Category: David DeQuattro

Architecture and Mental Health: Designing for Well-being

In recent years, the intersection of architecture and mental health has garnered increasing attention from architects, psychologists, and health professionals alike. The environments in which we live, work, and play profoundly affect our mental well-being, mood, and productivity. This growing awareness has sparked a movement towards designing spaces that meet our physical needs and support and enhance our psychological well-being. This blog from David DeQuattro explores the critical role architecture plays in mental health and outlines principles for creating spaces that promote a healthier, more harmonious life.

The Psychological Impact of Space

Research has shown that the design of our environments can significantly impact our stress levels, mood, and overall mental health. For instance, a lack of natural light can lead to vitamin D deficiency and has been linked to depression. Similarly, overcrowded or poorly designed spaces can elevate stress and anxiety levels. On the other hand, well-designed spaces that foster a connection to nature, provide a sense of community, and offer areas for rest and relaxation can enhance our mood, increase productivity, and even improve our cognitive function.

Designing for Light and Nature

One of the most critical factors in architecture for mental health is incorporating natural light and elements of nature. Studies have consistently shown that natural light can significantly reduce depression and anxiety, improving overall mental health. Architects can design spaces with large windows, skylights, and open floor plans that maximize the entry of natural light. Additionally, integrating green spaces, indoor plants, water features, and views of nature into architectural designs can help reduce stress and promote well-being. This concept, known as biophilic design, is becoming increasingly popular in both residential and commercial architecture.

Creating Spaces for Social Interaction

Human beings are inherently social creatures, and our mental health is closely tied to our relationships with others. Architectural design can either facilitate or hinder social interaction. Designing communal spaces that encourage interaction, such as courtyards, shared gardens, and open-plan living areas, can help foster community and belonging. These spaces should be accessible and inviting, encouraging people to come together and connect.

Ensuring Privacy and Personal Space

While social interaction is crucial, so is the need for privacy and personal space. Architectural designs must balance communal areas and private, quiet spaces where individuals can retreat and recharge. This is particularly important in high-density living environments like apartment buildings and shared housing. Strategies can include soundproofing, thoughtfully placing windows and screens, or landscaping to create private outdoor areas.

Flexibility and Control

The ability to control one’s environment can also play a significant role in mental health. Architectural designs that offer flexibility in space use and allow individuals to control lighting, temperature, and noise levels can contribute to a sense of autonomy and well-being. This might include adjustable lighting systems, sound insulation, and modular furniture that can be reconfigured according to the user’s needs.

Safety and Accessibility

A sense of safety and ease of accessibility are fundamental to mental health. Architectural designs should consider safety features, clear wayfinding, and accessibility for all individuals, including those with disabilities. This not only ensures that spaces are physically accessible but also promotes inclusivity and a sense of security, which are essential for mental well-being.

The relationship between architecture and mental health is complex and multifaceted, touching on elements of design, environmental psychology, and human behavior. As we continue to understand this relationship more deeply, the role of architects in creating spaces that promote mental health and well-being becomes increasingly essential. By prioritizing natural light, connection to nature, social interaction, privacy, flexibility, and safety, architects can design environments that meet our physical needs and support and enhance our mental health. In doing so, we can create spaces that nurture and uplift, contributing to healthier, happier communities.

The Role of Planning and Architecture in Urban Design

David DeQuattro

Urban design is a topic with plenty of sprawl to consider. However, there is perhaps no more crucial aspect to understand than the architecture and planning that goes in to creating a great design. Below, David DeQuattro examines the role of planning and architecture in urban design.

Urban design is different from other design approaches because it incorporated the planning and architecture that focuses on improvement of physical and non-physical attributes. For example, some physical changes may be for safety in an urban building, while non-physical aspects focus on creating a sense of beauty.

In this article, we’ll cover the role of planning as well as architecture in urban design. By the conclusion, it will be clear what makes urban design different than other design categories are the steps taken to plan, as well as the focus on architecture and it’s uses. Let’s get started.

How Urban Design Differs from Others

Many who consider the topic of urban building will associate the term “urban planning” with the process. However, this design is different from urban planning in terms of goals.

Urban planning is meant to focus on adhering to policies and regulations according to the area the development is going to occupy. Essentially, urban planning is focused on following the rules of the area and making the most of resources.

On the other hand, urban design has a different connotation. Planning is still involved, but the focus of that planning is on improving both the function of the location and the way it looks or is perceived by those living nearby.

Instead of paying close attention to building ordinances and state law, urban design begins its planning stage by considering some less tangible qualities, such as what a building will look like.

