The Cottage Court at The Cavalier, Virginia Beach, VA.

Our place-making services spans all different sizes and scopes, from a block to a whole new development with the goal always the same to improve the built environment.  We offer a variety of services from design to implementation and review.  Our designs look to their site for the inspiration and are base on the principles of new urbanism.  The term 'new urbanism' is not as new as the name implies but takes the ideas and principles of urbanism and combines them with the needs of today's society which now includes the automobile, while never forgetting the pedestrian.  We offer many services for place-making design, visioning books, pattern books, code review, form based codes, plan review, and town architect services.  We also team with others, especially those of the Urban Guild in order to provide our clients with the best possible resources and services.




Sommer Design Studios works with other architects and planners to help establish the best team for your project needs and goals.  The Charrette is a type of design workshop where we gather the various stake holders,  and have an intense multi day session to design your project.  We use the Charrette process for both planning and discovering architecture character or plan books for whole developments.


Vision, Pattern Books and Codes


Visioning books contain the design and vision for the property.  They help to share your design with potential clients and investors.  They are a combination of the plan, perspective vignettes describing the main spaces of the plan, and architectural character of the place.  All of these grow out of the site and take on a regional quality. Pattern Books and Codes are the tools that help you implement the vision.  The pattern books help to set the standard of design and construction, which are assembled based on local precedent and technique.  It is important to explain why we do certain things so that they become embedded in the local vernacular of the place.  The code of the place helps to regulate street design and placement of buildings in relation to the street.  This is what gives a place it's form.

Note work pictured above was with various firms including Michael Watkins Architect, Brown Design Studio, Moser Design Group, and Thompson Placemaking


Town Architect


The role of the town architect is to help make sure the town or village is being developed according to the vision.  They help to review plans, both commercial and residential, to make sure they are meeting the intent of the code.  The town architect does on site inspections to make sure the buildings are according to the approved drawings.  They can, also, serve as a resource in selecting a group of pre-qualified architects, designers, and builders to help implement the vision.  The town architect can be based on site or travel depending on the need of the development.