GWWO is your partner.

For many of our clients, building design and construction is not their primary area of expertise, and the design process is a new experience. From the moment we are hired, we strive to serve as project leaders, guiding our client/design team through an efficient, effective project process. Mapping out a strategy and schedule for the entire project, and clearly illustrating the role of all stakeholders, is our first task. We understand that each client has unique needs and achieving each client’s goals is our primary objective.

Identifying Needs

We listen.

It has been said that most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. We believe that listening to understand is the key to a successful project, as it creates a solid foundation that ultimately serves as a platform for a trusted partnership. We have found that active listening enables us to understand your goals, your aspirations, your concerns, and to then reflect those in the project design.

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What Our Clients Say

"GWWO was the smallest of the four finalists in our design competition, and I'd say they started as an underdog. But they clearly listened better than anyone else. They cast their own egos aside and allowed the architecture and landscape created by George Washington to remain at center stage. [Their approach] was really quite brilliant."

—James C. Rees, retired Executive Director, George Washingon's Mount Vernon

Research & The Big Idea

We dig deep.

We kick off our extensive project research phase by gathering all background material on prior efforts, if completed: master plans, feasibility studies, reports, program documents, even meeting minutes. We then delve into a verification phase that runs simultaneously with contextual research. By looking at project context from all perspectives—physical, historical, cultural—we develop deep understanding of factors that influence a client and building’s story. Drilling down on all those influences allows us to identify what we call The Big Idea of each project. The Big Idea, whether a singular idea or topic, or an overarching concept, is kept at the center of the project and used as a driver for every decision we make in the design process. 

What Our Clients Say

“We are very, very lucky to work with [this] architectural firm...This is an amazing thing for us. They understand this place.”

—Gay Vietzke, Regional Director, National Park Service, Northeast Region


We explore.

Armed with a deep understanding of our clients’ stories and project context and goals, we study a number of design options. Through a collaborative process of idea generation, discussion, and feedback, we examine possibilities and refine solutions with you. Circling back frequently to the research done prior to this phase allows us to remain dedicated to the project’s story and purposeful in our decisions.   

We will challenge the project team to think beyond preconceptions—looking for innovative, imaginative, and overachieving solutions. 

What our Clients Say

“The success of this project is due, in large part, to the vision of Alan Reed...who envisioned the building sitting here at the edge of the Wildlife Refuge...”

—Mike Purzycki, Executive Director, Riverfront Development Corporation


Your story is the star.

The building’s expression of your story—what we call “The Big Idea”—serves as the catalyst for decision-making throughout the project. We don’t design exterior and interior forms, materials, and details just because they look good, but rather because they play a role in manifesting your mission in built form.

What Our Clients Say

"The design concept is no less than brilliant." 

—Advocates for the Pikes Peak Summit House


We follow through.

To us the true measure of a successful project is if the building works for the users. Our partnership doesn’t end once the design is developed. We continue to be involved through the construction of a building, and beyond. By being a part of the construction team, we are able to make sure the best we can that the design intent is adhered to and the vision executed as expected. We advocate for stakeholders because we share their vision and goals. Communication does not end when construction starts.

What Our Clients Say

“As you know I was concerned about Construction Management...thinking the service wasn't necessary and could be accomodated in other ways on our end. You assured me that it would be worth it in the end product. You were right! I am so grateful that we took the leap."

—Kim Murphy, Berks Nature