Some of the ways that urban design shows this change in planning and attention to architecture are listed below:

  • Attention On Nature – Studies show that spending time outside, or even interacting with outdoor elements like sunlight or the sight of the sky while indoors, is helpful in improving a person’s emotional and mental state. Urban design keeps this in mind in park areas as well as the overall layout of business and home buildings.
  • Safety – Though many ordinances taken into consideration with urban design are in place for the safety of the public, urban design takes an architectural approach to the same problem.
  • Social Engagement – Much of the planning for architecture and general space considered in urban design is geared toward encouraging social interaction that is positive. This can look like amphitheater areas incorporated into parks, or natural seating around a city.
David DeQuattro

In Conclusion

One of the most important elements an architect can consider is the role of architecture and planning in urban design. In fact, the focus and attention while planning are the main ways that urban design is set apart from urban planning.

While this and other approaches to creating a city are focused more on the legislative side of the problem, urban design accomplishes the same goals while adding non-physical benefits to the mix. Some of these include, as discussed above, space for socially engaging with the community and improving mental health.

The Changing Architecture of New York

David DeQuattro

New York City is one of the world’s biggest and most influential cities, including when it comes to its buildings and architecture.

New York has seen numerous architectural transformations, progressing from European movements to being a trendsetter in its own right in the twentieth century with the advent of the modern skyscraper. Now, David DeQuattro explains that the focus is on repurposing existing structures while also creating spaces centered on sustainable building practices.

In the following article, more about the changing architecture of New York City, both past, present, and future is discussed.

New York in the Past

Early architecture in New York was heavily influenced by settlers from Europe. Wood, brick, and stone cladding were prevalent, as well as pitched roofs.

In the 1800s, like a lot of the western world, New York was swept up by the Greek Revival movement, which led to the creation of some of its finest Neoclassical pieces of architecture, such as Federal Hall. Towards the latter half of this century, the Gothic Revival saw the creation of beautiful churches like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity Church.

The early 20th century introduced the architectural advancements that New York is famous for in skyscrapers. These buildings, spurred on by the 1916 Zoning Resolution would see the city’s skyline become the model for countless other busy, population-rich metropolises all over the globe.

The Current Struggle

Nowadays, New York has become a victim of its own success. Millions upon millions of square feet of its buildings now lie vacant, including residential spaces, retail stores, and office blocks.

The simple reason why there is so much unused space is that no one, save for large corporations, can afford to rent, or buy it. This has then led those in more affordable neighborhoods to try to make the most out of their vacant spaces while they are still attainable, creating nightclubs in old subway stations, or art spaces in old barber shops.

David DeQuattro

How Architecture is Adapting

Although New York is still sticking to its signature skyscrapers, with architectural projects aimed at residential buildings for the elite, such as the 1550ft tall Central Park Tower which was completed in 2020, toward ground-level architecture is moving to reclaim old spaces and build on them, rather than creating new structures.

One of the main principles being shown in new architectural structures and spaces around the city is the need to create green spaces as well as look towards recycled and sustainable materials.

New Structures

Examples of new green public spaces include Freshkills Park on Staten Island and Hunter’s Point South Park in Queens.

The Mercury Store, which was designed by CO Adaptive and completed in 2021 has a focus on reducing the carbon footprint of building construction and materials, showcasing reused mass timber as one of the key components of this performance and exhibition space.

Unsightly concrete structures of the past are also being given over to nature. The Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center uses gravel made from the ground-up concrete from a 12.5-acre parking lot.

Although these are smaller projects compared to the megastructures on the city’s skyline, they are starting to show a small but noticeable shift toward sustainability within the city’s architecture. Only time will tell if soon we will see these practices being used on a much larger scale to build the NYC of the future.

David DeQuattro Asks Do Architects Make Better Owners Project Managers?

David DeQuattro RGB Architects Providence

David DeQuattro of Providence has been reviewing whether architects make better owner project managers. To answer the question, one needs to understand what the role of the Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) is. David DeQuattro of Providence explains that the OPM should represent the client’s best interest during a construction project. Most owner’s do not have significant background in construction, consequently, do not understand certain nuances present throughout the construction industry. These nuances could be building related, code issues, or contractual items. A good OPM can help an owner who is new to construction or has limited experience in the industry navigate through a project from start to finish, saving time and money.

David DeQuattro explains that architects have historically been at the helm of construction projects. For centuries, architects were acknowledged as Master Builders. As construction practices have shifted and different construction delivery methods emerged, the architect is still responsible for the overall design of the project, however, the contractor or construction Managers role has moved to having increasingly more influence on that design specialty with project execution and time sensitive materials and methods.

