About the Firm
Our firm's emphasis is on serving the client's needs while creating approachable, attractive, and articulate spaces. We endeavor to work within realistic, reasonable, and achievable budget and schedule parameters.
James Lyman Reynolds Architect, P.C., founded in early 2001 in Stone Ridge, NY., consists of two licensed architects, a project manager, and a network of freelancers and consultants and can be tailored to fit the size and needs of each individual project. Located in the Hudson River Valley, our team has worked on various residential, commercial, and institutional projects. Clients range from individual homeowners and property developers to larger investors and national business chains. Regardless of its size, the firm approaches each project with the same diligence and creativity.
Three critical elements simultaneously shape the design approach to all projects: Program, Context, and Budget. The Program consists of the functional elements (spaces and equipment) the client needs or wants. You could call it a prioritized laundry list. The Context is the appropriate situational response. It might include the site itself, adjacent structures, and conceptual points of reference such as zero-net energy, Spanish Mission style, or spectacular views. The Budget tracks the cost of the entire design and construction process to insure project viability.
Site Planning: Site Planning represents an early opportunity to articulate the larger organizing principles of each building: its spaces, infrastructure, and landscape. It typically involves the organization, evaluation, and site plan permitting considerations regarding land use, zoning, access, circulation, privacy, security, lighting, shelter, drainage, and other factors.
Schematic Design: The Schematic Design (SD) is where all of the relevant project source information is gathered together. It invariably involves the consideration of three key constituent project criteria: Program, Context and Budget. The "Program" may best be described as a laundry list of spaces (and equipment) necessary for the functional fulfillment of any given project objective. "Context" refers to considerations that may include: the physical project location, specific site features including the built or natural environment, cultural, stylistic or other related design objectives. And lastly, of course, the "Budget". As mentioned above, clear articulation and evaluation of the interrelationship of these three pieces becomes essential in informing the design process and achieving a truly successful project outcome.
Design Development: The Design Development (DD) phase is all about translating the early SD planning goals into a buildable form that can be quantified (and costed) on paper. It is where the two-dimensional functional needs of the SD program are translated into a three-dimensional architectural form. While the SD focuses on broad goals and larger concepts, the DD focuses these ideas into realistic and tangible options. It is at this stage that building code compliance and preliminary cost considerations are typically factored in. During the course of the DD, a client may be presented with a handful of viable options, each with various pros and cons. It is during this stage that the architect and client scrutinize their options and select the best one for further development. We like to think of the design process as funnel-shaped. At the beginning the widest area of options and possibilities are considered. As decisions are made, the process develops into a unique outcome, representing an optimal set. A completed set of DD plans typically includes scaled building plans, elevations, and at least one detailed building section, with sufficient information that an experience builder may generate an informed and achievable contract proposal.
Code Compliance Review: As licensed Architects we can offer a range of professional consulting services, including New York State International Building Code (IBC) comment and review.
Bid Solicitation and Evaluation: Typically regarded as part of the Contract Administration Services phase, we often find that this is such an important part of getting a project built, that (for some projects) we encourage early dialogue with potential bidders thru the DD phase. Our collective experience with qualified local builders is of vital significance in being able to achieve completed projects on time, and on budget.
Permit/Contract Document Preparation: This is where the design intent described in a completed set of DD documents is translated into a legal and enforceable document that defines the scope of work sufficient for contract purposes. Of key contractual significance is the determination of specific and detailed plan development considerations, coordination and review of any third party Structural and MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) services as may be necessary. At a minimum, a completed set of Contract Documents (CDs) would be comprised of sufficient information in order to obtain a Building Permit.
Contract Administration Services: These services can cover a range of tasks as may be necessary in order to execute the CDs. These services typically include: bid solicitation/evaluation, contract preparation and construction supervision including evaluation and administration of contract payments. We typically recommend following standard A.I.A. practice (including document formats), as these are widely accepted and familiar across the industry. Through the terms of the contract we are typically authorized to act on behalf of the client as their legal representative, and charged to insure that the work being completed is in accordance with the contract documents.
Humans have shaped their environment longer than recorded history. Geologists note we are currently in the period of the “anthropocene,” where human activity is the dominant interference on climate and the environment.
Consequently, the concept of sustainability is particularly relevant today. Defined broadly, it refers to managing the process of change in a balanced fashion. It requires that natural resources, investments, technology, and institutional control are all in harmony. When this happens, current and future potential is enhanced and meets human needs and aspirations.
Our goal is to help clients navigate the decision-making process to meet these objectives holistically.
I’ve never worked with an architect before. What can I expect?
