“Three basic principles – total design control, orderly articulation of space, and painstaking care in the solution of individual problems – are apparent throughout their work.”  

Progressive Architecture
Progress Report: The Work of Ladd & Kelsey, December 1959

Total Design Control

“Architecture is a profession demanding the same degree of experience, skill, and personal attention as medicine or the law.”

Ladd & Kelsey Architects

Ladd & Kelsey’s complete dedication throughout the lifecycle of a project required they maintain a small practice rather than transitioning into a larger, more corporate model like peer practices William L. Pereira & Associate or A. Quincy Jones. The firm at its largest had a staff of 10, allowing Ladd & Kelsey to maintain complete creative and implementation control while nurturing a congenial, comfortable culture for its team. Their total design control is displayed today in an uncommonly consistent body of work marked by a singular vision, style, and gravitas.

Orderly Articulation of Space

While Ladd & Kelsey worked in a modernist style, antiquities served as the basis for ongoing inspiration.  

Ladd & Kelsey’s design wish was to “achieve an entity of structure, landscape, and interior” (Progressive Architecture, December 1959). Their testing grounds were private homes where limited size, sites, and budgets encouraged ingenious spatial solutions. While residential work only represented five percent of their volume, this work earned positive critical attention and gained them commissions for large, complex projects.

Meticulous Approach

Ladd & Kelsey were amiable with clients, staff and construction crews while also maintaining laser focus and full ownership of its projects beginning-to-end. The firm used elaborate, large-scale presentations and models to bring their work to life and to remove ambiguity from the concept and design phases that would guide a project’s construction. Special periscopes were employed to further delve a client into a structure’s environmental experience. Their elaborate scale-models grew to 40-feet in length and would become an effective sales tool, committing both the architects and client to a project’s realization rationally and emotionally.