Maybe you haven’t heard of Stemach Design + Architecture, but chances are you’re familiar with The Restore, Immersion Brewing, Spoken Moto, The Bite in Tumalo, La Pine Community Health Center, and 10 Barrel Brewing’s Galveston Pub. Well, these are just a few of the projects that Stemach Design has worked on around Central Oregon. A few weeks ago, we sat down with Rachel and Stacey Stemach, Owners and Architects, to learn more about their firm’s dedication to sustainability.
Stemach Design, founded in 2013, is conveniently located in the Box Factory – which is also one of their current projects, as the area gets renovated to accommodate new tenants and a pedestrian promenade. Their office space is beautifully designed, as you would imagine. But it’s also super efficient, with a ductless heat pump and operable skylights and windows to heat and cool the office. Most days, bikes can be found in the front entryway, as employees are encouraged to bike to work and participate in Commute Options programs. On days when Stacey and Rachel don’t bike, they drive their all-electric vehicle to the office.
It’s immediately clear that they both care deeply for Central Oregon and wish to contribute to a sustainable, vibrant community. Sustainability efforts are intrinsic to who they are. It’s seen in their personal lives, how they operate their business, and in the designs they provide for clients. They lead by example, and it’s helped them carve out a unique niche here in town. (For those of you who attended Green Drinks at Stemach Design in July 2017, you got to see first-hand the passion and energy that’s stirring within this firm!)
Rachel grew up in Bend, so she’s witnessed the consistent growth and development in our region. This inspired her to become an active Historic Landmark Commissioner, who helps property owners preserve historically and architecturally significant buildings and districts.
Stacey plays a role in city planning at the micro and macro levels. He’s helped advise on the future of Bend’s sewer system and on the recent urban growth boundary expansion. He’s also currently involved in the new Bend Central District Initiative, which is building momentum for a mixed-use neighborhood with safe connections between east and west Bend.
Ultimately, they both want to see a more walkable and bikeable community, and for homes and businesses to be built in a way that encourages solar and smart growth for Bend. And they’re actively engaging in our community to help make this happen.
Stemach Design works mostly on commercial projects. They do a few residential projects – mostly home additions and remodels. When they’re involved in new construction, they first and foremost consider how the building is connected to the site. They try to leverage solar orientation, build a tight envelope, and design energy-efficient systems throughout the project. Stacey talked about the importance of ‘making little tweaks’ wherever possible, so that the end product is more efficient and healthy than the client may have even planned for. In addition, Stemach Design is knowledgeable about all the available incentives through Energy Trust of Oregon, and helps coordinate these rebates on behalf of their clients.
We asked both Stacey and Rachel about what drives them to be green.
“I want to leave our community better for the future,” said Rachel.
“I want to tread lightly and have a smaller footprint,” said Stacey. “Which means I have to apply my values to everything we do here at the firm. We have to walk the talk.”
So, what’s on the horizon? They’re busy to say the least, working on the expansion of Crux Fermentation Project, On Tap (a new food truck lot in NE Bend), a historic rehabilitation of the Tetherow Homestead in Redmond, and remodeling Ruffwear into a new co-working space for the outdoor industry. Visit Stemach Design’s website (and follow them on social media) to learn more and see some of their beautiful work!