GWWO’s work is driven by a consistent philosophical approach, rather than a predetermined style. Our philosophy is founded in the exploration of the relationships between narrative and context. We believe that for architecture to be truly meaningful, it should expand the traditional notions of context—setting, scale, massing, materiality—to include the cultural and historical aspects of the site and organization. Through extensive research into each project, we discover the essential component of context that can inextricably tie architecture to its setting. Once established, this core idea is rigorously adhered to and influences every aspect of the design. Utilizing this story-based design approach, a unique response for each project unfolds.
GWWO was formed through a merger in 1990. The strategic decision of two key Baltimore-based firms to merge brought together the strengths of each firm and formed the groundwork for the cultural and educational project focus of GWWO today.
Grieves Associates, which had Baltimore roots back to the 1960s, brought a strong portfolio of cultural and historic projects to the new firm. Early clients included the Brandywine River Museum, Center Stage Theater, and Princeton University. GWWO founding principals David Wright and Bob O'Hatnick worked with Grieves Associates before becoming partners in GWWO. Worrall & Associates, led by GWWO founding principal Phil Worrall, enhanced the firm with a portfolio of more than 150 educational projects for higher education and K-12 clients. Alan Reed, GWWO president and design principal today, worked with Worrall & Associates and joined the newly formed GWWO at its inception.