About Strada

Strada means “street” in Italian. Streets matter to us. They’re the fundamental infrastructure of our cities and the core of our civic lives. They’re the connections between buildings, people, and public spaces. This is why we’re so inspired by them and it’s a shared commitment to these values that brought our principals together. Just as people mingle on city streets, our office is a place where we freely exchange ideas, challenging and inspiring one another to create exceptional work.

Latest Post

The Integrated Design Practice

04.2018

"The more complex the ecosystem and the greater the diversity of its parts, the more successfully it can resist and recover quickly from stress. "

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Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Street Talk

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The Integrated Design Practice

04.2018Building, Design, Ideas, Places
By Claudia Saladin, ASLA, LEED AP

As a landscape architect, I tend to think in ecosystems. Ecosystems are systems comprised of interacting parts (for example: trees, water, animals, insects) that support a whole (in this example a forest). The relationships between these parts are complex. The more complex the ecosystem and the greater the diversity of its parts, the more successfully it can resist and recover quickly from stress. Thus, the healthier the forest will be.

A Healthy Ecosystem

A Healthy Ecosystem

For example, in a forest composed of a diverse mix of tree species, if that forest is impacted by a disease or pest that affects one of those species, there are numerous seeds and saplings of many species in the understory that will grow in to fill the gap and heal the forest. If a forest is composed of only one or a few species, then a disease that damages that species will devastate the forest. The forest lacks the reservoir of seeds and saplings of diverse species to grow in and take over. These monocultures (the cultivation of a single crop in a given area) — typical of many of our urban forests of street trees — may appear orderly and stable, however they are less resilient to shock.

A design firm is like an ecosystem. It is made up of a number of professionals with varying levels of diversity on a variety of fronts (for example: race, gender, life experience, professional training, to name a few). These individuals interact in a series of complex relationships to create design. An integrated design practice, such as Strada, is one where the firm has sought to create a diverse and robust ecosystem of designers in a deliberate and thoughtful way. Professionals at Strada are trained in a variety of disciplines – architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, graphic design and urban design. They also bring unique and complementary backgrounds into their professions – carpentry, law, fashion design, contracting, farming, fire fighting and experience as a green beret. This diversity – of individual experience and professional training – leads to a culturally diverse and healthy design ecosystem.

This is more than just an analogy. Research supports the claims that diversity leads to better design. Scott E. Page at the University of Michigan has done extensive research into the value of diversity. His research demonstrates that groups with a diverse range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Page asserts that innovation depends less on brilliant lone thinkers and more on diverse groups of people collaborating and capitalizing on their individuality. The Strada team is a diverse group of individuals collaborating in complex relationships to create extraordinary places for people.

Bakery Square

Bakery Square

Rivers Casino and Riverfront Park

Rivers Casino and Riverfront Park

Strada is a cross-disciplinary design ecosystem where a diverse team of professionals – architects, interior designers, landscape architects, graphic designers, and urban designers – and other unique individuals collaborate closely both internally and externally with clients to create places that people truly enjoy. We engage clients and make strong-rooted connections between people, place and space.

Claudia Saladin, ASLA, LEED AP
Claudia Saladin, ASLA, LEED AP

Claudia’s credentials in landscape architecture and environmental law give her the expertise to visualize and shape the landscape while understanding the policy and infrastructure governing her options. Since joining Strada, Claudia has worked on award-winning projects including a multi-million dollar riverfront park in the heart of Pittsburgh and a 116-acre corporate campus for Dick’s Sporting Goods. She has helped orchestrate demanding planning projects as well, such as the Larimer Vision Plan, the Bakery Square Master Plan and green infrastructure, as well as the Master Plan for West Virginia University’s Evansdale campus.

Strada Elevates Abby Mountain to Senior Associate

02.2018Firm news, People
By Street Talk Editor

Strada, an industry leader in cross-disciplinary design, is excited to announce the elevation of Abby Mountain to Senior Associate. “Abby has been instrumental to Strada’s growth and success since 2002, and we are thrilled to advance her to this important position,” said Al Cuteri, firm principal and human resources leader. Abby joined Strada nearly 16 ...
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The Craft of Story Building

02.2018Design, Ideas, Places
By Mason Radkoff, CSI/CCCA, LEED AP BD+C

A story’s form should be organic— the moves it makes, the shape it takes. Initial visions of setting, theme, voice, and plot emerge as the writer intuits what the story needs without the anchor of minutia holding things back. Art is made.
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