Ken Wertheim, Architect, Philosophy



Ken believes architecture should respond to client’s goals and objectives through what he calls the four cornerstones of responsive architecture ~ service excellence, design excellence, professional excellence and environmental responsibility; to provide clients with a high level of quality professional architectural services while remaining a small and personalized firm, offering designs that are modern interpretations inspired by the traditions and craftsmanship of the Adirondack Camps, National Park Lodges, Arts & Crafts Cottages, and mountain retreats, which result in unique homes that are both timeless and elegant; to use the beauty found in simplicity in the spirit of the "Not So Big House", while being environmentally sensitive, applying conservation and sustainable design principles, and being responsive to the land.


To design unique, distinctive homes for clients which reflect professional dedication and innovation that is creative and in harmony with nature while being responsive to individual lifestyle desires and needs; to offer cost effective, energy efficient solutions through continuing education, professional expertise, and applied skills and knowledge; to develop strong client relationships by gaining respect and building trust through professional integrity; to help transform visions into reality, and exceed client expectations.

   "A house should be of the hill, not on it" 

~  Frank Lloyd Wright


To take a leadership position by promoting the role architects play in protecting and preserving the environment through the impact of design decisions and a sustainable design focus; to promote 21st century architecture that is responsive to relationships between people and buildings with the environment and the earth, and to design and construct buildings that are energy efficient and environmentally sensitive; to remain committed to The Energy Star Challenge 2015 to improve building energy-efficiency and to the American Institute of Architects Global Challenge 2030 calling on architects to immediately reduce energy use of new building designs by 50% and to design carbon neutral buildings (using no fossil fuel energy) by 2030.                                        

 “Buildings, too, are children of the Earth and Sun".                                                ~  Frank Lloyd Wright


The Design Process: 

The design and construction process involves several steps.

Predesign – Deciding what to build, called architectural programming, and probably the most valuable time you will spend with your architect. This is the time to discuss requirements for your building, how many rooms, function, use, what you need and what you can spend.

Schematic – A series of rough sketches will be provided to illustrate the general scope, relationship and adjacencies of the project components to test and evaluate solution options. Schematics may show the general size, proportion, layout, scale, character and indication of materials.

Design Development – This is the time to refine the design and develop more detailed drawings that will show scale, floor plans and elevations. (3-D modeling is also an option). Outline specifications listing major material room finishes are provided.

Construction Documents – Once the homeowner has approved the design, the architect prepare final construction drawings and specifications which the contractor will use to establish the actual cost and build the project. These drawings and specs become part of the building contract.

Contractor Selection – The homeowner selects and hires the contractor. The bidding documents consist of drawings and specifications, an invitation to bid, and bid instructions which are sent to selected contractors for bids.

Construction – The contractor physically builds the home or addition. The architect can assist the homeowner in ensuring the project is built to plans and specifications and to review project progress and quality through site visits to observe construction at appropriate intervals.

Budget – Budgeting the costs of design and construction is an important first step to help avoid surprises and frustration. It is critical to have a realistic understanding of the potential and limitations of your project’s budget. Often the architect can propose ways of altering square footage or the materials to keep your project within your budget and allocate your money wisely.

Schedule – It is very important to have adequate time to think through the options, do research, and talk to people about your plans. Resist the urge to rush through the design process; in the end you will be much happier with the result. The time required for construction depends on many things: time of year, weather, the availability of labor and materials, as well as project complexity. A realistic schedule should be agreed upon in advance.  A typical 2800 s.f. house requires two to three months in the Design and Construction Drawing phases, and eight to ten months in construction.  It is a good idea to request a timeline for your individual project.

Residential Architects

You have a vision of what you want. Now you need to make that vision a reality.

Architects are specially educated to help you define what you want to build, present options you might never have considered, and help you get the most for your valuable investment.


Architects are trained problem solvers and can propose ways to get more for your investment than you imagined.


Architects help you get the most from your construction dollar. Architects can reduce building costs, decrease your home’s energy need and increase its future resale value through good design.



Experience tells us that successful projects…those that achieve the desired results for owners, users, and architects – result from informed clients working with skilled architects to form professional, business, and often personal relationships.


How Design Works:

 AIA Membership

2004 Code of Ethics  & Professional Conduct



Members of The American Institute of Architects are dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence.


They have an obligation to the public, client,  profession and colleagues to maintain and advance their knowledge of the art and science of architecture, respect the body of architectural accomplishment, contribute

to its growth, thoughtfully consider the social and environmental impact of their professional activities, and exercise learned and uncompromised professional judgment.


- to serve their clients competently and in a professional manner, and should exercise unprejudiced and unbiased judgment


- to uphold the integrity and dignity of the profession.


- to respect the rights and acknowledge the professional aspirations and contributions of their colleagues.


AIA website:

The Regulations of Architecture in the United States

Every state uses the NCARB Architect Registration Examination (ARE) as its written examination to test the skills, knowledge and abilities of applicants for registration.  NCARB requires candidates for certification to have completed an internship which includes specific accomplishments. NCARB requires a degree accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board in the study of architecture. NCARB recommends to the state board rules of conduct, and several states have made continuing professional development a requirement for registration renewal.  NCARB produces educational monographs to enhance a practicing architect’s lifetime learning process.


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) was founded in 1857 “to organize and unite the profession in fellowship; to promote the profession of architecture including its aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency; to advance the science and art of planning and building; to coordinate the building industry; and to make the profession of ever-increasing service to society”.


AIA  -  Handbook of Professional Practice        NCARB website:    

   © 2006  Kenneth J. Wertheim,   Architect, AIA    P.O. Box 9039 Asheville, NC 28815         E-mail:         828-298-7280    Top of Page