However, the benefits of having an architect as and OPM at the beginning of a project, are that architects are trained in design and construction. They tend to have the ability to understand projects wholistically, and to focus on the most efficient and cost-effective way to build. Cost and efficiency are always in the architect’s mind, but so is esthetics, function, and orientation. Having an OPM architect on board from start, the owner the perspective from start to finish, and can take advantage of items involving planning, design, and the execution of construction.

David DeQuattro on Historic Construction Practice & Architecture

David DeQuattro RGB Architects Providence

David DeQuattro on the study and effort for the restoration of Historic places hold an important place in society. Over time the history of buildings in our county provides a significant part of our cultural heritage. Buildings display a diversity of construction methods and the use of various materials in their construction period in which they were built. These in turn serve as a great tool for reference in building science as well as giving witness to stylistic clues in design theory over many decades. Saving structures of importance from our past is valuable to our communities and our country as a whole. Historic places give evidence of our past industrial technology, offering a glimpse into understanding the construction practices across a given timeframe. A study of these conditions provides evidence of methods developed that worked well, and in other ways may not have been successful. By looking to the past, we can “revisit” these conditions in real-time.

At times we may even learn a thing or two. Relative to our general thinking that modernization equates to advancement when in reality an older method was or is just as effective, if not superior to a given process used in this day.

Buildings are generally reflective of the societal norms and practices within a distinct period of time, and of the physical context in which they are built. Sometimes, David DeQuattro explains these practices are more formal than what is expected today, other times buildings reflect a design approach that goes against the “normal practices of the day”. This change may alter our way of thinking as to what a building should represent. A building can express much more than just protection from the elements and security from our local environment.

The use of diverse materials and construction practices in a given region tend to express the need and desire of that community/population.

Over the last number of years, we have found a few conditions of this. Just a few of these are the following. The use of bentonite clay as a water absorptive and water stop material at foundations is also very effective. The application and use of boric acid as a wood preservative and an insect-prohibitive agent is very effective. While considered toxic and hazardous today, the following materials are still viable in their use. Sheet Lead as masonry flashing has no equal. Poured liquid lead as an anchor for iron or plumbing fixtures is one of the longest-lasting and durable methods known. Lead used for tinning of metal roofs and as a seaming material will last as long as the sheet metal. Slate tile roofing is one of the longest-lasting and aesthetic roof materials in existence.

All of the above components are stable, are generally impervious to UV, salt, or acid rain, and weather incredibly slowly.

One of RGB’s specializations is and has been the restoration of historical structures. Most structures if maintained can last decades and even centuries. RGB can help restore your structure to it optimum use and performance.

David DeQuattro of RGB Architects On the Most Common Interior Design Mistakes of First Time Homeowners

Purchasing a home can be an incredibly exciting time for individuals, as it means designing a space without the restrictions of renting. However, creating a cohesive space without an interior design background can prove quite challenging, as many first-time homeowners discover each year. David DeQuattro, partner of RGB Architects, believes that knowing the key concepts of interior design can help homeowners avoid costly redecorations and ultimately save thousands of dollars within their lifetime. Within this blog, David DeQuattro of RBG Architects will share the most common interior design mistakes first-time homeowners make and what individuals can do to avoid these mistakes when decorating their next home. 

Forgetting About Scale

When it comes to interior design, the number one mistake first-time homeowners make is scale. While the concept of scale is something the majority of interior design students learn within their first year, the average American has likely never heard of the concept. Oftentimes, homeowners will put a group of small things in a room (knickknacks, collectibles, etc.) on display. Unfortunately, this can clutter a space and make it difficult for the eye to find a place to land. Other times, homeowners can place too many large bulky items in a room, making a room look overcrowded and small. Scale requires the decorate to use a mixture of shapes, heights, and sizes to create balance within a space.

Painting First

When we move into a home, the first thing many Americans reach for is their pints of paint. It is common for families to start their interior design process by picking a paint color and creating the design of a room around that color. This will inevitably limit options, however, in regards to furniture, accents, and rugs. Instead, RGB Architects encourage homeowners first to find fabrics and textures they love and choose paint once they have a developed concept of the room.  This will make the space much more cohesive and likely save you money in the long run. 

Failing to Create a Solid Budget

Unfortunately, few people understand how important it is to create a solid budget for a design project until halfway through the process. This often leads to people overspending on a few items and having to wait months or years to save up enough money to finish the project. Before shopping for furniture or paints, try to create a comprehensive budget that will allow you to include “must-have” items but also allow you to finish a space within your ideal time frame. 

