Improving Leadership Skills


Improving on the leadership skills of yourself and your employees is beneficial company wide.

1.      Understand your future from looking at your past

Learning to be a leader is understanding that it takes time to build those skills. When an employee leaves the company, it is time to reflect. Asking yourself what you could have done better to support that individual, is the first step to knowing yourself as a leader. Even if that person was not a match for the company dynamic, it is still good practice to ask yourself why and see if there are any areas the company can improve.

2.      Your voice matters

Treating others how you would like to be treated, is a good motto to live by. When you are in a leadership position, you have to take the extra step of presenting the company’s mission and values. What you show your employees when it comes to your leadership, is what they will interpret as the heart of the company.

3.      Hire to build your company

Everyone strives to hire someone who will fit with their business. Since you cannot be everything for all projects, it is beneficial to hire people who have stronger skill sets than you in certain areas. Hire to fortify.

4.      Support the strengths of others

Improving on the weaknesses of your staff, helps reinforce your core group of employees. But, focusing on their talents not only increases morale, it helps develop the skills your employees are interested in. Supporting their strengths is supporting their professional goals.

5.      Have personal meetings with yourself

You’ve been doing everything you can to grow your business and support your staff. Take some time to reflect on you. Make sure you schedule regular meetings with yourself; it’s during this time you can understand your own personal strengths and weaknesses. If you take the time to make yourself a better boss, you will be making time to be a better leader.

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Best Architect – Best of Our Valley 2017

Best Architect


Arizona Foothills Magazine is putting on Best of Our Valley 2017, and you can vote your favorites from all over the state. Don’t forget Urban Design Associates as Best Architect!

Make your opinions known and support your local communities because it’s that time of year again. Arizona Foothills Magazine is once more publishing the Best of Our Valley 2017, and Urban Design Associates features as Best Architect.

With multiple categories like: Art & Entertainment, Food & Restaurants, Kids, and Shopping (just to name a few), you can find all of your favorite hang-outs and people. Click away and let them know you appreciate them being here in Arizona.

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Top 100 Architecture Blogs

Top 100 Architecture blogs



Urban Design Associates has been named one of Architecture’s Top 100 Blogs!


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Sustainable Luxury

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Sustainable luxury sounds like an oxymoron, but rest assured, it is not. Luxury keeps the wheel of progress and creativity turning. Historically, small family businesses or craftspeople used their specialized expertise to create quality work that would be considered a luxury item once completed. The same can be said today, which is what makes luxury truly sustainable. When purchasing a luxury item, your product will last longer, reducing the need to use more resources to replace it, and the item is unique because a craftsperson created a one of a kind rarity. 

Designing your home should reflect the same merits of sustainable luxury. Urban Design Associates feel that your home should be of the finest quality. Our designs are created to endure and have elegance inspired by individuals. 

When looking for an architect that can bring sustainability to a project, you should consider some of these factors: 

Environmentally conscious and certified with the United States Green Building Council 

• Materials 
Local, recyclable/biodegradable, or engineered to increase their lifespan

• Nature 
Sensitive to the natural systems of the site 
Reduces pollution from high energy consumption or chemicals during the build

• Design 
Creates a space that is efficient and functional 
Timeless in fashion and avoid trends 
Healthy indoor/outdoor environments 

• Passion 
Expresses a passion about sustainability when presenting work 

Businesses are evolving the definition of sustainability. It is no longer a word making consumers feel good about their purchases, but an action creating environments for individuals who care about the effects of their decisions on the world. Talk to your architect about sustainability in your next home and live in luxury.

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Earthquake in Italy

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Italy today, and the town of Amatrice is in ruins. As disaster struck, the locals, who were prepping for their 50th annual festival celebrating their pasta sauce, are now displaced and grieving loved ones they have lost. CNN is currently holding a live feed of the event as it unfolds.

Amatrice, Italy


If wondering how to help those in need during this crisis, the Italian Red Cross is taking donations.

