We provide full service architectural and planning. We collaborate with planners, landscape architects, and other design professionals throughout the State of California.
We find creative architectural solutions to ecological and cultural problems by incorporating commonsense technical and structural expertise inspired by nature and an ambitious vision of modern art, to create places that connect people to nature and conserve energy and other resources.
Our design process is straightforward. We start with listening to our client. From our client’s goals we work to discover opportunities to align our client's vision with the site's unique ecosystem. Design begins with understanding how the sun moves across the site from dawn to dusk through all the seasons, how water flows across the site, and the site’s unique ecology and cultural history. From a deep understanding of the site, we create solutions that exceed our client’s expectations: a beautiful and efficient architecture that expands our client’s awareness of nature.
Carl Welty has over 35 years of experience in the field of architecture.
Carl is committed to creating an architecture that connects human beings to nature, not as outside observers but as full partners in the complex web of nature’s closed-loop systems. Designing in partnership with nature means more than building efficient buildings that consume fewer resources: wasting less is good, but we can do better than just wasting less. Carl is a proponent of regenerative design, the idea that we can create buildings and communities that generate more resources (energy, water, and building materials), and at the same time restore native habitat.
Carl's work focuses on affordable, energy-efficient design and durable, resilient building systems. Carl advocates leveraging natural systems including solar orientation and climate appropriate principles to create cost-effective solutions for energy efficiency of structures with little or no increase in construction costs, and building durable, low-maintenance, resilient structures (increased fire, mold, and termite resistance) by incorporating well-tested alternative construction materials. Moreover, designing with natural systems can inspire beautiful, meaningful architecture. Maximizing natural daylight not only reduces energy consumption; it also fills architecture with natural beauty, enhances our spirit, and brings architecture to life. Tracking the movement of the sun, both seasonally and throughout the day, heightens our awareness of nature’s cycles. Great architecture connects us to nature by increasing our awareness of the local and regional landscape and of our primary source of energy, the sun.
Carl's experience includes projects with difficult sites and complex structural requirements; multi-family buildings; highly-refined, well-crafted interiors; a passive solar house that is Certified LEED Platinum; and a Water Education campus that embodies important and timely water issues. He consistently creates buildings that are twice as energy-efficient as typical green buildings by incorporating simple, time-tested, climate-appropriate design principles.
He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1984, and a Master of Architecture from Yale University in 1988. At Yale, he studied the impact of early 20th-century European painting on the way nature is represented and analyzed and how we create architectural space.
Carl spent part of his childhood in Turkey, and that early experience of Turkey’s rich, multi-cultural history helped to shape his understanding of our world today. Ancient history and the lessons of how great cities were built without our modern energy grid inspire Carl to design and build for a more resilient future. Climbing around fields of vine-covered rubble that were once cities taught him that civilizations can collapse. What our civilization needs in order to thrive is regenerative design. Carl is committed to creating an architecture that embodies our time, ideals, and best technologies—an architecture that will survive us and represent us to future generations.
Carl’s master-planning design work for the Banning Ranch Park and Preserve includes regenerative architectural design, coordination of habitat and wetland restoration, and commitment to telling the story of the Native Americans who lived in harmony with nature on this site for 12,000 years until they were relocated by the Spanish in the 1770s. This project combines his passion for affordable, equitable, regenerative, energy-efficient design with advocacy for both environmental justice and Native Americans’ rights to their ancestral lands.
Pressing environmental and economic problems are changing the way we design and build. These issues require that we carefully use natural and financial resources. Conservation saves resources, and sustainability uses only the “interest” from these assets. But regenerative design can result in creating valuable new assets that can take on life of their own. The professional services we provide address regeneration as well as sustainability and conservation.
Carl Welty Architects offers a unique combination of architectural and planning services. Our designs emphasize regenerative approaches. While degenerative designs are characterized by the linear consumption of resources and the production of wastes, regenerative designs are characterized by the cycling of resources. We provide regenerative designs that are well-suited to their settings. We use natural daylight, direct solar heating, passive cooling, and integrated landscape to design buildings that collect and store energy, emulating nature’s closed-loop cycles. This makes not only environmental sense: it also saves costs, both in initial construction and in the cost of energy and maintenance over the life of the building.
Solar-oriented design, or passive solar design, produces buildings that are at least 50% more efficient than normal baseline buildings. This simple and timeless principle starts with a few reliable cycles provided by nature:
●The sun is lower in the winter and higher in the summer.
●Nighttime temperature in the dry climate of California is 25 to 30 degrees cooler than daytime temperatures.
●All regions have a reliable prevailing breeze for natural ventilation and summer cooling.
Common building-envelope components can be configured to collect heat energy or reduce heat gain, promote natural cooling, and store heat energy.
● Roof overhangs are carefully designed to shade windows in the summer and allow sunlight to enter the building in the winter.
● Well-insulated walls and roofs keep heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer.
● Concrete slabs function as a thermal mass to store heat energy. Materials with lower embodied carbon are also available for this function.
● Landscape: trees and fountains can be an extension of a building’s energy-design strategy to manage the microclimate outside a building.
These common building elements, when designed with these common-sense principles, can transform the typically inactive building envelope into an energy-collecting and energy-storage system. Converting common building components into an integrated energy system is why passive solar design buildings are consistently more energy-efficient than buildings that rely on more complex, expensive machinery and technology—and they do not increase construction costs, because they are already the normal parts of a building. Solar-oriented design strategies developed fifty years ago have been proven to be two to three times more energy efficient than high-tech solutions, and more cost-effective as well.
Innovative building systems are available that provide more fire-resistant, non-combustible, termite-resistant, durable construction, compared to conventional wood construction. We can build structures that will provide 50 plus years of maintenance-free living to provide reliable peace of mind in an uncertain climate future.