Zigzag House

Crossing Fields Workspace

Sudbury Residence

AM Apartment

Apartment B

Sectional Bench

3x3 Residence

Apartment C

Austin Residence

Condensation House

Times Square IMAGO

About Reverse Architecture

Reverse Architecture is a full service architecture and design practice specializing in contemporary sustainable design. Principal Carl Solander is a Certified Passive House Consultant (CPHC®) and LEED Acredited Professional (LEED AP). We seek projects of all types and sizes in architecture, landscape design, urban design, and object design. Our focus is on design innovation.

Reverse Architecture was founded in 2007 in Cambridge, MA by Carl Solander. Our design philosophy is characterized by open experimentation that takes into account the needs of the client, the demands of site, culture, and ecology, the inherent properties of materials, and the transformative potential of technologies and techniques. The name of the practice, “Reverse Architecture,” is derived from the concept of reverse engineering. From Wikipedia:

“Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object or system through analysis of its structure, function and operation. It often involves taking something (e.g., a mechanical device, electronic component, or software program) apart and analyzing its workings in detail… or to try to make a new device or program that does the same thing without copying anything from the original.”

Reverse Architecture strives for innovation in design through a close examination and reinvention of basic elements of the built environment. We seek novel ways of making and constructing through proposing new criteria—criteria that are specific both to the project and to broader cultural and ecological conditions. Precedents of expediency and convention are purposefully rejected in order to thoughtfully rephrase problems and carefully consider solutions for design at all scales. Our ethos is to unify emerging digital design and fabrication techniques with enduring methods of handicraft in order to fulfill the demands of the project through the most suitable and responsible means available. This “digital / primitive” mode of design and fabrication yields a richly layered hybrid condition of form and material.

Reverse is also a word that deals with movement. It is not a direction, but a direction given to direction. To reverse is to change direction. This does not necessarily imply going backward, but it raises the question of whether we must always look only forward. “Forward-looking design” is a tired cliché. The avant garde designer often projects a cartoon image of the future into the present, calling such an image progress. Reverse is to go back and forth, to turn over a problem, to look for solutions hidden in plain view, to think through novel designs without the conceit of achieving the future in the present. Reverse is movement that changes and adapts to other movements. As the world evolves, the past persists in the present, and new technologies must be built upon the old. Reverse Architecture embraces the coexistence of the old and the new, the obsolete and the untested, as rich territory for experimentation in design.

Carl Solander

Carl Solander, AIA, CPHC, LEED AP, graduated from Columbia University in 1999 with a BA in Architecture, and completed a Master’s of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005. Before founding Reverse Architecture he served as project architect and senior designer at Howeler + Yoon Architecture and MY Studio in Boston, MA. Carl is currently a lecturer at MIT. He has previously lectured at Harvard Graduate School of Design and taught architectural design at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and MIT.

CPHC® is a certification mark of Passive House Institute US (PHIUS). Used under licese.