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How we think



Studio Rebus practices what we call Deliberate Design.

 We use the term ‘Greener’ not ‘Green’.

Green is an endpoint.

Greener is a process – noting that we strive toward an aim.

Our knowledge is imperfect, but the status quo is a death sentence.

We must progress beyond current practice. 

The aim is building joyous and sustainable lives and space.


We get the term Deliberate from Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walden.

 I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

 I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.

 I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

 We use the filter of Deliberate to ask,

“With this choice – with this line – are we tending toward the more essential or the less?” 

“Are we enriching our lives or impoverishing them?” 

“Are we saving something for the unborn future or are we gobbling all for now?”


Take a look at the picture.

It was taken in Afton State Park along the St. Croix River in Minnesota.

It's a good illustration of the model we use in contracting -- design / build.

If you look at the upper part it reads as 'forest'.

If you look at the lower part it reads as 'trees'.

Our industry is bifurcated.

Most of the contractors are shunted to a place where they're really good at seeing the trees.

Most of the designers are shunted to a place where they're really good at seeing the forest.

Design / Build sees both. 

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Another quote from Walden


This describes the design – build process.  Castles in the air are your fantasies, dreams, aspirations, ideals, values and the design that’s the intermediary between the Unseen and Seen.  The build part is of course putting the foundations under the dreams.


Studio Rebus invented the ‘Thoreau’ as a unit of measure named in honor of Henry David.

One Thoreau = the space both architectural and natural required by one human being to live a joyous and sustainable life.


We must shape technology to reflect what we hold dear.  Dr. Sherry Turkle, MIT

Spaces that nurture ourselves, our family, our friends, our community and our World. 


Studio Rebus Incorporated 

510 Sibley Street  Suite 503  Saint Paul  Minnesota  55101 

763 412 8070