creating unique spaces for clients eager to be part of their architectural discovery – because we know how it feels
to be left out of the process.
GDA will bring value to every project through:
"we will share with you an architectural design process as unique as you and your needs are"
At GDA design & architecture, we believe that innovation and ingenuity should always be within your reach, only waiting to emerge with a design process developed and implemented through an individually tailored approach.
We shy away from preconceived paths which generate, usually, cookie-cutters solutions, because we believe that intelligent and creative people should live and work in intelligently and creatively developed spaces.
You are an intelligent and creative person: you may be involved with the arts, with research in general or with scientific research, with astronomical study and observation, or with research at Institutions of Higher Learning, or with adventure and explorations, or you may be involved with entrepreneurship. As such, you place a lot of value and meaning into research and discovery.
We understand that being interested in research processes and in the ensuing excitement of associated discoveries, it is very important for you to work with an architect who shares the same belief and approach with researching and discovering unique solutions for the spaces where you live and/or work.
Your journey to discovering your unique space is simple and starts here:
During our complimentary introductory meeting, we will begin the discovery process to become acquainted with your project scope and size, with your needs, wishes, and vision. We will review with you the project’s feasibility in relationship to your expected construction budget and desired project schedule.
When both you and GDA will feel comfortable with the project variables (scope, budget and schedule), we will develop a Bullet Proposal Outline for the Discovery Phase services for your review. The Bullet Proposal Outline will provide you with the description, item by item, of tasks, services, and deliverables that are needed, and those that can be available as optional items. Once we have a mutual understanding of a project plan, and an agreement to move forward, we will develop an Engagement Letter, to begin to work together with you on your project along a structured path of discovery, starting with Step 1 below.
INITIAL WORKING MEETING
During our initial working meeting we will spend more time with you to gain a more in-depth understanding of your ideas and will prioritize, with your input, specific needs, wishes and wants, and elements of general vision. This will allow us to better understand the general direction, and to define a more detailed work-plan for your project.
DESIGN DISCOVERY SESSIONS
We will establish a schedule for design sessions in order to review design options and choices, and ideas you may have and will want to share with us. We will work collaboratively, and you never have to worry about being left out of the process. At the end of this step, we will generate design options for your consideration and review.
EVALUATION & DESIGN IMPLEMENTATION
With this step we will streamline the options into one Preliminary Design Scheme and will review this design with contractors to get budget input, so that you can decide how and when to proceed with the final phase of the project and the development of final construction documents for a Building Permit application and for construction.
You will emerge from the above journey with a feeling of accomplishment knowing that the spaces we have designed together feel truly yours.
Better yet, you will emerge with a level of certainty and comfort, knowing what to expect when final construction documents will be completed and the project will be built, without unexpected, and potentially unpleasant, surprises.
What our clients are saying about us
”When we began to see his sketches and listening to the explanation of how this approach would open up our space in unusual ways, we were thrilledTerry and Dee H.
We love what Umberto has done for us with our renovation. Quite honestly, we were a bit nervous when he began talking about shifting the house geometry and axis from the straight direction and move the exterior wall at an angle to face the pool. We couldn’t see where this would lead us. When we began to see his sketches and listening to the explanation of how this approach would open up our spaces in unusual ways, we were thrilled. We realized we were being guided to think outside the box, literally, no pun intended! We didn’t expect the level of attention he put into the design of the floor and of the ceiling and we appreciated his thorough assistance in choosing the right flooring materials, including the dark granite band that runs all along the new partitions.
”He took the time, week after week, to sit down with us and listen to our ideas and “needs”, trying to combine pre-existing structures, practical aspects and a new modern designAnnette S. and Charlie C.
We met Umberto back in 2006 when we started to plan our remodeling project. He had been recommended to us by one of our neighbors, whom he had also designed their renovation for.
He took the time, week after week, to sit down with us and listen to our ideas and “needs”, trying to combine pre-existing structures, practical aspects and a new modern design. When he presented us with his first drafts, he already had several variations in mind, giving us the chance to explore various options. He was always open to suggestions and special requests. During the permitting process, he collaborated closely with our land surveyor and structural engineer and represented us during hearings in front of the zoning board and building department. Umberto really facilitated the whole project, always keeping track of the necessary steps and communicating the progress.
”We are working with Umberto and GDA design & architecture on a major renovation project for our home. Umberto is extremely professional and always delivers what is promised on time. More importantly, he really listens and incorporates our desires and needs into all of his design ideas. We feel very lucky to work with him and are looking forward to our new living space!Joanne C. and Susan F.
”The house turned out to be very spacious and larger than we could imagine and anticipate, although Umberto designed it according to our requested number and size of rooms.Guy P.
