Leaders in the fields of green architecture and sustainable design, we share our thoughts and experiences on current projects and our philosophies on design and performance.

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Modular Prefab: What a Homeowner Should Know

There’s a terrific video my buddy Corbett did for the Illinois Association of Energy Raters called “If Cars Were Built Like Houses.” It challenges homebuyers to think about what level of performance they will get out of the huge investment they’re about to make. What... read more

Green Built Home Tour 2018

It’s our favorite tour of the year, the Green Built Home Tour, and our Modular Prefab Modern Farmhouse will be featured on this year’s tour on July 28-29, 2018. Our amazing clients, Nate & Deb, will open their new home for visitors to tour their... read more

Modular Prefab Mid-Construction Tour

The modular prefab “Modern Farmhouse” was designed by TBDA, with module construction provided by Hi-Tech Housing in Bristol, Indiana. The six modules were shipped to the site and erected in one day, with finishes and fixtures being installed on-site by... read more

From The Field: Our First Modular Prefab

On a perfect late summer day we invited a bunch of friends to watch our first modular prefab house being set. First off, some terminology: prefab is anything factory-built, so it could be trusses, walls, floors; but modular is when “chunks” of the building... read more

A Modular Home Raising

TBDA is pleased to add another project to the distinguished list of Oak Park, IL architectural “firsts.” Our prefab, modular, Zero Energy Ready Home (DOE) has been built in an Indiana factory by Hi-Tech Housing, and was set in place on  August 23, 2017  in... read more

From the Field: Literally (House on a Prairie Site)

This is one of those dream projects: great client, great site, and a design that just fell together naturally. And the team at Mike Von Behren Builders is fantastic–really getting into the project and executing beautifully. As one of our first larger... read more

From the Field: Acorn Glade Nears Completion

I’m excited to share an update on our Passive House project in Downers Grove. We made an office outing there last week and got all giddy seeing finishes going in. Great job, Evolutionary Home Builders on another beautiful project! The project achieved... read more

High-Performance Foursquare on the Green Built Home Tour

High-Performance Four Square | 630 W Hinsdale Avenue, Hinsdale, IL 60521 This reinterpretation of the classic American Foursquare brings space planning for modern family living and 21st-c. energy efficiency, materials, and technology. The GreenBuilt Home Tour features... read more

From the Field: another house that doesn’t suck

It’s hard to believe that a blower door test could feel…if not routine, than not like a really big deal on just our third Passive project. I mean, that 0.6ACH50 target we learned about in Certified Passive House Consultant sounded so difficult– more... read more

From the Field: blue walls?

I’d like to share a few interesting products we’re using on two projects currently in construction. Funny thing is, they’re both blue, so it’s an accidental theme here. The first is Blueskin, a self-adhering membrane by Henry that is airtight,... read more

From the Field: new projects arising!

We have two new Passive projects in construction now, “Acorn Glaede” in Downers Grove, and a not-yet-named house in Hinsdale. They both started in the summer; Downers is a slab-on-grade, but Hinsdale has a full basement. Here are some compare-and-contrast... read more


As I prepare to head out of town for my favorite holiday, I’ve been thinking about gratitude. I have to credit my new-found meditation practice for an increased sense of appreciation of those around me and for my work. I’ve always had a sense of... read more

Architecture and Health

The interaction of the built environment and human health has been a topic of great debate and much development lately. Between the Well Building Standard and the Living Building Challenge, we have new ways of thinking about and measuring our successes and failures in... read more

From The Field: Finishes, cont’d

The excitement has been building as the house nears completion. As the cleaning crew wrapped up on Thursday, we saw all the tile, countertops, flooring, and built ins in their finished state at last. The owners  have been doing low-voltage wiring (Paul is a... read more

Drawing On Place

Occasionally I am asked why I named my domain “drawingonplace.” The reason behind it is at the core of my aspirations in architecture, so I thought I’d take a shot at explaining it, and then illustrate the idea as I begin to follow our next project... read more

From the Field: Finishes, Part One

Now that rough mechanicals are in and the air barrier system has been successfully tested, finishes are going in.These will get a lot more exciting pretty soon as tile, wood trim and accents, cabinetry and countertops, etc. get installed, but that will be next. This... read more

From the Field: More Insulation and Airtightness!

In Passive architecture, you really don’t want your buildings to suck. Technically, you want them to lose less than 0.6 air changes per hour when depressurized to 50 Pascals of pressure for the “old” Passive House Standard, or .05cfm of air per... read more