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Walnut Canyon

Pine Canyon held a great event on August 13th unveiling the new Mountain Contemporary Design Guidelines. John Sather did a wonderful presentation and it was fantastic to see current clients and lots of new neighbors!


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Feed the Children

     On August 3rd, 2016 Urban Design Associates teamed up with Facing America to help the Feed the Children Organization; a non-profit whose mission, for the past 35 years, is to “provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials”. One of the services they provide distributes nutrient dense, soy and rice based packages that are delivered to starving children around the world. With careful diligence, 91% of all proceeds go straight to the children and families in need, and a large number of their work force is volunteer based.

     The Feed My Starving Children center is located at the Mesa Fiesta Power Center (1345 S Alma School Rd, Mesa, AZ;  480.626.1970). They manage volunteer shifts that start approximately from 9:30 am – 10:00 pm, six days out of the week.


     Even though Urban Design Associate had worked with Feed the Children in the past, this was my first experience volunteering with this particular organization. When I first entered the building, the atmosphere was charged with a warm, caring energy to help “The Feed My Children” cause. They took great care to educate the volunteers on policy and procedure before the work began, and they also gave out stylish hairnets!

     After orientation and a good hand-washing, volunteers split into lighthearted competitive stations. Filling the room with upbeat music, each station had people scooping supplements and food, weighing accurately to track product, heat sealing for secure transportation, and packaging. After everyone decided on their positions, that was when the fun began. Feed the Children team leaders kept an lively attitude, and each station worked together to try and package as many boxes as possible within an hour time frame. By the end of the shift, you are hot, sweaty and filled with a sense of accomplishment.


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     The volunteers are asked to stay for a run down of all their hard work. Urban Design Associates and Facings America packaged 141 boxes, which means we helped prepare 30,456 meals for starving children. We were informed that we fed 83 kids for a whole year!

     1 in 5 children faces hunger in America, and 1 in 4 children around the world suffers from chronic malnutrition. Help make a difference and contact the Feed the Children organization and lend them your support however you can; it is wonderful experience for a fantastic cause.

Feed My Starving Children

Mesa Fiesta Power Center  (1345 S Alma School Rd, Mesa, AZ)



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Spec Home in Desert Mountain

We have a great spec home underway with Dick Lloyd Custom Homes! 6,700 square feet, spectacular view lot in Desert Mountain, southwest contemporary. Contact us for more information!

Preliminary Main Floor Plan

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New UDA Remodels

Here at UDA we love to make your dream home new again!  Whether it is UDA original in the need of an update or a new to you home that needs a complete overhaul, give us a call!

Announcing new online remodel gallery: 


back patio before Patio Seating TV           morning room before  Living Room                  dining room before Dining            1 living room before  KItchen Scene TV

Desert Highlands

master bathroom before master bathroom after         living room before Living Room after        kitchen before Kitchen after       hallway before Hallway after        front door before Front door after         Front Before Front after        courtyard before          Courtyard after

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Dream Home Sites Available

It is coming to the end of High Season here in the Valley, and while a deal can always be struck, many of the available lots go off the market for the summer.  We have partnered with a few of the top realtors to come up with preliminary designs for some of the “hidden gem” lots in the best neighborhoods of North Scottsdale.  We are happy to walk lots with potential clients to make sure you find the perfect place to start your dream home.  These plans are a great starting point, but always very customizable!  Give us a call to schedule a site tour!

Desert Mountain


Desert Mountain


Desert Mountain




Desert Mountain





Desert Mountain




Desert Mountain


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In progress. On site!


Here is the latest UDA project going up in Whisper Rock. It was a rainy spring day, perfect for a site visit! The slabs are poured, now the framing is going up – our favorite stage of construction! There is some great boulder work and a huge, gorgeous cactus specimen already in place. The team at R-Net Custom is doing a fantastic job.







