Crescendo Design was founded in October, 2003 as the home-studio design practice of myself, Jon Brouchoud and my wife, Kandy Brouchoud. Kandy and I met in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Before graduating, we spent some time studying in Paris and London, then completed our internships state-side with several architecture firms in Dubuque, Milwaukee and Madison. We settled into a home in Madison, where Kandy continued working for an architecture firm, while I pursued a variety of architecture-related assignments, starting Crescendo Design essentially as a means of organizing my efforts as a cross-disciplinary consulting practice.
In late 2004, we decided to move closer to my family in Manitowoc, Wisconsin due to an illness in the family and became caretakers of a nature reserve on Lake Michigan called ‘Kingfisher Farm.’ During this time, we became interested in Cradle to Cradle (C2C) design philosophy, and entered the ‘C2C-Home’ competition to design a home based on C2C principles. Our design, called the ‘Nutrihouse’ was chosen for construction from over 500 designs submitted, which essentially kick-started our focus on residential design.
We were invited to design several new homes for GreenStar homes in Madison, and secured several more projects after showcasing the Nutrihouse and the new ‘Hybrid House’ concept we developed with GreenStar during the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s annual fair later that year.
As we continued serving clients throughout the midwest from our home studio near Manitowoc, we started using the virtual reality platform ‘Second Life’ to help our clients visualize design ideas. By modeling ideas using the Second Life platform, we could meet with clients virtually and enable them to review the designs from the comfort of their home. Not only did this enable us to offer an unprecedented and cutting edge level of design visualization, but it also reduced our travel time as we served such a wide geographic region.
We continued designing homes, but moved to California for a year, as I accepted a unique position in Berkeley, California to further explore the application of virtual worlds in the professional practice of architecture and beyond. While we were in Berkeley, Kandy took the opportunity to work for a local architecture firm – continuing to expand her expertise and knowledge of residential design.
We settled back in Madison, Wisconsin in late 2007, and purchased a home on an 8 acre lot on the Waubesa wildlife area about 10 miles south of downtown Madison with plans to remodel it into a demonstration home with a new home-studio space for Crescendo Design. We continue to engage in a wide range of assignment types, including additions, remodel projects and new home designs. I have also continued taking on virtual projects, exploring how this technology can be useful in architectural design and collaboration.