Sam Bell-Hart received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Theology from Bard College in 2010, but as a lifelong maker, he was quickly called back to his craft. He spent the next five years as a professional woodworker and furniture maker until he was inspired to design even bigger things. He earned a Master of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and worked in Missouri for two years before returning to the plentiful forests – and wood! – of his home state of Maine.
The opportunity to apply his skillset to high-performance buildings and affordable housing drew Sam to our team, where he brings a love for detail at every scale and a knack for turning even the most complex challenges into opportunities for creative design. His favorite moments to puzzle through are those that fall between the scale of furniture and house – staircases, built-ins, a built-in sauna tucked beneath a staircase. He believes in building with a minimum of fuss and with high-quality materials that are appropriate to their application. In most instances (and much to his delight), Sam would advocate that there is no material quite as good as wood, especially because of its low embodied carbon relative to alternatives. He champions strategies to reduce the carbon impact of our projects and ensure their lasting health and durability.
“I think that every project requires a unique approach; input from our clients, consultants, builders, and the building site are as equally – if not more – important to a successful project than our own design philosophy,” he says. “The hope is to achieve spaces and an aesthetic that will age and evolve gracefully in response to their environment and use.”
In his spare time, Sam can be found woodworking, renovating his home with his partner, and doting on his cat, Gus. While he laments that Gus has no real aptitude for architecture or interest in sustainability, Sam does appreciate that he at least tolerates walking on a leash, even if the furthest they ever make it is to the end of the yard.