Design Philosophy

  • Time
  • Place
  • Function
  • Structure
  • Meaning
  • Unity
  • Cost
  • Green

 PDI Design Group, Ltd philosophy is based on humanistic values. The way we look at the modern world of our times is that we acknowledge a need to stress values we feel have been lost with the fast progress of technology and the ever-changing world in which we live and work. These values are based on one main theme: CARE.

 Care for the environment: PDI Design Group is committed to designing the most environmentally sensitive communities. We acknowledge the impact architects and planners have on our planet, and we know the influence that "green" design has on our lives as well as on our neighbors. Care for this project: lastly, PDI Design Group is creating spaces that support individual progress and comfort. We recognize personal priorities and link them to the outer world by thinking about the appropriate solutions for people as a part of a family, a community and the professional world.

 At PDI, our philosophy is to create buildings and environments that are original, unique and instill pride, while always being respectful of context: time, place, location and function. And - and this is paramount - to always understand and reinforce the human connection - to design for posterity by designing for people.

 We care about community and livability. We use materials, techniques, and the creative insights of people from many different disciplines to create comfort, cohesiveness, and a sense of unity, belonging, and longevity.

 We care about the environment. We recognize in an immediate sense that architecture is never about a building alone but always about how it fits into its surroundings; and in the larger sense how our work does impact and can improve the fragile world around us.

 We care about history and culture. Our company is international - our people are from different places with different points of view. We embrace this diversity. We respect the history of place, the traditions of earlier design, and the integrity of different cultures, and use this to strengthen our own work.

 We care about inspiration. Our designs must always meet criteria of form, function and economics. But our designs must also always have vision and a sense of purpose, unity and timelessness in order to inspire the communities which surround our buildings and the people who reside in them.

Design Approach

  • Design Approach Design & Methodology

     At PDI Design Group (PDI), architectural design is more than simply aesthetics and style, or constructability. We have a time-tested comprehensive design and project delivery method that engages a broad range of factors to deliver superior value and design excellence to our clients. PDI has a record of winning more than 40 Design Competitions, and we have successfully carried the majority of these projects through design and construction.

     PDI traces its design lineage through the fifty years of teaching and practice of The Leonard Parker Associates through Mr. Parker's formative experience at Eero Saarinen & Associates. The core of our design team is steeped in this tradition. Thus, rather than developing a 'signature style', PDI seeks an appropriate solution for each project. That solution grows organically from the user's and project's internal parameters, as well as from our embrace of architectural and technical, historical and social factors relevant to your project.

     All team members will be involved very early in the Schematic Design Phase with frequent meetings and communication among the team as the project advances. The optimization of all building systems and their subsequent development and coordination requires this approach. Clear, two-way communications among the Owner/User Group and the design team is, likewise, essential to the smooth and accurate execution of the work.

     A third element that must be integrated in the design process is a holistic understanding of the physical parameters of the site (including adjacent buildings) and programmatic intent for the building. This 'integrated' approach, which is supported by our employing the BIM system, enables coordination of all disciplines with the contractor's work on site. The result is design and construction of a facility that functions as intended, facilitates ease of operation and maintenance, and reduces the ecological/energy footprint.

  • Charrette Experience

     PDI and our team have extensive experience facilitating design workshops with multiple stakeholders and large groups of clients. We will explore all of the master plan conclusions and established program requirements with a fresh perspective to deliver the maximum value and facility performance. PDI's successful charrettes include the Dalian Taing-Xing Roosevelt Center, a 3,000,000 m2 mixed use center, St. Paul Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the U of M Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and the new US Embassy, Santiago, Chile to mention a few.

  • A/E Project Management

     During the design process PDI's ongoing project management will involve focusing and coordinating the team's design work to ensure that the functional and technical issues are addressed. Equally important are the budget, schedule, documentation, and delivery. A project web site and clear communications protocols will be established at the outset of the project to keep all team members fully informed of progress.

     Milestone dates for key deliverables will be established in advance. Ongoing cost estimates will be conducted as the design evolves to ensure that the scope of work and budget are in alignment with the evolving design. Regularly scheduled project meetings and review sessions with the Owner will establish the proper framework for decision-making. As the design documentation evolves, there will also be a rigorous Quality Review program, and detailed checking and coordination at the 65%, 90% and 100% stages of completion of documents.

     Effective project management is a means to an end; properly conducted, it is designed to take maximum advantage of the expertise of all the various team members, who must work in concert. This requires effective communication and collaboration. The PDI team has a great deal of experience in producing large, complex projects which require an integrated team approach, and we look forward to putting this experience to work for you.


 PDI Design Group started the Green Race long before the recent concern about global climate change. Many of the leaders of PDI began thinking about the role of humankind as stewards of the planet when we saw the first photographs of Earth from lunar orbit. As architects and designers, we recognize that our work has the capacity to influence our environment in numerous ways for good or ill. PDI has over 35 years of expertise designing high performance, environmentally appropriate buildings and urban designs in the United States and Asia. Building on this legacy through "integrated practice" processes, in-house initiatives and support of research initiatives, we continue to advance the definition of sustainable design and planning. PDI Green Race is dedicated to advancing and applying state-of-the-art sustainable outcomes in the built environment.

 From ecological impacts, stormwater management, energy use, material and systems life-cycle analysis, pedestrian oriented neighborhoods and green infrastructure, public health and indoor environmental quality, effective adjacencies, circulation and working environments, maintenance and operations, and economic considerations - we address the entire use and life of our projects.

 PDI is a sustainable design pioneer. We've been creating high performance buildings before most other architecture firms jumped on the 'green' bandwagon. The University of Minnesota Law School(1978) & Humphrey Institute for Public Affairs (1985) far exceeded State Energy Code requirements for exterior envelope and were the first buildings in Minnesota to use natural daylighting and vegetated roofs for stormwater management and moderating the urban heat island. At the State of Washington Labor & Industries Building, we pioneered healthy interior environments measures that are now standard. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratory building achieved high energy efficiency that still exceeds most LEED certified projects.