Design Associates' development of the concept of tradition-based design is a result of many years of experience working in the historic district of Nantucket. Design Associates, though now a Cambridge-based firm, was founded in 1979 in Nantucket. With the entire island of Nantucket in an historic district, each and every exterior change to a building required the approval of the local historic district commission. And with our design firm in Nantucket, each and every one of our projects needed the approval of the historic district commission. What that means is that all of our architectural design work needed to be sympathetic to either an existing context or to an existing building. Perfect world: The design had to look as if it had been there for hundreds of years. So, as an architect you study the architectural shapes, features and details of, in this instance, Nantucket and bring those elements to the drawing board.  Need to design an historically appropriate front entryway for a Main Street house? Find one that's appealing, go outside and measure and photograph it and bring that exact front entryway into your new design. No interpretation or massaging the details........just simply match what already exists. And if that front entryway that you are designing doesn't exist out there, open up a period pattern book and bring the exact design and detail to your design.

Even when working on an historic structure that's not within an historic district, we still bring this tradition-based approach to our architectural designs. And we do this out of respect for the building and its past. As an owner of an historic structure, you are the caretaker and custodian. At Design Associates and with our tradition-based design approach, we can assist you with making sensitive and sympathetic alterations and additions that will be worthy of future preservation.


Christopher L. Dallmus, AIA