

Comprehensive Information-Gathering and Analysis of existing conditions, comparable facilities, client goals, site context, and technical considerations establishes a sound basis for developing inspired and appropriate designs.

Open-Minded Exploration leads to unexpected discoveries, new insights, and a compelling shared vision. We strongly believe in exploring alternatives and options even when there seems to be an obvious answer – inevitably the study of options leads to a deeper understanding of the issues and greater insights.

An Inclusive Process that reaches out to all concerned parties enables comprehensive exploration and buy-in by all participants. We believe that listening and clear communication is essential at every step along the way.

Effective Documentation and Follow-Through is fundamental to achieving the client’s goals and each project’s full potential. Our commitment to quality assurance is combined with a pro-active collaborative approach to construction phase services. Our successful project delivery record is founded on thorough well-coordinated documents, prompt responsiveness, clear communication, and creative problem-solving with the contractors and craftspeople throughout the design and construction process.

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