our services

CKd is a full-service architectural firm with expertise in all types of design and planning on both an institutional and a residential level. We provide a full range of services to allow you reach your own design goals, helping you to expertly navigate through the complexities of the planning, design, and construction process.

architectural design

Why hire an architect? We do more than just draw up plans for your building; we provide comprehensive services which help you move through the entire design and building process with ease. Whether it be an institutional or residential project, our priorities to the client stay the same. We always help you find what you need, expertly design a solution, and ensure that you construct the best building possible all the way through to completion. We also have particular experience in sustainable design and green solutions, which help keep costs down in a responsible and ethical manner.

residential architecture

We do much more than just design your home, addition, or renovation, we provide comprehensive services which facilitate and organize all steps of the building process. Our goal is to help you image your ideal home and to use our expertise to make it a reality. We work in many different styles (see our portfolio), and our versatile experience ranges from small-scale kitchen renovations to major cutting-edge building renovations. We also have deep ties to our area, having completed over 50 projects in Swarthmore alone. Where we live is where we build, and our familiarity with Swarthmore and its surrounding areas gives us a unique advantage in helping you find exactly what you want. Our general design process is below, though it varies from project to project.

 

Phase I: Measured Drawings, Code Review

We start by making measured drawings of your existing home, including interior elevations, exterior elevations, and plan drawings which are then transferred to an electronic format. Then, before the design process begins, we review all relevant building codes, zoning codes, and local restrictions which may determine the possibilities of our design.

 

Phase II: Design Concept Development

We first provide rudimentary sketches of multiple possible schemes, and meet with you to discuss your preferences and preferred design. After discussion we create a final concept, and review it again with you and a contractor, either one you personally find or one of our trusted recommendations.

 

After review of the concept, we prepare more detailed sketches and schematic outlines for your further approval, including plans, indicating finishes, lighting, electrical, and exterior elevations. These drawings are not construction drawings, but they provide enough information to receive a preliminary cost estimate. We can also assist with the contractor bidding process at this point.

 

Phase III: Construction Documentation

Based on the schematic outlines we prepare permit drawings for municipal approval. Upon approval we create construction documents for your contractor, usually including a site plan (if applicable), a demolition plan, floor plans, interior and exterior elevations, roof plans, door and finish schedules, building sections, architectural and structural details, notes and specifications, and a lighting and power plan. We also coordinate mechanical and electrical requirements with architectural work.

 

Phase IV: Construction Administration

We make periodic site visits and continually discuss the work with the contractor. We review the window and door package with the contractor and sign off before the order is submitted. Our services can also be expanded to include review of contractor’s invoices, shop drawings, and regular job meetings.

institutional architecture

​​CKd does everything from building programming to supervising completion, helping institutions identify exactly what they need, design what suits them best, and finish the project in an orderly, timely, and careful manner. We have experience designing for numerous notable colleges and universities, including Swarthmore College, Thomas Jefferson University, Widener University, Cheyney University, and others. CKd has helped design a wide variety of spaces, from libraries to  science halls to classrooms to galleries. Our expert hand is in every part of the process, making things as easy and clear as possible to ensure that the client gets exactly what they need.

 

Our services are comprehensive; we provide everything needed to start and finish large projects. We are experienced with collaborating with numerous interested parties at once to establish the most effective building programming. Our design expertise has been recognized by (AWARDS?) We have close connections with engineers, contractors, cost estimators, and every other group and consultants necessary to build high-budget institutional projects, helping you to assemble a reliable and trustworthy team that will finish your project quickly, within budget, and with utmost craftsmanship. Our expert hand is in everything, making the process 

 

Our design is always driven by our experience with sustainable solutions, keeping costs down in a responsible and ethical manner. Our architects have experience working with LEED certifications and a wide variety of sustainable technologies and features; we even provide services to explicitly design green solutions for existing buildings.

master planning and programming

Planning is an essential step towards assembling a bright new vision for any organization, and CKd has expertise in overseeing the entire process from conception to completion. 

Beginning by listening to all relevant interests and perspectives, we expertly hone a broader vision into individual goals and concrete objectives. After our own initial analysis, we assemble a team of trusted consultants, and work closely with them to comprehensively analyze all existing construction, identifying necessary or preferred changes with regards to building programming, systems, codes, and zoning ordinance. CKd is also fully conversant in sustainable design options of all kinds, and can evaluate and suggest possible sustainable options.

Based on this analysis we then create an overall conceptual design and provide recommendations for existing buildings. All information is then compiled into a detailed Master Plan Report, and upon its review we provide an itemized cost estimate and final renderings of our designs.

sustainable design

Ckd is proud to utilize design practices that follow sustainable principles. This is something we have been doing for decades and is an integral part of our design process.

Residential

We incorporate sustainable design into all of our residential projects.

  • Our standard design details include:

    • Optimizing Site Potential: Consideration of building exposure and orientation to take advantage of solar conditions

    • Minimizing Energy Use:

      • Zip System Sheathing System that keeps the building tight and provides continuous thermal control along with streamlined installation

      • Careful considerations of insulation types to maximize effectiveness to help reduce your heating and cooling costs

      • Glazing with low-e coatings, and keeping up with the latest in efficiency and durability

      • Framing: Detailing the wood framing to allow for maximize insulation

      • LED lighting and dimming to minimize electrical use. Taking advantage of skylights and solatubes to allow for daylight into interior areas of the residence.