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Inspired Artistry You Call Home


Rhino Scottsdale Book Cover UDA

We are so happy to be featured not once but three times on the new coffee table book “Scottsdale, A Great Place to Live”! We have two of Lee’s signature organic pueblo homes that showcase indoor/ outdoor desert living included and one of our favorite ultra-contemporary homes highlighted. No matter your preferred architectural style, Urban Design Associates can create a home of your dreams perfectly suited to your building site in the desert, the mountains, or the city.


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UDA on Houzz

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Property for Sale

There is a great property for sale in Estancia with a great set of plans!  Give Realtor Dave Patterson a call 623-476-5005.

And check out the 3d model here:

Back Rendering Carter Res

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Press Update!

Urban Design is happy to update our press page with a new magazine cover.  Lee Hutchison, AIA, and Jessica Hutchison-Rough, AIA, are profiled in the August/ September of locally produced “Cowgirl Magazine”.  The publisher is a former happy UDA client!  Thanks Ken for the great piece and for including our associate Paula DenBoer of Ashley P. Designs.


Cowgirl August 2014-1post sunset view

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New Projects Online!

We have two great new projects featured in our online photo galleries!  Take a look at Organic – Desert Highlands and Traditional – Sagauro Forest.

Courtyard Entry



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Mountain Living – Pine Canyon Style

It is that time of year again, things are heating up in the Valley of the Sun!  The locals are heading north.  Urban Design has done work in the White Mountains, Sedona, Forest Highlands and Pine Canyon, Flagstaff.  We participated in an Open House Event for Pine Canyon to create some imagery for their new phase that is opening up.  There are great new lots available!  We did a fantastic plan for a spectacular golf course view lot.  If you are interested in a tour of our north country work or want to go look at a lot give us a call and we will meet you in cool Flagstaff!

Pine Canyon lot 332

Preliminary Site Plan


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The Pinnacle of Pinnacle Peak


We recently revisited one of our homes, previously published by Phoenix Home and Garden magazine, to see if we could capture some of this extraordinary spring in the context of this home.  This client’s home embodies the true depiction of our desert indoor/outdoor lifestyle.  The home has been sited to have perfectly framed views of Pinnacle Peak from the main living area.  Deep patio overhangs were designed to protect the interior from heat and damaging rays from our almost constant sun.  This home is so inviting to entertaining an intimate group of friends or family to much larger parties. The open layout of the house accommodates any lifestyle.


Please view a sample of our photo shoot of this versatile home.

hertz pictures

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The Gold List

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gold list home


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Indoor Outdoor Living

One of the joys of living in the Arizona desert is the dry warm weather and the opportunity to move life outside for most of the year.  The indoor/ outdoor lifestyle has brought us many visitors that end up staying here in the Sonoran Desert.  There are a few key design elements that are essential to creating the perfect indoor/ outdoor home that Urban Design has perfected through experience.

The first step is to understand the site and the climate.  This is where Lee Hutchison and the UDA team have excelled.  With over 35 years of practicing architecture and 50 years of living in the Valley of the Sun, there are not many places left unexplored by the adventurous architect.  He spends time out on sites observing the sun, wind, and topography.  Once all this information is gathered, it is expertly translated into the perfect site planning of UDA homes.

After the home is sited to capture the best sun orientation, local breezes, and views the internal rooms can be located within the floor plan to create the perfect flow of space from inside to outside.  The trend to have open floor plans with great rooms that incorporate kitchen, dining, and living has become the standard.  This type of room arrangement works well when creating large open spaces to the outdoors.  Once the relationships between rooms are established these seemingly simple steps should be taken:

  1. Create an opening, preferably a very large opening
  2. Cover the exterior space, taking the ceiling plane outside
  3. Extend the floor surface, using the same material with as little interruption as possible
  4.  Use the view to draw you outside

There is an art to indoor/ outdoor lifestyle design that is best done with careful examination of both the environment and the home owner’s daily routine.  While a well designed house should be remarkably beautiful, the daily functionality is what will make it truly a home.

indoor outdoor photos


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