The Principles of Architecture

As the exclusive winner of the LUX Leading Designers 2017 – USA award, we spoke to Mary René Clawson principal and founder, to learn more about the firm’s work in the design sector.

Clawson Architects LLC, headquartered in Maplewood, New Jersey, currently provides professional architectural services in New York, New Jersey, Vermont and Florida. Clawson Architects has been approved and certified by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury as a small business enterprise and women-owned business enterprise.

As experts in historical detailing – Clawson Architects designs additions and renovations that look as if they are original to the buildings architectural intent – or they create something totally original that speaks to the clients’ favourite period in architectural history as well as the contextual surroundings.

Principal and founder, Mary René Clawson begins by explaining what the firms does and what they set out to achieve.

“Clawson Architects is an award winning and nationally recognised architectural design firm for those who value design and believe that everyday life can be enriched through extraordinary design. Clawson Architects is an award winning and nationally recognised architectural design firm for those who value design and believe that everyday life can be enriched through extraordinary design.

“We strive to meet your contemporary living and working style with straightforward, thoughtful, sustainable design solutions. When working with historic properties, we respect the existing details and style. As a full-service architectural and interior design firm with expertise in both residential, retail and institutional facilities, Clawson Architects provides services such as programming, forensic architectural services, restoration, professional testimony and construction administration, as-built documentation, interior design services, model building and 3-D rendering.”

Mary then outlines the firm’s approach to architecture and design, revealing the geographical scope of their services, plus the unique challenges they face when tackling each project assigned to them.

“We preserve and enhance the original architecture, while including modern amenities, making a seamless transition between what is new and what is original to the structure. When designing from the ground up, we take our cues from the surrounding  landscape and the client’s personal style, making each project individual and original. Keeping abreast of the latest innovations in ‘green’ architecture, technology, practice and materials that are smarter and yield a more sustainable future is at the core of meeting our professional commitment to you as well as the environment.

“Clawson Architects provides services across the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, as well as in Vermont and Florida. We have provided both residential and commercial architecture and design services in locations like Chatham, Colts Neck, Maplewood, Mountainside, Ridgewood, Short Hills and South Orange in New Jersey, Gramercy Park, Greenwich Village, NoHo, the Upper East and Upper West Sides of Manhattan in New York City, Katonah, Rhinebeck, West Point in New York State, Sharon CT, South Hero VT and Boca Grande FL.

“Every project we work on, whether new construction, an addition or a renovation, has its own unique challenges and opportunities for both innovation as well as creativity. Though the scope and style of our clients’ projects vary, we dedicate the same principles to every job we do: attention to detail, respect for historical context and aesthetics. We do this with designs that are always human-centric, siteappropriate and environmentally responsible.

“Clawson Architects’ commitment to these principles is illustrated on several projects, that range from New York City loft apartments to new houses in the rural woods, from gut-renovated home kitchens to a not-for-profit institutional respite centre that serves thousands of people weekly. The range in style, size and scope keeps us energised and excited about each new project.”
Green – an Old Idea with New Public Awareness The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark in the USA for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. 

Mary René Clawson is overseeing Clawson Architects’ commitment to their clients and the environment, as just part of what they have always been called to do as architects. Mary then reveals more about this aspect of the firm’s work, in her own words.

“Many clients inquire about an emerging category called ‘green design’ — At Clawson Architects; we do not view sustainability as a new idea, or separate from good design in general. As members of the American Institute of Architects and the National Green Building Council, the team at Clawson Architects: works with you and your budget to meet and exceed where possible the ever-increasing energy, material and clean air standards being adopted by many municipalities as part of our community’s commitment to being green.

“We will help you create a sustainable home by taking advantage of all the opportunities your site location offers. The firm also offer more sophisticated mechanical systems and ideas can be explored if your budget allows. We are keen to help and guide you through what is becoming known as ‘green washing’, that is false claims of being environmentally correct.

“In short, keeping abreast of the latest innovations in technology, practices and materials that are smarter and yield a more sustainable future, is at the core of Clawson Architects green commitment.”

The principal and founder of the firm is Marvin E. Clawson. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Science degree in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University in New York City. Prior to founding Clawson Architects, Mr. Clawson was the director of architectural design at LRK Architects, Inc. and an associate at Cooper, Robertson & Partners. He also worked with the office of Thierry W. Despont, Ltd and Charles T. Young Architects. Mary René Clawson is eager to share with us more about his impressive background in the industry.

“Marvin successfully led the Clawson design team in the development of three award winning designs for the American Institute of Architects Design Awards. In 2013, two residential projects garnered gold and silver medals for design excellence. In 2015, a gold medal for design excellence was awarded for the Seamen’s Church Institute. Marvin also enjoys teaching classes at the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, the Beaux Arts Atelier and the Fashion Institute of Technology, all located in New York City. 

“Besides teaching, Marvin works as a guest juror and lectures around the country on Palladio and his presence in American architecture and the literature and theory of classical architecture. After being an active member of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art for over 20 years, serving on many committees and as a fellow (including leadership positions as the president of the fellows and as secretary), he has earned his emeritus status. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Interior Designers, The Society of Architectural Historians, the Association for Preservation Technology and the Congress for New Urbanism. 

“He also holds a certificate from The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. He is available to speak upon request. Mr. Clawson also volunteers within his community and with the Raritan Yacht Club. He has served on his town’s economic development advisory committee and the Maplewood Village Alliance.”

Mary René Clawson principal and founder, earned her Bachelor of Architecture at Louisiana Tech University. Prior to founding Clawson Architects, Ms. Clawson worked with the New York City architectural firm of Buttrick White & Burtis, where she gained varied experience working on Tower Records & Video retail stores, the renovation of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, renovation and restoration of Fordham University’s University Chapel and the Park East Day School. 

In closing, she is eager to reveal more about her industry background and current position within the firm.

“Currently, I am the Clawson Architects leader for green technologies and material trends. I have been a guest lecturer on LEED in practice as well as indoor air quality and the psychology of colour. I am available to speak on request. I am also an architect and member of the American Institute of Architects, a LEED® Accredited Professional (with specialty in building design plus construction) with the U.S. Green Building Council and a certified interior designer. 

“After serving four terms as the president of the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce, I stepped aside and now represent the Maplewood Business Community on the Essex County Inter-Chamber Coordinating Council. I have acted as an advisor to the junior membership at Raritan Yacht Club since 2006 and I have been elected to the 2015-2019 Raritan Yacht Club board of governors. I am also a junior league sustainer, as well as a volunteer in her community and local school district.


Company: Clawson Architects LLC

Name: Mary René Clawson

Email: [email protected]

Web Address: www.clawsonarchitects.com

Address: 511 Valley Street Maplewood, NJ 07040 USA

Telephone: +1 973 313 2724