Since a very young age, I have been fascinated by the inherent power of the built environment to uplift and inspire humanity.
I attended four years of Architectural school at Tufts and graduated with a soul brimming with dreams and a mind filled with theory. As I stepped over the threshold of academia into the rugged urbanscape of actual life, a sinking reality hit me in the face like a hammer.
I could not build.
I literally did not know how to build a home, an office space, barn or an ADU—much less a cathedral, custom dwelling or exquisite structure with the power to spiritually and emotionally move or uplift its occupant.
Obviously, it was a joke to think I could direct a contractor to build in any kind of efficient, cost-effective or practical manner.
I was Prince of theory…
Yet a pauper of practical application, competence, judgement, and prediction.
To say this was humbling would be an understatement.
After I gathered my wits sufficiently, I sought and took a job as a carpenter. I wasn’t even good—but I bootstrapped it and learned. I grew and gained in ability–practice began to balance significance.
In this personal crucible New England Design & Construction was born. Nearly 18 years ago now. I was determined to forge a company that would creatively plan and expertly build on a single platform of aesthetics, service and accountability.
And the match-like flame of curiously was lit in my mind—how on earth could this actually be the reality of this industry? It seemed instinctively like an Architect should be able to actually build a building—wouldn’t that make sense? Why would the theory be piled in abundance on one side of the table—fully divorced from the real and essential practicality of the building process?
This led me down a path of some years–fully researching the history and origins of the Architect and the Builder to find my own truth and understanding in this field. Not what was taught in textbooks—but the actual truth born out on the landscape of mankind’s history and the timeless beauty of immortal structures still inspiring generations mankind thousands of years after their creation.
In today’s industry of home design & construction the Architect and Contractor are neither fully responsible for the project from concept to completion (no matter how well intentioned either may be). Because of this fractured arrangement, the client is often left out in the rain.
If you’ve ever paid for architectural plans and designs that looked exhilaratingly beautiful but were then bid out to contractors for two or even three times your project budget…you will understand this.
What I found could (and will) fill a book. It’s coming out later this year.
But in the meanwhile the answer is simple—the Architect in his original role was a Master Builder.
THE WORD “ARCHITECT” MEANS “MASTER BUILDER”.
The root of the word architect breaks down into “chief” or “master” (arkhi) and “builder” (tekton). Archi and tekton come from the ancient Greek language, which further originated as far back as 3,000 BC.
This role was originally recorded in Kemet—northern Africa.
Architectus carried the same meaning in ancient Roman times, as is evidenced by the oldest surviving writings of the profession authored by Vitruvius from around 25 BC. In the Middle Ages, the word largely fell out of use and was replaced with others such as “master mason.”
The word architect was re-discovered along with Vitruvius’s texts in 1415 in Italy. This re-discovery helped forward the Renaissance and a craze for all things from Ancient Rome, including its style of buildings. This Ancient Roman style was a stark contrast from the Gothic buildings in vogue and what builders of the time were familiar with designing and building.
The origins of this role stem from Northern Africa, pass through Greece and spread throughout the Western World. For thousands of years, this was how mankind built—with one single individual (an Architect) fully responsible for every aspect of planning and construction through the entire process of construction.
The White House, The Parthenon, the Colosseum, The Eifel Tower. All were done Design Build. The natural way of planning, design and construction that mankind has followed for millennia.
The role of the Architect was arbitrarily and intentionally fractured in the mid 20th century. This impacted the training of generations of future Architects and its ramifications ripple through the industry even today.
With NEDC I have sought to honor this legacy of the Architect as a Master Builder. We create beautiful, bespoke spaces throughout Boston for some of Boston’s leading thought leaders, innovators, and brilliant minds. It’s an honor to do so.
Here is some of our recent work—done full Architectural Design Build, from initial concept through the last nail of artisan build:
I very much believe in this and am working beyond the scope of my company to restore this truth and simplicity to the industry as a whole.
At the end of last week, I received this uplifting message from a Boston client—I’m going to share it with you here as it put a smile on my face:
“Hey everyone, hope you are all doing well!
We just wanted to drop a line to say thank you!! It was around this time last year that we first met to discuss the project and it’s crazy to think how much the house has been transformed since then. We are truly grateful to have been able to do this project and to work with you folks on it.
It’s been a weird couple years and we know it’s been stressful for everyone. The team at NEDC has been extremely professional throughout the entire process and things never felt as stressful as they could’ve been.
Let us know if you want any specific pictures of the space for your social/portfolio. You’re of course welcome any time to take pictures…
Finally, a special shoutout to Joe (NEDC designer) and Mike (NEDC Project Manager) for being our main partners throughout this. We were so confident in the design going into the construction phase and everything came out looking exactly like we imagined.
This kind of communication means the world to us!
We endeavor to be transparent as regards cost. Rather than shy away from the subject we prefer to table it. Along these lines we’ve developed a Boston Home Design & Remodeling Cost Guide to real costs for each main space of a home based on actual projects. This is meant as a free resource for Boston homeowners, real estate advisors and anyone who will benefit from such straight talk.
New England Design & Construction Cost Guide:
David Muniz Supple