Living Color: Whelan gives her kitchens subtle, sparkling color with counters made of IceStone, a terrazzo-like composite of Portland cement and glass aggregate. “It has so much variation,” says Whelan, who favors the company’s lighter-hued offerings. “It’s also sustainable. It’s locally manufactured using recycled glass.” Supplied with a high-gloss finish, the material can be honed or sandblasted for a softer appearance. IceStone,

photos by Sam Oberter © 2011

  Plane Geometry: Dri-Design’s metal siding panels come in painted aluminum, anodized aluminum, copper anodized, copper, and zinc, and can be installed directly over building wrap or in rainscreen applications. “They have tons of colors, and they have nice corner details,” says Whelan, who used it in the project shown. And because the material comes in flat, tapered, perforated, and textured versions, “there are a lot of neat effects you can do.” Dri-Design,

  Slide Rule: Like other sliding door hardware systems, Häfele’s gives designers the flexibility to fill virtually any interior opening with a movable partition. What sets the company’s custom architectural sliding door system apart, Whelan says, is how it rolls: smoothly and easily. “It works well for us,” Whelan says. “It operates beautifully, and it’s not hard to install.” Häfele America, hafele.comweaetxdyvaydzcwq

Fiber Optics: 3form’s Varia Ecoresin panels “freeze” various natural and manufactured materials—grasses, textiles, colorful strips of paper—in sheets of translucent resin. “These are just fun,” says Whelan, who last specified the product for a custom bi-fold door. “I used the grass pattern,” she says. “It lets the light through, but it provides privacy.” With many options of texture, pattern, and color available, she adds, “the sky’s the limit.” 3form,

On Deck: Common in the Appalachian Region, black locust is an often-overlooked native species that is well suited for outdoor use in exposed locations (such as a deck in the firm project shown here). “It’s a local hardwood that’s naturally rot resistant,” says Whelan, who likes black locust decking for its appearance, sustainability, and durability. “It’s very dense, so it’s very hard to cut, but it doesn’t tend to warp a lot. It’s hard to find a mill that stocks it, but they’re out there.” Black Locust Lumber,

Garden Glow: Often overlooked or handled as an afterthought, landscape lighting is actually one of the best gifts an architect can give to a building. Whelan has used Louis Poulsen’s Nimbus Power LED fixture to great effect on many projects. “It’s kind of a workhorse,” she says. “It’s nice for uplighting trees and featuring plants in a garden. You can mount it in the dirt or in pavement, and it’s LED, so it’s energy efficient.” Louis Poulsen,

Wish List

  Rain or Shine: “It rains a lot in Philadelphia,” says Whelan, who has been on the hunt for fast-drying outdoor furniture. With its light metal construction and powdercoat finish, Emu Heaven Seating fits the bill. “It looks comfortable,” Whelan says—especially the lounge version (an armchair, shown, and side chair are also available)—“and it’s a metal weave, so it wouldn’t matter if it got wet.” Steelcase,

  Full Coverage: Whelan is primed to use Max Exterior siding by German-based manufacturer FunderMax. Produced in large-format panels that give walls a sleek, monolithic look, the high-pressure laminate is topped with a color or pattern layer protected by clear polyurethane resin. “It comes in a bunch of colors, and there’s a version of it that has a nice wood look,” Whelan says. “It’s a good value for a composite panel.” FunderMax,

See all the entries in Architects' Choice 2013.