in situ studio
Launching an architecture firm in the depths of a recession is not for the faint of heart. But that’s what Erin Sterling Lewis, AIA, LEED AP, and Matthew Henning Griffith, AIA, did when they founded in situ studio in 2010. Their optimism and knack for doing a lot with a little proved a winning combination for the times. “Our motto is, we don’t say no to anything,” Sterling Lewis says. “This is not a hobby practice for us; we both have families.” Alumni of the Raleigh-based firm Frank Harmon Architect, the partners bring big-league talent and rookie enthusiasm to even the most modest projects. “We’ve never liked the idea that you can only design houses that you could never afford,” says Sterling Lewis. “We’d like everyone to be able to afford good design.” The partners point with pride to a new green custom home the firm brought in (with some owner sweat equity) at $115 per square foot.
Public and commercial projects draw the firm’s interest as well, notes Griffith, who finds time to teach design studio at the North Carolina State University School of Architecture. But residential work remains the primary focus for now. “It’s really appropriate to start a practice on,” Sterling Lewis says. “We’ve learned so much so fast that we don’t want to transition out of that very quickly.”
years in practice: 2 / projects completed in 2011: 8 / firm size: 3 / areas of interest: residential, commercial, public