Displaying Clutter

It’s quite difficult to create a beautiful space that does not quickly fill with clutter. While this may be difficult, it is not impossible. Before moving to another home or starting a new interior design project, it is crucial to clear out unused old items to limit the clutter within a new space. Not only will this help make the home look cleaner, psychologists have also found that a home clear of clutter can help free up time for homeowners and reduce a significant amount of cleaning time.

David DeQuattro of RGB Architects Discusses Initial Steps When Designing a Custom Home

According to the National Association of Home Builders, in the United States, roughly 200,000 custom homes are built each year. Although this number may seem quite large, it’s a fraction of the annual 1.3 million residential homes built by American developers. However, as the average cost of a home in the United States real estate market continues to climb, more and more Americans are looking for other ways to get their dream home. As one of the leading architectural firms in Providence, RI, RGB Architects has helped thousands of families design their custom home and possess an in-depth understanding of the custom home development process. For the many Americans now considering building a custom home, David DeQuattro of RGB Architects hopes to share initial steps that will help ensure a smooth custom home development. 

Understanding the True Cost of Building a Custom Home 

Creating a custom house is not a simple process, and it can be a challenge to account for all a home’s factors when calculating a total budget. Some of the variables that affect the true cost of the home the most include location, local taxes and fees, design and engineering fees, cost of construction, landscaping, and interior decorating. On average, prices for new homes can range anywhere between $80-$200 per sq foot, meaning a budget for a 2000 ft home can span anywhere between 160,000-400,000 dollars. Additionally, the length of the project can drastically affect the total cost of a custom home. 

General Outline of Process

On average, it takes roughly 11 months to build a custom home from scratch, including roughly 1-4 months for an architect to draw up blueprints. However, this process can be elongated if potential homeowners are not aware of the steps that must be completed within a specific timeline. A rough outline of this process includes: 

– Hiring an architect or an architecture firm

– Hiring a general contractor 

– Consider hiring additional teams such as interior designers, landscapers, etc. 

– Obtain different documents for the building process, including: • Insurance• Permits• Payments• Inspections 

– Cleanup of building materials

– Landscaping and interior design 

Carefully Research Potential Lots 

When it comes to turn-key homes, oftentimes, housing developers have already researched the area and ensured all zoning, septic connections, and energy codes are up to date. However, David DeQuattro stresses that when choosing a location for a custom house, the burden of research falls on the homeowner. While a lot may look perfect, certain zoning can drastically impact the construction of your home, such as the height of the home, distance from the street, and whether or not a family can build an in-law suite. 

An Overview of the Pandemic’s Impact on Home Offices

David DeQuattro

In recent months, American employers have reported difficulty hiring employees for in-office positions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly 50% of the American workforce transitioned to a work-from-home model, which offered reduced commute time, savings on food and transportation, and an overall greater work/life balance. Although many offices are re-opening thanks to the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, US workers that were able to work through the pandemic see little benefit in returning to the office. RGB Architects, an architecture firm based in Providence, RI, has experienced a surge in the design of home office and interiors during the past 18 months and expects this trend to continue as more Americans demand remote work options from employers.

Productivity in the Home Office

For many years, employers cited productivity as their main reason for not allowing their employees to work from home. However, various studies conducted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have proven this to be false and, in fact, have shown that working from home actually increases productivity. A study conducted by Stanford of 16,000 workers over nine months found that remote work increases productivity by 13% thanks to fewer distractions and fewer breaks. Today, many experts believe that the work-from-home boom will likely lift productivity in the US economy by 5%, thanks to savings in commuting time.

Why all Americans Should Have a Home Office

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown American employers that their workforce can continue to produce excellent work from the comfort of their homes. In upcoming years, US workers can expect the number of remote jobs to increase as more employers adopt the practices seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. While workers have proven their productivity in the home, David DeQuattro of RGB Architects recommends remote workers create a home office as opposed to working from their living room, bedroom, or kitchen table. Studies have shown that those without a designated workspace are less likely to have a good work/life balance and have been shown to be more distracted than those with a home office.

The Continuation of Work from Home

As US companies are now asking employees to return to the office, many American workers are now wondering what the future of remote work will look like. Many studies have estimated that roughly 56% of US jobs are at least partially compatible with remote work. However, before the pandemic, only 3.6% of American workers worked from home half the time or more, with one Gallup 2016 survey showing that 43% of the workforce works from home at least “some” of the time. Once the COVID-19 pandemic has fully concluded, American workers can expect a greater number of employers offering work-from-home, with many experts estimating 25-30% of the US workforce working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.