His ability to enhance the perceived size through the use of large windows is very skilled. The spaces Umberto designed for us are great, and the shape, size and relationships between areas in the house are exactly what we wanted. Two of the best rooms, filled with lots of sun, especially in the morning hours and with windows on two sides are the breakfast nook on the first floor and the second-floor room just above it. This room was used as playroom earlier on when the children were much younger, and now it could be used as a very good office space. Everything turned out just the way we had asked and wanted.
”Umberto designed my family’s home, and I fell in love with the space that he created.Jennifer G., Esq.
He designed a multi-story brick home with windows that appear to wrap around corners and stretch nearly floor to ceiling letting in as much of the Boston sunlight as it appears in the sky. Umberto’s talent is obvious in his ability to marry two opposite characteristics. He created an interior with high ceilings and skylights that gives one the feeling of space and air while at the same time creating little nooks in different areas of the home that are cozy places where you can read a book or listen to music. The unique design of our home also allows us to entertain many friends and relatives with ease but at the same time is just perfect for everyday living. I just love how our home feels.
“Architectural design as a process of discovery”
What makes GDA design & architecture different from other firms?
At GDA we know that you want to be an active participant in the design of the spaces where you will live and work. In order to do that, you need to find an architect who will invite you to participate in the design and who can guide you along a meaningful discovery process.
We know that you want to walk through each step of the discovery process and feel an intimate connection with your space: a space that will resonate with your inner and outer vibes and that will feel uniquely yours and yours alone, because it was specifically and closely designed with you in mind.
At GDA we do just that: we will not exclude you from the discovery process and we will not work in a vacuum.
We will welcome you as an active participant in the decision making process and you will be involved each step of the way.
When engaging GDA, you will feel excited to live, work and just be in a space that truly represents you – you will be beaming with pride when you’ll share with family, friends and colleagues a space that you helped to discover – you will be fulfilled, and you will feel empowered and rewarded, as your space will match the quality and depth of your life and work accomplishments.
Umberto Guarracino, president of GDA design & architecture, inc., invites GDA’s clients to think outside the limits of a simple box and look at the possibilities. As a teacher of Architectural Design, he brings to his clients the experience of fostering people’s ability to discover their inner inspiration and ingenuity. Umberto will lead clients to discover new shapes, and moods of architectural spaces with the same enthusiasm and sense of expectation with which he explores new forms and moods of sound during his classical piano improvisations, or of light, color, and reflections in the course of his oil painting exercises.
In addition to his 38 years of professional experience, both on his own and with large firms in Boston and Cambridge, Umberto provides his clients with an approach to design inspired by his architectural education at the “Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli” in Italy and at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University, by his rich Italian cultural heritage, as well as by images and memories collected during travels across Italy, Europe and the United States. He is a registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), of the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), and a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP BD+C) by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
GDA’s Team of Collaborators
At GDA, we are very passionate as a team about creating memorable places that are a true reflection of who you really are as a Client. Our team, through 95 years of combined experience and over 80 projects, has developed the understanding and the know-how to actively engage our clients during the project design process, with a system of specifically designed tools aimed at reinforcing and enhancing communication, collaboration and discovery.
Ashley Cote is a collaborator who brings to GDA a very robust array of technical and presentation skills such as: AutoCAD, Microsoft Office, SketchUp, ADOBE Suite, Detail Drawings and Renderings. Through very efficient time management skills and her ability to foresee the meaning and shape of a project at its completion stage, she is always capable to express in the best way possible how a project discovery can be most effectively and most successfully shared.
Ashley has 10 years of experience and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from the Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2011.
Michael Kelly is a collaborator who brings to GDA his passion and interest in residential architecture, and residential design. His interests in architecture, visual arts and filmmaking, coalesce very interestingly to emphasize his ability to discover and understand elements of dynamic perception and sequential perceptual hierarchies in the organization of residential spaces. Although he prefers small or medium-scale residential projects, he is flexible with his experience in designing large-scale projects of other types. Currently he is involved with the design of an urban townhouse complex for an arts commune as his school thesis project.
Michael has 6 years of experience and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from Roger Williams University in 2018. He is a 2020 candidate for his Master of Architecture degree at the same institution.
Paul Kennedy is a collaborator who brings to GDA his passion and consulting expertise for discovering the best structural solution for every project. Paul’s strength lies in his ability to quickly sketch his way through design challenges in a very compelling way both to clients and fellow designers alike. Paul continues to make an impact with those with whom he works through his efforts to gain a close understanding of clients’ and partners’ needs and through his ability to discover a refined product that has been thoroughly considered.
Paul has 10 years of experience and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from the Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2012.
