Design Everything: Building a Culture of Excellent Design


How CMA Nurtures Design in Architecture and Beyond

Curtis Miner Architecture has held design at the forefront since day one. The company’s first business cards stated: “Excellent design, outstanding service,” and they still contain that statement today. As the company has evolved, we have not only maintained, but nurtured the focus on extraordinary design.


Original CMA business card noting “Excellent Design and Outstanding Service”

For Principal Jay Taggart, it is our unwavering dedication that sets us apart. The CMA mantra? Design Everything.

Company-wide Involvement

At CMA, we nurture a culture where everyone is involved in design. Whether it be via quarterly design trainings, design competitions for company t-shirts, or even our annual pinewood derby, design is a focal point and priority for the company.


This year’s winning entry of CMA’s annual T-shirt design contest, designed by Kyle Mendoza.

Everyone working on a project is involved in the design.  “We don’t have one single design professional – we collaborate on design as a team. We have our project critiques in a public space in the office so that people can participate as they wish,” Jay says.

Mental Preparation

Where clients expect architects to adapt to their own unique situations and projects, CMA has a “secret sauce” that seems to leave everyone wanting more.

“We always come in with a fresh set of eyes,” says Jay. “Instead of coming to the table with preconceived solutions, we check to see what their needs are, starting at the site.”

That type of mental preparation has been helpful in many projects, including Cedar Hills Recreation Center. “We were asked to compete in a design solution when another architect came to the client with a preconceived solution,” he explains. With the site on an existing alluvial fan, the CMA team felt that it should engage more with the outdoor space. “We designed the building to fan out to give a full, 360-degree view of the valley.”


Cedar Hills Recreation Center was designed to fan out to give a full, 360-degree view of the valley.


Views of the valley from the interior of Cedar Hills Recreation Center

Meeting Client Needs

We have always been committed to fulfilling what our clients want and need. This was especially true with Spectrum Academy Charter High School.

On Spectrum, everyone’s input was involved in the final design. Jay led the initial charette as Principal, with the Project Architect, Drafter, and intern, and the team brainstormed concepts. “We had this thought about autism – the concept of autism on a spectrum,” he motions. “We decided to show one side as a linear, processive design with the other side being a scattered brick pattern.”

Jay admits the best design is where a concept drives the design forward.


Spectrum Academy Charter High School


Spectrum Academy Charter High School linear, processive design with Spectrum “S”


Spectrum Academy Charter High School scattered brick pattern

Design at Every Turn

At CMA, we recognize that design extends far beyond buildings. “When it comes to design, we try not to think about architecture alone but how we present ourselves, our documents, our website–literally everything that comes in and out of the office.”

The willingness to commit to design in both our values and our goals speaks volumes to the quality of work put out by the CMA team.


The front office at CMA is representative of the ideals of excellent design and outstanding service