Re-use and Re-purpose. Where? Everywhere!

Everybody knows the terms Sustainability and Green and everybody has slightly different definitions of those words. For some it’s using better products, for others it is reconnecting with nature and the natural process, for still others it is employing the most efficient systems to create the most efficient buildings. All are right and all are moving us in a better direction. For me it is about finding better use for what has already become.

My approach begins with the importance of re-use and re-purpose. It starts by focusing on what is already there rather than remaking. It emphasizes alterations before additions. Preserving and capitalizing on the energy and materials that has come before us is the first step. Making higher efficiency out of our existing places and spaces will keep both our construction and utility bills smaller. There is a lot of fun in this approach, allowing us to find the creativity in seeing more in what we have and celebrating the small changes that can feel like big changes.

Every Project HAS a Story

It is the very reason that a blog is a better format for my work than a regular website. Ever project has a story. Each job, no matter the size, has an interesting story. Some stories are what drives the main idea of the project while others just come from doing the “work.” No matter how it comes about the story is how we personally connect to each other. It makes doing things for each other worth while.

If you would like to know more fee free to contact me, Spencer Noland at:

(206) 245-6616 or


My Experience,  FUN

I’ve been practicing in architecture for over one decade in Seattle, WA and another 5 years between Oregon, Idaho and Michigan. I spent my first four years in Seattle living, working and playing for DeForest ogden Design office (Do2)- now Deforest Architects (Seattle, WA) and b+o design studio (Wilmington, NC). Working with John DeForest and Scott Ogden was more like play time. Projects weren’t just an ends to a means but an opportunity to explore with clients what is possible and how to communicate ideas in entertaining and useful methods that felt less like work and more like playing.

When I jumped ship from Do2, I joined the hearty development team family my brother was putting together at Noland Homes. He asked me to lead the front end aspects to their projects: searching for land, analyzing its potential and coordinating the design teams to create amazing homes that were better than what other developers were making. The friendships we created there truly are more like family as we still share a turkey now and again on self appointed Thanksgiving evenings.

After filling my pockets with all that development money, a once in a lifetime opportunity came calling. I took my next position at Environmental Works – Seattle’s very own non-profit, community design center. A complete 180 from what I was doing before, I found myself right back in the “sandbox” working for children (childcare centers) and creating community spaces the help foster stronger neighborhoods. There is no greater feeling than to provide work for those who desperately need services and making places for those people who will shape our future.

My work now has been greatly impacted by these three experiences.  Often a person will ask me some variation on, “what type of projects do you work on?” I’ve learned the best projects to work on are Fun Projects. They are the projects that get us out of bed in the morning and pass up the Starbucks’ double grande, mocha, machiato with cherry syrup and dry foam (what ever that is) on our way into “the office.” I enjoy those kinds of projects and I think everyone should too. If you have a FUN project, call me – Let’s play!


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