Appropriate Architecture LLC


((Left) Architect Mark Ward aims for simplicity, functionality, and sustainability in his design solutions. (Right) Design solutions are tailored to the criteria of each individual client | Photos courtesy of Appropriate Architecture LLC)

‘Dramatically Improving People’s Lives through Design’

Mark Ward, founder and owner of Appropriate Architecture LLC, has 25 years of experience working in Central Oregon. He specializes in residential projects — with an emphasis on environmentally “appropriate” design — for clients seeking custom homes, additions/remodels, and accessory dwelling units.

He is committed to sustainable design, has been a team member on multiple LEED projects, and has earned Earth Advantage’s Sustainable Homes Professional designation.

Background and Impetus to Become an Architect

Ward’s childhood took him from a rural Minnesota farming community to Cheyenne, Wyo. and, in 1986, Bend — where he recalled taking a social studies course in the historic log cabin in front of Pilot Butte Middle School, which “was really cool.”

While earning a bachelor of arts in business and economics from Willamette University, “I got a job helping a guy build his own house — hammering nails, putting up walls, and laying tiles. The satisfaction of seeing a plan come to fruition was a turning point,” said Ward, leading him to change course and pursue an architectural career.

A month after obtaining a master of architecture degree from the University of Oregon, Ward moved back to Bend after accepting a job offer from Neal Huston & Associates. He described Huston as “the most talented residential architect in Central Oregon,” and continues to work with “my mentor” while also spending half his time establishing his own firm, Appropriate Architecture.

Why the Name “Appropriate Architecture?”

The word “appropriate” initially stood out to me, and underscores my commitment to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings through improved efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, and the ecosystem at large.

“Appropriate” is a subjective word, and thus speaks to the fact that design solutions will be tailored to the criteria of each individual client, who brings their own priorities and ideas to the project. So while they come to me for my expertise, I don’t enforce my will on any project, and the process is totally collaborative.

Quality of Design over Quantity of Space

Hearkening back to the minimalist expression ‘less is more,’ I aim for simplicity, functionality, and sustainability. I’ve found that the more flexible spaces are, the greater their longevity, as they are used and enjoyed more often. Similarly, energy-efficient spaces are both cost-efficient and more forward-thinking — and are better able to stand the test of time.

Solar orientation and daylighting solar panels, for example, may not be at the top of clients’ thoughts. My role is to lead less obvious discussions and bring various options to their attention.

People dream big when it comes to something as personal as their home. The trick is to reconcile these dreams with their real budget, which — while this can present a challenge — is really rewarding. My goal is always to exceed client expectations.

Ability of Architecture to Dramatically Improve People’s Lives

One client, for example, didn’t have a large budget, but wanted a home that could accommodate three generations of his family. That’s my favorite kind of project — helping regular people — and, through well-designed and flexible spaces, profoundly affect their lives on a day-to-day basis. To me, that’s much more rewarding than being given a blank slate. I’m drawn to the transformative process of dramatically improving people’s lives through design.

Total Collaboration with Clients

One thing that sets Appropriate Architecure apart is the total collaboration I have with my clients, and the back-and-forth interaction we enjoy while discussing my ideas. As a one-man show, I can give clients individual attention and am efficient in creating design solutions that will work really well for them.


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