WERK | Building Modern is a group of Indianapolis Custom Builders and Construction Managers (CM) offering a clearly-defined construction process designed around client priorities with a heightened focus on achieving the design vision; undeniably, we are a direct extension of the creative process.


Who are we?

We are the Architects at HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles, and we started building our client projects in 2004.


Why do we prefer building the projects that we designed?

Simply, we want HAUS projects built to client and architect specifications.  To that end, building allows us to make that happen with oversight of every aspect of the project.  It helps enhance our client relationships and simplify the design + build process with one point-of-contact.


So, what’s the backstory?

Having apprenticed at commercial, design-focused architectural firms, we became accustomed to a process of design and construction that was comprehensive and well-documented, with all design decisions going through the Architect.  When we began working in the residential design marketplace in the late 1990’s, we quickly learned some important differences.  In Central Indiana at that time, Architect involvement on residential projects appeared to be relatively rare.  The market was dominated by custom builders who often led the process with or without design professionals involved, and we observed what appeared to be a general lack of design sophistication and documentation.

Although we are seeing industry-wide improvements, we must keep pushing to do better.  Our most prevalent ongoing professional concern over the last 20 years on residential projects is the frequent lack of architect involvement + deviations from design-intent that continue to occur during the construction phase.  For this reason, we created WERK | Building Modern to ensure Architect involvement during the construction phase and protect the design vision with seamless professional leadership + execution.


Why do construction-phase deviations happen and why would owners and builders not correct them?

In commercial construction, it’s expected that the Architect be engaged during the bidding and construction phases of the project.  In particular, the Architect is available to answer questions, provide supplementary details, and provide regular site visits (COMMUNICATION).  This preventative maintenance helps to ensure that construction meets the design-intent (ie, protect the interests of the client).  It’s important to note that design + construction drawings don’t stand on their own and usually don’t illustrate every detail needed to build the project.  Also, perfection is not an industry expectation (standard of care).

For these reasons, it’s really important that the originator of the design (the Architect and design team), be available to interpret design-intent and answer questions during the construction phase.  But in the residential marketplace where Architect involvement is less common, the client may choose not to involve the Architect during bidding + construction phases.  This is when problems can occur, as mistakes may not be noticed and questions not answered either at all, or until it is too late.  Or client may have agreed to suggested alternates without the benefit of Architect review.


What about high-performance building and environmental sustainability?

We’re glad you asked!  High performance building and environmental sustainability have always been important to us as architects.  And now, low-impact environmental solutions are becoming a mainstream consideration in all areas of life, but particularly the design + build industry.  In fact, we are happy to report that is has become unusual if a new client is not requesting smart, sustainable design/build solutions.

WERK team members are versed in many aspects of sustainability.  To that end, we continue to seek new information and learn from/document our case studies in the field.  In our business model, the Architect leads the design process from beginning-to-end in collaboration with the Client.  That initial visioning process includes a review of goals and opportunities related to all aspects of the project.  Importantly, it includes high-performance, environmental sustainability, and overall resiliency concepts.

As we identify priorities and these design concepts advance forward, the Architect continues to develop passive and active strategies.  The Architect does this work in collaboration with Client, Consultants and Trade Partners (via WERK) to a level of detail ready for construction.  Check-out some of the Architect’s background on high-performance building here.  WERK assists the process with trade contractor coordination + real world budgeting.  This collaborative effort coincides with the Architect’s current design to help keep the project on track from a budgeting and scheduling standpoint.



What are the advantages of having WERK lead the building process?

Having originated the design, the Architect with client has already dreamed it, drawn it, detailed it, and virtually walked-through it before construction begins.  With Architect as Master Builder, execution of design concepts and alternatives along the way (ie, value engineering) receive the benefit of daily Architect oversight and clear communication at each step of the process, which is a major benefit of direct collaboration between Architect, trade contractors, and client.  Clear communication by less parties may also translate into less time, less cost, and higher quality.  With WERK, our clients get a 2-for-1 and better outcomes.

Check out what our colleagues at GLUCK+ are doing and how they explain the benefits of Architect Led Design-Build.



What do you care about?

Do you care about excellent design, great communication, and protecting the vision during the construction phase?  If so, then WERK may be the perfect partner in the oversight of your building process from beginning-to-end.


Obviously, we collaborate regularly with our sister company, HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles, in a design-build arrangement.


Please contact WERK to begin a conversation and learn if we seem a good fit for one another!



Chris Short – Owner/Principal – AIA, LEED AP BD&C, NCARB
Derek Mills – Project Management/Trade Collaboration
Paul Reynolds – Architect/Maker/Builder
Erika Rogers – Project Management/Trade Collaboration



Phone:  317.652.2828
Email:  angle@werk-build.com
Address:  933 N Layman Avenue – Studio 1, Indianapolis, IN  46219


Please see our project stories below and be sure to check-back for new projects and news!