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Design Performance at L|F

Design Performance at Lake|Flato Architects

The mission of the Design Performance team at Lake|Flato is to be the preeminent international practice for the integration of design and sustainability. Design performance provides a clear path to achieving this vision by integrating design with building performance, technology, research, and innovation.

Here at Lake|Flato, there are three tiers of communication employed throughout our firm to support projects and promote design performance.  It starts with the firm’s dedicated design performance team who is dedicated to advancing sustainability in our projects through setting goals, running simulations, and conducting research. We advance our mission with the help of our studio “champions,” one representative per studio who engages their studio’s culture and facilitate the project teams’ sustainability goals. Finally, we designate one “sustainability” champion for each project who is responsible for advocating for the project’s performance goals and ensures the design performance team is engaged at the appropriate design stages. These champions are the liaisons between the project team and design performance team.  Together, these lines of communication improve strategies that enforce our ongoing commitment to regenerative, healthy, and equitable projects. To learn more check out our sustainabilty page on our website. 


Meet our Design Performance Team

Heather Holdridge | Director of Design Performance

What does design performance mean to you?

Design performance is the integration of environmental sustainability and building performance with technology, research, innovation, building science, and evidence-based design. This dynamic approach to sustainable design allows our projects to reach the most compelling and visionary design and performance aspirations.

What design performance topic or effort are you most excited about?

I continue to be fascinated and inspired by the concept of net-zero energy buildings. I feel fortunate to be working on a few right now – The USU Moab Academic Building, Confluence Park, Park City Arts & Culture District, and Lake|Flato’s very own office in San Antonio are all tracking this aspirational goal.  I love the process of tracking measured energy against our design phase modeled predictions. There are so many important lessons to learn from observing actual performance and finding ways to optimize operations.


Dan Stine | Director of Design Technology

What does design performance mean to you?

My ideal definition of design performance revolves around an effort which results in an aesthetically pleasing, functional, occupant friendly project that minimizes its impact on the environment and exceeds our client’s expectations.  Too often, one or two of these elements are achieved at the expense of others. Which is why I really appreciate the thoughtful, and intentional, team effort here, at Lake | Flato, to continuously develop and elevate design performance within the field of architecture.

What design performance topic or effort are you most excited about?

For the past few years, I have been passionate about sharing workflows around early energy modeling. I have presented on the topic internally, to Lake | Flato staff, as well as internationally, in North America and Europe. Studies show a clear correlation between a building’s predicted energy use (pEUI) reduction and early energy modeling. Thus, the fruits of these efforts, i.e. training and implementation, are better performing buildings. Too, due to the low cost and ease of use of several modern simulation tools, the design teams can challenge their assumptions and validate their design solutions themselves.


Kate Sector | Design Performance Coordinator

What does design performance mean to you?

Design performance is a way to quantify sustainable performance goals pursued by various projects in ways where we can learn analyze, reiterate, and improve for the future.

What design performance topic or effort are you most excited about?

My passion within design performance is driven by an interest in ecoregional design that leads to effective passive design strategies and supplements with renewables to create regenerative and and mutualistic design inspired by place. By learning from our environment, we can also implement biomimicry to find new and innovative strategies to achieve the most difficult design performance challenges. These strategies can allow us to better understand not only our past and present climate but prepare and respond for the future as well leaving our site better than we found it.


Cynthia | Design Performance Intern

What does design performance mean to you?

Design performance is the culmination of all sustainability goals aimed to responsibly create healthy spaces and high-performing durable buildings responsive to their communities. Lake | Flato’s Design Performance team uses a variety of software to conduct daylighting studies, life carbon analysis, and thermal studies.
What design performance topic or effort are you most excited about?

Building Science has been fascinating to me since my undergraduate architectural studies at Prairie View A&M. A few years ago, I became a Certified Passive House Consultant under PHIUS, an aggressive building standard that caps the energy use output for buildings through vetted building assemblies. Since then, I have studied optimal building enclosures for appropriate climates that contribute to beautiful design.

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