Office and Partner Profile
EASTON+COMBS is an award winning, internationally recognized architectural office focused on innovative building strategies through the convergence of material practice, emerging methods and applied architectural research.
EASTON+COMBS was founded in New York City in 2004 as a full service office with a commitment to excellence in design, production and application. In 2013, after a residency at the American Academy in Rome, partners Rona Easton and Lonn Combs established a new design studio in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. With the addition of the Berkshire based studio, EASTON+COMBS have expanded from their expertise and experience in urban center issues to include a focus on the rural context. Over the last two years, the Berkshires based office has developed an applied research focus in super energy efficiency, cost effective construction approaches, with a reduced organizational and essentialist aesthetic approach. The office is currently in various stages of design and construction of residential projects in the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires. In addition to the integration of these approaches within the design practice, Rona Easton is a certified Passive House Consultant, and as such the practice offers energy modeling and consultation for deep energy retrofits as well as new construction.
EASTON+COMBS were recognized in Architectural Record’s Vanguard Issue as architects “who are already doing some of the most innovative work in the field and will lead the profession in the future.” – Architectural Record’s 2012 Vanguard Issue
Recent awards and recognition include design merit awards from the AIA New York Chapter for 2010, 2011 and 2012. Architecture League’s ‘League Prize’ in 2008. NYS Council on the Arts grant in 2011. EASTON+COMBS is an active member of the NYAIA New Practices Committee having been awarded in 2010 with the ‘highest honor’ in the biannual New Practices New York competition recognizing important emerging practices in New York City.
Lonn Combs is a cofounder of EASTON+COMBS, a currently registered architect in the State of New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as a National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certificate holder and a member of the American Institute of Architects. In addition to co-directing the practice he is an experienced educator and currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Director of the school’s Master of Architecture program.
Lonn earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Kentucky in 1992 and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in 2001. He first achieved professional licensure in Berlin, Germany, where he lived and worked during the post reunification years of the 1990’s.
Lonn was awarded the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome in 2012. During his fellowship period he conducted research on the history of the material innovation of Pier Luigi Nervi and collaborated on multiple projects with EASTON+COMBS partner Rona Easton.
As an educator, Lonn has over 15 years of experience in teaching and administrative leadership roles in leading schools of architecture including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pratt Institute, City College of New York, Columbia University and Cornell University.
Lonn Combs was awarded the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement from the the University of Kentucky College of Design. The Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor conferred upon a graduate of the UK CoD, and it recognizes alumni that are making significant contributions to society and whose career and accomplishment have brought distinction to their profession and the College of Design.
Lonn Combs AIA, FAAR
Member of the American Institute of Architects (#30208195)
Fellow American Academy in Rome ’12
NCARB Certificate: 59401
Rona Easton is a cofounder of EASTON+COMBS and a registered architect in the United States (NY) and the United Kingdom. She obtained her undergraduate degree in architecture at the University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow. She completed her post graduate professional degree at the University of Westminster and a Masters degree from the Bartlett School of Architecture’s Unit of Advanced Architectural Studies. She was one of the first wave of LEED Accredited Professionals and maintains a focus on sustainable research and design.
Rona Easton is currently a Certified Passive House Consultant, having undergone extensive, rigorous training in the technologies and building science of high-performance, energy efficient construction. Through this leadership, EASTON+COMBS offers energy modeling, passive house design, specification of low consumption mechanical systems and high performance building envelope detailing.
Rona Easton’s interest in professional practice grew out of a focus she begun with research at the Bartlett Master’s program dealing with the social and spatial logic of cities, their interpretation an evaluation as an urban pattern and ultimately leading to design methodologies incorporating this knowledge base in the practice of architecture and it’s impact on urban design.
Practicing in London, Berlin, Hong Kong and New York, Rona Easton developed and led public and private projects in a wide range of types from infrastructure, commercial, bio-science, health, institutional, retail and residential – and from the urban scale through to small scale buildings and interiors. Easton has spent more than 25 years in professional practice, working with international firms such as HOK and RMJM, for clients including SUNY Downstate, Metro-North and the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company.
Her work with EASTON+COMBS began in New York City, and co-existed for a number of years with her work in larger corporate architectural practices, as EASTON+COMBS built their reputation as innovative thinkers, makers, and award winning designers.
Rona Easton, Licenses:
Architecture and Design Services
EASTON+COMBS has over 50 combined years of experience in the field of architecture at the partner level – having amassed considerable expertise in the skills required to guide all scales of projects from pre-design stages through to completion, for a diverse range of clients, budgets, program and schedule constraints.
EASTON+COMBS have established successful collaborative working relationships with clients and consultants, and are intimate with the demands and process of designing and building in many markets:
- Residential: New construction, single family; Multi family, market and affordable; Renovation, including deep energy retrofit
- Commercial: Community master planning and real estate development planning; Light industrial buildings
- Retail: Interiors; Retail & business center master planning
- Institutional: Schools, public and private; Medical facilities, renovation and new construction; Medical research facilities
- Public & cultural: Performing arts centers; Museums; Public spaces
- Installations and Exhibitions: Pop up retail stores; Exhibition design; Gallery installations; Exterior public structures
- Product Design: Furniture; Architectural surfaces (wall and ceiling panel systems)
Professional and Technical Services
In addition to design services, our scope can include:
- Site analysis and planning, including assessment of specific site related passive energy design opportunities.
- Evaluation of the most appropriate energy efficiency construction and delivery systems for specific projects. We are Energy Star Partners, LEED AP, Certified Passive House Consultants (CPHC).
- Energy modeling on WUFI software, to predict a building’s energy performance.
- Guidance and oversight of Passive House certification process.
- Analysis and assessment of Building Code requirements, including Energy Codes.
- Building permit documents and application.
- DEP Notice of Intent applications for work within sensitive environmental areas. (MA / NY)
- Interface with consultants and contractors, including with ArchiCAD / Autodesk Revit and related Building Information Management (BIM) software.
- Guidance on contractor / crafts people selection and design build project management.
- Preparation of bid documents and evaluation of submitted bids.
- Construction administration.
Working Process with Clients and Stakeholders
“We start by listening to and interpreting the client’s needs and stated goals. We invest time in the analysis of the site and work with the client to explore the opportunities that a unique site, budget and affords with a building type, schedule or scope of work. Budget constraints do not prevent a great project, in fact the process of looking at all of a projects’ constraints together to identify clear goals creates a truly collaborative process between client and architect which we continually cultivate throughout the design and construction phases of the process.
Design presentations to the client include drawings, models, visuals and materials, allowing for open and collaborative dialog.
At all times, the optimum efficiency of budget driven aspects of the project (for example building volume, materials specifications, energy efficiency) is a top priority. We will advise on where best to invest valuable financial resources, and how to achieve the vision of a project within established budgets.
We are committed to continual research in program, spatial form, environmental systems, materials, fabrication techniques, building science and technologies, and tirelessly engage with the latest innovations in the industry. We are fully versed in digital and modular fabrication technologies and will advise on when these can and should be used to achieve desired aesthetic results and budget efficiencies.
Above all, our commitment is to produce architecture of the highest aesthetic and technical quality, inspired rather than restricted by the limitations of delivery schedule, site and construction budgets and operational costs.” Rona Easton & Lonn Combs / EASTON+COMBS