Landing in an airplane is one of my favorite moments of a travel day. One aspect is landing to the safety of walking on solid ground. The other aspect is watching the amazing views of the city. When you arrive into a city from the air, you view the landscape as perfect. At birds eye view, 5,000 feet above ground, cars and trucks move angelically along freeways. Car horns cannot be heard; road rage doesn’t exist. At that altitude, age hardly exists —rust, dents, and cracks, and the daily wear and tear cannot be seen. Roads look to be freshly pressed, not 25 years old with massive pot holes. An 85 year old man is indistinguishable from his 18 year old grandson. Boats on the water glide along, smoothly and undisrupted by the wake.

Seeing the city from a bird's eye view, as if every piece was perfectly connected, describes the collective product that our engineers, architects, and designers provide. Buildings, sidewalks, neighborhood roads, freeways, clean drinking water, treated wastewater, public spaces and parks all create the scene we see every day as an entire city enterprise. This idyllic balance is what we strive for every day to harmonize the variety of disciplines that make up a full service team. And understanding each piece of the city is what brings everything together. As 18-wheelers travel across interstates connecting manufacturers with consumers, we connect our individual expertise to create a unified project that delivers solutions to our clients. Some projects connect a few of us to renovate a building. The next project may require several of us to design a new building with smart building diagnostics, on a site that needs new wastewater collection and an upgraded electrical service. Another project includes designing a new road system ensuring longevity against the 18-wheelers wear and tear. Down the road, our civil engineers may have designed the new freeway interchange currently under construction.

At C2AE, we provide the three building blocks of a city: infrastructure, superstructure and natural spaces. Infrastructure includes elements below and above ground, disciplined by civil and environmental expertise, developing systems for clean drinking water and the treatment of waste. Our transportation engineers also provide safe and reliable transportation systems. Add in our landscape architects to harmonize their knowledge with civil engineers to develop parks and public gathering spaces creating Natural Spaces for healthy communities.

Our architects, interior designers, structural, electrical, mechanical, civil and environmental engineers, and landscape architects come together to design the superstructure of a city. Superstructures are the elements for private and public places for commerce, including buildings to house government, offices, and industrial facilities. Many of our projects include designing and renovating libraries, fire stations, schools, and healthcare facilities. We understand how people interact with space. We listen to users and design to improve function while bettering the human condition for today and tomorrow. We are architects and interior designers, creating pieces that make up the whole enterprise of a community, while working with our in-house engineers for seamless integration. As seen from a bird’s eye view through an aircraft window, the building blocks of a city are vital for strong communities with bright futures. We understand the systems and creative process, providing the experience and professionals is our contribution to communities. Integrating the disciplines and offering a full-service organization is what we bring to our clients. 

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Amelia Richards, IIDA, LEED GA, NCIDQ, is an interior designer at C2AE.