Our intent is to make each and every project a positive, productive, and worthwhile endeavor that extends beyond aesthetic aspirations. One way to look at the design and contract preparation work is as a “funnel shaped” process; that is wide open at the top, with a range of possibilities and options that may need or want to be considered, but then becomes more defined (and restricted) as information is assimilated and decisions are made. The final outcome should be a set of documents that formulate a legal description for the scope of intended work, and at a minimum are sufficient in order to obtain a building permit.
How much is this going to cost?
The safe answer is: “That depends”... For standard building construction types, initial cost estimates can be generated pretty quickly based upon square footage requirements and similar building typologies. Invariably, we encourage a healthy and realistic dialogue early on to avoid any false starts and to establish project viability. Typically new residential construction costs (in the Hudson Valley) may range from $100-$200 per square foot, depending on a number of variables, but can easily go up from there. Labor is the largest cost variable, and ultimately that is defined by what a qualified builder says they can do. A well-organized plan does not necessarily cost more than the alternative, and may well create savings and efficiencies. Using more expensive building materials or labor-intensive practices are what typically drive construction costs.
How long will it take to design and build my house?
For residential work, we prefer to budget sufficient time for due diligence in the planning stages (even with some time for reflection)... It is after all where all of the primary decisions are made that can be such a critical element in achieving a critical success. Our experience is that rush jobs don't cost less, but more importantly may not give sufficient time to fully consider the big decisions. The length of time for any project to be in construction is a great question to ask the builder up front.
Can you recommend a general contractor?
Absolutely, we have several successful histories with multiple local builders, with whom we would be happy to recommend (and work with again). We are also always looking to develop new relationships with qualified builders, particularly those who bring competitive pricing, unique specific skill sets and/or expertise for any given project.
How do I contact you?
You can contact us by phone at 845-687-9161 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our offices are located at 4303 US Route 209, Stone Ridge, NY 12484.
Karin Ruehle Reynolds
Karin is originally from Berlin, Germany, where she graduated from the Technical University in 1984. After working for Rem Koolhaas - OMA in London and Rotterdam for several years, she started her own firm in 1988 in Berlin. The firm was known for its well-designed, award-winning affordable housing projects, one of them is archived in Virginia Tech's Women Architects Archive.
In 1998 Karin moved to Stone Ridge, NY where she worked with local architects. She received her NYS architectural license in 2001. Parallel to collecting experience in healthcare projects, Karin has been an integral part in her husband James Reynolds’ work and has contributed her conceptual design and programming expertise to many of the firm’s projects. Additionally, Karin's photographic documentation highlights the beauty of each project.
James Lyman Reynolds
James Lyman Reynolds grew up in a household of creative types in the greater Boston MA area and regards himself as an inveterate crafts person and maker of places.
James holds a B.A. in Architecture from Syracuse University, after completing course work in Southern Germany in 1984. Three subsequent years working as an apprentice and traveling extensively in Western Europe and Northern Africa provided important cultural and contextual life experiences that inform his work today. James’ background also includes working as a licensed general contractor, and then founding his own Design/Build Corporation in Richmond Virginia in 1988.
James became a licensed architect in New York in 1994 and has been in private practice in the Hudson Valley for more than 20 years.
James H. Smith
James completed his Bachelor and Master of Architecture degrees at the prominent School of Architecture at the University of Queensland, Australia. Early exposure to the rich landscapes of Australia gave foundation to his elemental approach to considering the built environment. The son of an international airline pilot, living and visiting expansively in Asia and Europe, James has adopted a culturally sensitive approach seen with both Eastern and Western influences in his work.
James has worked on private dwellings, civic buildings and large master planning projects at a village scale. Now settled in the Hudson Valley, a constant focus on research fuels his guest lectures at local colleges and inspires new approaches to design. James is committed to delivering a diverse range of projects with the aspiration to bring harmony to peoples living environments.
“In every case, James came in on time and at budget. He was ever respectful, even under duress, and able to communicate with humor and sincerity with the many players. James has a wonderful and refined eye, with a real understanding of function, and a deep knowledge of green building.”
- Michelle H, Head of School, High Meadows School, Stone Ridge, NY
“James has provided architectural services for my restaurant and has exceeded my expectations. I can highly recommend him.”
- Jim M, White Wolf Restaurant, Napanoch, NY
“James Reynolds helped us design and build our home and studios. He was an excellent architect to work with. He listened to who we are and to our needs. He brought aesthetics as well as living quality considerations to the design. He engaged us in detailed discussions on the design and plans and allowed much time for conversation and for establishing the understandings needed as the project evolved. The house is beautiful and very comfortable.”
- Anat S, Homeowner, Stone Ridge, NY
“Very talented architect. He designed three major projects for us: a home, a garage, and a guest house. Each fit perfectly in with surrounding buildings. Extremely happy with his work!”
- Henry H, Homeowner, Accord, NY