Amanda is a collaborator who brings to GDA her experience and expertise for the discovery of tactile experiences through the refined use of color, materials, light, and texture in the shaping process that gives life to nuances of emotional response to the balanced beauty of her interior spaces. It is nearly impossible for Amanda to walk into a room and not begin to see its hidden potential for the discovery of new possibilities. Design is not something that she just does, it is part of who she is every day. It all began at a very young age when she was introduced to the world of interior design by her grandmother who embroidered custom draperies. It was there and then that the love for melding color, light, texture, and excitement began to take shape. But as much as she loved all of the pretty decorative things, it was at her grandfather’s wood workshop and in her 6th grade shop class that she was hooked on the idea that things could be created and built with her own hands. Amanda was never afraid to get some dirt under her fingernails – as she puts it – and she still does!
Founder and Owner of Studio Bowerbird – https://www.studiobowerbird.com/, and Certified Kitchen Designer with 20 years of Design Experience, she holds the CKD (Certified Kitchen Designer) designation from the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association).
Graduated from the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design in 2001.
The collaboration with Angelo Lepore comes to GDA with the special meaning of a shared rich heritage and the love for everything that breathes history, and layers upon layers of forgotten times with the anticipation of rediscovering old walls, where old patinas of textured color can bring back to life the intricacies of ancient tales. Angelo was trained in Italy and started to learn his trade when he was 15 years old during Summertime and school vacations, working alongside his father and master Antonio Lepore, an artisan with experience in various areas of Italy and owner of his own decorative painting company. After graduating from the National Art Institute, Angelo started to work full-time with his father, with simple application techniques first, and then specializing in the installation and finishing of ornamental plaster and decorative painting techniques such as “Terre Fiorentine” and “Velature”, after which he started experimenting with more complex finishes like Venetian plaster and “Marmorino”.
Angelo keeps always up to speed with all new techniques for the application of decorative plaster and painting, he is a certified applicator of the best Italian Venetian plaster manufacturer brands and he is an active member of “I Migliori Artisti della Decorazione International” and the “Make Art no War” group.
In 2009 Angelo moved to the US and started to work with general contractors as a painter to learn how projects are developed here in America and in 2011, he launched his own decorative painting company called Italian Accents – https://www.italianaccentspaint.com/ .
Kelsey Ling is a collaborator who brings to GDA her passion and high interest in sustainability, art and architectural history, and historic preservation. Her experience with multi-disciplinary firms including landscape architects, architects, and urban planners and her preference to work on larger scale projects provide her with the ability to superimpose a larger organizational conceptual framework even to smaller scale projects, and with the ability to discover with very relevant elements of memory and allusion the most critical interface nodes of the conceptual framework.
Kelsey has 5 years of experience and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from Roger Williams University in 2018. She is a 2020 candidate for her Master of Architecture degree at the same institution.
Justin Situ is a collaborator who brings Industrial, Graphic and Interior design consulting expertise to GDA. He always utilizes his best creative design skills for the discovery of effective brand experiences for successful business growth.
Justin has 20 years of experience and graduated with a Bachelor of Industrial Design degree from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2000, majoring in Automotive Design and Product Design, with a minor in Graphic Design. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineering, of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and of the Buddha’s Light International Association, which promotes interfaith action plans for the benefit of the environment and of future generations.
Stephanie Spiegel is a collaborator who brings to GDA a lot of youthful enthusiasm and creativity with her passion for critical thinking not only as an artist, but as a problem solver, as well. Her love for psychology and art has found an outlet with her insatiable need to design and create spaces that invoke a psychological response, creating the opportunity to discover the best way of sharing her love for the design process with like-minded individuals.
Stephanie has 2 years of experience and is a 2020 candidate for the Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree with the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Tyrone Yang is a collaborator who brings healthy building design consulting expertise to GDA. He is the founder of Yang Architects and Architectural Health – https://architecturalhealth.com/ . He is a WELL Accredited Professional, a FitWel Ambassador and a LEED Accredited Professional. As a WELL Mind concept advisor, Tyrone advises on the discovery of design recommendations translated from scientific research for the Mind concept of the WELL Building Standard version 2 (currently in pilot).
Tyrone has 20 years of experience and graduated with a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2002. He also has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University. Currently, he teaches Environmental Design Research at the School of Architecture of Roger Williams University.
Ready to Get Started? Let's Discover Your Project
Why wait and do nothing? You will run the risk of never achieving the space of your dreams.
Why decide to work directly with a Contractor without engaging GDA? You will run the risk of lacking knowledge on where to start and how to proceed, and you may end up experiencing a lot of frustration, feeling stuck, with potentially unpleasant surprises during and at the end of construction. A good recipe for disaster!
Why decide to work with another Firm, instead of working with GDA? You will run the risk of not getting a unique space, or of being left out of the design process, feeling disconnected and isolated. This can create a certain level of anxiety, uncertainty, frustration and it may make you feel self-doubting, diminished and powerless, not very healthy at all!
Don’t take these risks, call us today or schedule your first Discovery Meeting, so that you can be sure of not being taken advantage of by wasting time and money, and will avoid the risk of ending up with a space and a building that could be totally unrelated to you, even if it was meant to be designed with you in mind.