Design Process

The experience of Stone Tent Architecture is one of individual and expert attention. You will find the greatest benefit if I can come along side, as your architect, for the entire process, being present and guiding those early steps down this path, and directing the unfolding story at each phase. My role is to assist you in bringing form to your full intent, from the early design phases of the process, where clarity and understanding are most important, all the way through to the final building - that relationship of big picture to small details, and original planning vision to final construction documents remaining connected and strong. Ultimately, I am your advocate for bringing your vision and building to reality.

Site Analysis Series

Site Analysis Series

“Our team had varying levels of construction and design experience.  Erik did a great job walking us through the design process and meeting each of us where we were at; making sure we all understood why we were doing things a certain way and making sure everyone was moving in the same direction.  He spent a lot of time, and did an amazing job, researching us and helping us uncover who we are as a church body and what our needs would be in a new building.”

“One of the things I have really appreciated about Erik is his flexibility and willingness to listen to ideas and questions.  We have made a lot of changes over the last two years and asked even more questions! Erik has been patient and great to work with.”  

“Our church is looking forward to breaking ground in a month or so, and I am thankful that Erik has helped us get this far and will continue working with us to complete this project.”

Jake Linder - Design/Construction Committee Chair, Elim Mission Church, Cokato - BA-Architecture-University of MN, MN Licensed Contractor

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more than simple space planning

The design process organizes, brings clarity and solutions to spatial problems, as well as insight into potential new ideas and directions. This is a process to identify and solve the many issues that owners face. And this is more than simple space planning. This is about understanding and telling a complex story, a story of identity, function, place and mission. Not creating a simple concept or one-liner, but a story rooted deep in the reality of the client.

“The presentations were extremely professional and in-depth. Erik confirmed some ideas we already had and opened our eyes to many issues that we were not aware of.” 

“We strongly believe this was a turning point in our understanding of our church building and the grounds we have.  We look at the future through a new lens and now have a sense of direction of where we are going.” 

Dave Macalena, Executive Director at Buffalo Covenant Church


Listening . Recognizing . Illuminating

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Listening to you is central to the pursuit of good architecture, both in order to understand your unique and individual needs, as well as your dreams, purposes and goals. Listening also occurs in relationship to the site and the overall building context. Good listening implies actually hearing, meaning what is listened to is translated into something useful and impactful to the design.

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Recognizing is something like a discovery. It is a precious thing, and found through the design process that navigates all the needs and pressures of a project to reach for a wholeness of solution. This is different from assembling fragments of reactions from separate issues. Being a well thought-through response, it brings a unified order to all the pieces involved. This moment of recognizing a whole solution is the genesis of the building design and generates incredible confidence and optimism to move a project forward.

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Illuminating is about bringing that precious solution into form, into reality, where it can affect the lives of those that will inhabit it. While bringing the much needed order and support to the life of the client, it is also the materializing of their purposes and their identity in built form, taking invisible aspirations and making them shine.


Beyond Utility

Understanding the functional needs of a building is important, but there is an over arching work that will bring a design beyond utility and straightforward function into a place of greater success. For an owner, these elements of design, discovered through this process, can breathe life into a building. This requires a generative relationship between owner and architect that involves learning on both sides and time to bring forth an understanding of the distinctiveness of a client and their building.


A Unique Perspective

The design process from one architect to another can be quite different because a process is pieced together from the individual experiences of an architect throughout their life, education and practice. My perspective, or firm personality, is rooted at the intersection of some essential pursuits and experiences that give Stone Tent its own story.