About the Designer

Candace began her architecture adventure in 1980. Being an artist and musician, a world traveller at 17 she wanted to be an artist. However, the real world told her that she had to pick a profession, that she would never make it as an artist. So she picked up the USL school catalog and found the degree with the most art classes, Architecture.

1980 -1986 — 5 year Bachelor of Architecture

The first day of classes the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, later renamed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, stood in front of 250 incoming students who had the idea they would become architects.

He stood there and gave the most profound challenge Candace had ever heard, he informed everyone there to look around, only 10% of you will make it to finish! That meant only 25 of us in that room would graduate. The others would quit, switch, or continue beyond the prescribed 5 year program perhaps into eternity!  So she looked around and searched for the other 24 that would be with her, never in her mind was she not one of them.

And the truth beheld, only 22 graduated of that class and she was the only girl.  Receiving the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for Service Leadership, Candace dove right in and took this as the most serious endeavor of her life, to save herself and the world. Along this 5 year path, she met a teacher, Edward Cazayoux who talked about the sun, nature, buildings that were alive, where it was healthy, recycled its waste and I found my place with a mission to save the trees. This was long before a green movement, but following strongly on a book newly delivered by Edward Mazria, the Passive Solar Handbook, and its still one of my primary books today! Her first works in the office as a contractor’s estimator, draftsman and designer began a long 20 years of work in the profession.

1986 -1987 — New York City

Receiving an internship and invitation after graduation from USL, Candace went to New York City to become a Lighting Designer. For two years she worked with Cline, Bettridge & Bernstein and Howard Brandston Lighting Design on the Statue of Liberty. She continued her focus as well into theatre lighting and Rock n’ Roll arenas for another 4 years.

1990 – 1996 — Arizona/New Mexico

The calling came strongly to return to graduate school to find alternatives to the building world that was so destructive. Kijika, Candace’ son was born in 1988 and he was the driving force even more than her own heart, to find solutions and do something about it. He always as Why? and so did she.

She was accepted into the Master of Science program at Arizona State University and Jeff Cook became her advisor. He was the spark that introduced all of the ancient ideas and peoples that had stirred the inner anthropologist in her. He talked about the Passive Solar and Nature knowledge that these people lived with, their ability to grow food with little rain, to build with the natural environment. Mike Pasqualetti was a Geography Professor at ASU and showed the film Koyaanisqatsi. This disturbing piece of work was the fuel. Candace became a master builder using earth, straw, solar, golden ratio, collecting water, taking care of waste. She studied Malcolm Wells, Buckminister Fuller, Mike Reynolds, Paolo Soleri and the unnamed elders that taught workshops in the desert.

1996 – 2011

I call this the Emergence of solar7.83 Design. Moving to Portland, Oregon people had heard about straw bale and earth design, but had not begun to build these things. Candace began teaching classes through the community education department at Portland Community College and quickly moved her teaching studio into her remodeled straw bale garage. In 1997 she constructed the first strawbale structure in Portland, and now after 16 years in the year 2013 it stands well and dry. Being the scientist she is, moisture sensors and records have been kept following the progress of this structure. Thousands of students came within the doors of solar7.83 and PCC and PSU and learned how to build, test and experiment with their own lives challenging antiquated building codes and demanding to change to be responsible to living healthy, to supporting community and the planet. There were no green building codes, there wasn’t any straw bale codes in the UBC, but all of the work in Arizona and New Mexico and being part of that developing team, brought change to Portland, and as a pioneer shall come and shake things up, Candace fought like the handful of others to bring change. Now there are more green buildings and places in Portland than ever before. There are codes, legal systems and schools offering what Candace brought to Portland. And there are a dozen ecologically designed houses in the area as a result of these green days.


Along the way, being a teacher became the importance and building less. Candace completed a PhD in Environmental Archaeology in August of 2011 from Portland State University. Her work on Easter Island brought her the title of 2nd person ever in the world to core the crater lakes on Easter Island, and the first woman. Still Pioneering…. Looking at deforestation and drought, planetary cycles of climate change, and human adaptation. She continues to teach Sustainability in various places around the world. She is still digging in the dirt and managed to create a field of Environmental Archaeology merging the fields of humans and nature.

Looking forward………the Art of Sacred Design