      • Conserving and Protecting Water

      • Managing stormwater and roof run off; designing and constructing the home to conserve water

    • Indoor Air Quality: Specifying low-VOC paint and products with minimal off-gasing. Considering operable windows and other ventilation to ensure a proper amount of fresh air

    • Durable and environmentally friendly building products:

      • Fiber cement shingles that are durable and allow for longer lifespan and better durability. 

      • Use of certified wood

 

  • Optional design details include:

    • Double stud layout to maximize r-value in the wall

    • Triple layer glazing

    • Incorporating photovoltaics

    • Green/vegetated roofs

    • Net-Zero/Passive House: 

      • Focus on reducing the energy use side of the equation by providing a super insulated envelope, air-tight construction, elimination of thermal bridging, high-tech windows and doors

      • Taking advantage of passive solar heating and shading

      • Utilizing an energy recovery ventilation system with a goal of reducing the energy demand by 80%. 

      • Establish a baseline with a blower door test and utilizing heat cameras

      • Utilizing appropriate HVAC systems that allow minimize energy requirements while still providing fresh air

Institutional

  • For the beginning of a project identifying the sustainable goals for a project are imperative. Followed by tracking these throughout the design process and weighing the pros and cons of various options and finally ensuring that these goals are met during construction. This can be done through the LEED process or by identifying the priorities and tracking them internally.

  • Minimizing Energy Use:

    • Optimizing Site Potential: Consideration of building exposure and orientation to take advantage of solar conditions

    • Create tight exterior skins that utilize insulation above the code requirements to minimize heat loss and gain through the walls. 

      • Review wall modeling to determine the dew point to ensure moisture escapes.

    • Careful glazing selection to help minimize heat loss in winter and heat gain in the summer.  Utilize sun shades on the exterior to reduce heat gain in the summer and help reflect light further into the office spaces.

    • An energy efficient mechanical system.  Additionally utilizing heat recovery to minimize the use of fossil fuels.

    • Light sensors and LED efficient lighting

    • Consider Renewable Energy Strategies
       

  • Product Selection: Building design to using products that have recycled content and regional materials where possible. Consider recyclability and lifespan of product.

    • Certified wood: Utilize which come from property managed forests and does not use old growth forests.

  • Extensive Use or rapidly renewable materials such as linoleum tile floor and bamboo 

  • Recycling construction debris

  • Indoor Air Quality: 

    • Low-emitting materials, paints and coatings used to minimize the chance of interior air contamination for both the construction workers and the future occupants of the building

    • Use of high MERV filtration systems in the HVAC to maintain good air quality

    • Use of operable windows in offices and suitable spaces

  • Conserving and Protecting Water: 

    • Low flow toilets and sinks. Utilizing this to flush low-flow toilet fixtures in the building.

    • Creating rain gardens and landscape to absorb stormwater

  • Flexible Design:

    • Create buildings with enough flexibility that its uses can be adapted over time, allowing for the building to be used for many years to come (i.e. a mitten and not a glove).

interior design

CKd provides a full range of interior design including space planning, interior architecture, FF&E services and exhibit design.

space planning And Redesign

Space planning services include reconfiguring interior spaces to better fit the client’s needs. This includes not just moving walls but integrating lighting and ceilings, HVAC,  power, data and AV requirements. We have experience from small individual room layouts to entire floor renovations requiring coordinating and phasing within an occupied building.

ff&e selections

FF&E services include Programming Services where we meet with Owner / staff, assess their needs and develop a preliminary list of furnishings for each space. Working with the preliminary list of furnishings we provide Preliminary Cost Estimates for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E). Once the program has been determined and a budget approved we prepare a comprehensive plan layout of furniture in all spaces. We work with the owner to develop design approaches to furniture and finishes. We Design and Document furniture, finishes and custom furniture preparing a reference booklet including FF&E images keyed to plans. We work with the architect and Owner to coordinate and integrate lighting, power, data and AV requirements. We prepare presentation boards representing proposed selections for review by owner and users. During this process we update the approved Furniture Budget (FF&E) making recommendations regarding alternative furnishings in order to comply with the Approved FF&E Budget. Once the FF&E has been approved CKd prepares Bid Documents including furniture plans, furniture schedule, specifications and documentation of custom furnishings and develop a list of services required by the General Contractor such as any special hoisting requirements and/or electrical connection of specialized furniture. We work with the Owner to pre‐qualify and select Dealers to submit Bids. CKd assists the Owner in preparing Request for Proposal (RFP), reviewing RFPs from Dealers, responding to questions from Dealers, and assisting in reviewing and recommending award. CKd assists the Owner in developing a schedule of FF&E installation. During the Fabrication, Delivery and Installation Phase, CKd reviews vendor/ supplier submittals and shop drawings, evaluates and documents vendor/supplier proposed changes to the furniture specifications; obtaining written approval from Owner for all changes. CKd monitors vendor / supplier production and delivery schedules, provides observation services, including review of installation and final arrangement of furnishings. We prepare a punch list of all FF&E items and approve final payments.

CKd has provided furniture, fixture and equipment services for many clients, expertly selecting the perfect furniture and lighting for your project. Claudia Cueto has particular experience making FF&E selections with Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, working on projects such as Princeton University’s Frist Campus Center and Lewis Science Library, and designing custom furniture for the University of Pennsylvania’s Houston Hall.  CKd has also provided FF&E selections for the Gehry Partners’ New World Symphony and for Swarthmore College’s McCabe Library. The furniture, fixtures and equipment make a space usable, and CKd is proficient in selecting what is best for your project.

exhibit design

More information...​

And Much more