Design of a Home Office

Designing a home office that will be used to respond to the technical needs of videoconferencing is critical. The type of desk, its location, and the equipment and backdrop wall have a delicate integration. All of the elements needed will create not only a harmonious environment, but a productive workspace.

RGB Architects Discusses How to Obtain An Architecture License

Each year, nearly 400,000 new architecture graduates join the workforce; however, of these graduates, more than half will begin working as architectural and town planning technicians, another 7% will start working as chartered architectural technologists, and just 4% will work as architects. The primary reason that only 4% of architecture graduates become architects is primarily due to the time-consuming and challenging process of obtaining an architecture license. On average, within the United States, it can take 11 years to obtain an architecture license and begin practicing. RGB Architects, a premier architectural firm based in Providence, recognizes the talent and innovation of the next generation of architects and each year welcomes several architect interns to study at their firm. Today, RGB Architects (Robinson, Green, Beretta Corp) hopes to inspire others to join this dynamic industry and discuss the process of obtaining an architecture license. 

Education Requirements

The step students must complete in order to become a licensed architect is to complete their first professional degree in architecture. A “first professional degree” is an accredited program approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Most NAAB accredited degrees will include a 5-year undergraduate degree or a 3-year graduate degree. 

Individuals who have an undergraduate degree in another subject can still become architects by earning a Master’s degree in Architecture. However, because they have not taken any previous architectural courses, these master’s programs will often take between three to four years to complete. 

Complete an Internship

All fifty states require that architect graduates complete certain training or internship programs before obtaining their own licensure. These internships will typically last a minimum of three years and help architects gain hands-on experience at an architectural firm under the supervision of experienced and licensed architects. The majority of states use the Intern Development Program (IDP), which is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and requires interns to complete 5,600 hours of state and NCARB approved work experience. The experience is categorized into elective and core hours; however, the four main areas covered by the IDP include pre-design, design, project maintenance, and practice management. 

Earn Licensure & Certification

Before being able to practice, all states require architects to obtain licensure. While the requirements for obtaining licensure vary depending on the state, most only require applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree program and an internship. All applicants who qualify are allowed to sit for the NCARB’s Architect Registration Exam, which consists of seven pass-or-fail tests covering a variety of topics ranging from building systems, site planning, and construction documents. 

Additionally, many architects opt to earn voluntary NCARB certification, which allows architects to obtain reciprocal licensure from other states. Architects who have been licensed and who possess documentation of ARE passage, transcripts and proof of prior experience are allowed to apply for the certification. However, some candidates might be required to complete additional testing or sit for an interview before being approved by the NCARB.

Providence based Firm RGB Architects Discusses Developing Architectural Concepts

For many architectural students, developing a fully formed architectural design can seem like a daunting process. While developing architectural concepts from simple parameters may seem like an impossible task, the majority of experienced architects use several proven approaches to help fuel their creative process and create the first draft. Since their foundation, the architectural firm of Robison, Green, Beretta Corp, also known as RGB Architects, has garnered a reputation within the architectural community for their cohesive, creative vision and innovative designs. Below, RGB Architects, based in Providence, RI, will discuss different processes associated with developing architectural concepts. 


When designing a structure in a well-known or historical district, many architects will use a contextual approach for creating their architectural concept. For this type of approach, architects will often heavily draw from site analysis and explore the data gathered from outside the site, whether physical or non-physical. Although every project must use context to a certain degree, some designs may focus more on a site’s context than others meaning specific projects hould consider it as the most crucial factor in design creation. 


Typically, architectural students will grapple between creating a design that is functional or one that is aesthetic. While this task is certainly challenging, combining function with aesthetics is often the defining mark of an experienced architect. A factory or hospital’s design should first and foremost meet functional requirements; however, that does not mean an experienced architect will not be able to include a visually pleasing design. However, when creating a draft for these projects, architects will often first work to create a functional design and later add in different creative elements. While every project will present its own unique set of problems, looking for the sole function of the building will help focus an architect’s design and resolve these issues. 


When architecture students are stumped, oftentimes, professors will encourage students to consider their own design philosophy. Each architect will have their own set of values that influence their designs. Whether these values are influenced by physical spaces, nature, or the concept of ideal structures, asking architects to consider their own design philosophy while developing an architectural concept can not only help them move forward with their design but develop a structure more true to their own style. 

Philosophical questions that architects can use to investigate their own design philosophy include: 

Artistic vs. artificial 

Consumer needs vs. wants

Individual vs. societal structures

Rational vs. irrational 

Personal vs. universal