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Best Architect
DW Ricks Architects + Associates

Some creative types find it liberating to work with a blank canvas. But not architect David Ricks. He prefers to draw inspiration from what’s already there. Whether he and his colleagues are designing a brand-new house or an addition, they always put the project into context and consider its surroundings. Such was the case when the firm added on to a stone house on a prominent corner in Lyon Village (see above). The team took care to preserve the structure’s proportions as they faced the street and extended the stone exterior around the most visible parts of the addition. “We don’t come to the table with a preconceived notion of what the design will be,” says Ricks, whose eponymous firm is based in Clarendon. “The design is informed by the project site, the street, the lot, the owner, the budget. You assimilate all that information to come up with an appropriate design.” After working in commercial architecture, Ricks founded his own practice in 1988. The award-winning firm has remained small over the years—with never more than six employees—on purpose. Ricks likes forming close connections and “shared aspirations” with clients when it comes to their houses. “The styles are many, and the solutions are diverse,” he says. “But whatever we do, we want it to be a hand-in-glove fit.” –K.O.

3300 North Fairfax Drive, #200, Arlington, 703-525-0156, www.dwricksarchitects.com