DSK|Dewing Schmid Kearns was founded in 1984 and operates from a design studio in Concord, MA. The firm maintains an additional studio in South Dartmouth, MA.
DSK has over 30 years experience designing buildings and spaces throughout New England. From tight maritime conditions in Boston’s North End, to the Alpine environment of Mount Washington Resort, to wooded and waterfront parcels in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region – and dozens of towns, farms, and islands between and beyond, we have a deeply developed sensitivity for the rich and evocative contexts of the places that manifest the identity of New England.
An abiding sense of stewardship for the places that make New England special is at the heart of our firm’s philosophy. Our principals serve on historic district commissions, planning boards, design review committees and zoning boards of appeal. We volunteer in these positions because we feel our insights can help preserve precious elements of these old towns that may be vulnerable to the pressures of modern culture and economy. We work to foster growth in a smart and managed way in an effort to enhance these places and enrich the lives of the people who live here.
With our own long history of local building traditions, familiarity with the high standards of Concord’s Historic District Commissions, first-hand expertise in the cumulative effects of New England’s weather on historic buildings, and driven and animated by a passion – a kind of spiritual and esthetic moral imperative – to reconcile modernity and historic fabric, DSK’s projects succeed by their attention to their contexts. Because we believe that valued and meaningful architecture ‘grows’ – almost naturally – from sensitive understanding, real sympathy and insight for its context, we dig deep to learn what each project’s context ‘wants’.
Given our passion for context, planning has been an integral focus of our practice since the founding of the firm. Today, our planning practice includes visioning workshops, urban planning, campus planning, space utilization analysis, and the development of financial proforma and implementations scenarios that are both transformational and realizable.
At DSK|Dewing Schmid Kearns, we are committed to unique designs that reflect our clients as individuals. Through every step of the process, we invite our client’s involvement, creating spaces that are livable and attractive, where every detail is carefully considered.
We are problem-solvers who enjoy finding solutions. We listen to our clients’ ideas and needs, finding innovative ways to incorporate them into the original design. As issues arise during the building phase, we work with contractors and our clients to adapt the design and keep the process moving.
From the first discussion to the structure’s completion, we are there to support, advise, and guide our clients as much as they wish, ensuring that the process is as enjoyable as the final result.
Planning is the translation of a community’s aspirations and needs into a vision and direction for the future.
Our planning is grounded in lasting contributions to families, institutions, and society. We approach each project as a partnership, in search of questions with transformative potential. DSK Planning is a cross-disciplinary team of designers, translating the diverse viewpoints within communities to imagine a livable, sustainable future.
Our DSK workshop process fosters exploration and risk taking. We rely on the power of data and assessment to help our clients make informed decisions regarding space needs and space use. The DSK workshop process is an alchemical mix leading to powerful outcomes.
DSK’s experience with a broad range of projects combined with an expertise in land use planning, place making, pedestrian focused environments, space utilization and assessment, institutional identity, community process, regulatory agencies, make us an appropriate choice for complex projects of all scales.
Central to planning is the concept of data-informed decision making. As a firm, our goal is to help move institutions forward. When we embark on a planning project our principle objective is to develop a vision that embraces our client’s mission, is true to the institutions DNA and establishes a platform for institutional transformation. We work to anticipate the evolution of culture, pedagogy, and space to plan environments that allow change to flourish.
Phase One: Master Plan/Schematic Design
In many ways, the first phase is the most important. Through conversations with our client, we learn their preferences, needs, and expectations for the project. We work together with our client to choose a proper building site and, once a site is selected, we determine how to place the new building on the land. In this phase, we produce floor plans, exterior elevations, and a preliminary outline specification.
Phase Two: Design Development/Construction Documents
In this phase, we solidify design ideas and create the documents needed for construction to begin. Working from the client’s preferred design, we prepare the drawings required for a building permit and construction. Builders are involved at this stage, and the design is submitted to them for final pricing and construction.
Phase Three: Contractor Selection
If the client wishes to procure bids from multiple builders, or negotiate with a single builder, we guide them through that process. Once a builder is selected, we work with them to establish a final cost for the project, ensuring that the documents are comprehensive enough to allow the client flexibility when needed. We communicate with the client and builder to facilitate the preparation of the contract for construction.
Phase Four: Construction Administration
Through scheduled job meetings and site visits with the client, we make sure clients have a voice in the project throughout the construction process. We facilitate communication between the builder and client, answering questions and reviewing paperwork. We discuss possible changes and improvements to the building design with the client, ensuring their satisfaction upon the project’s completion.