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Key to the m.Arch concept, right up there with the higher purpose of doing good, is business that puts bread on our tables and that what we are paid reflects our value as productive individuals and teams. M.Arch integrates the quality of charity fully into work, more than traditional pro bono work which reinforces have-have-not relationships, and trusts that the capabilities of a few people who put themselves fully into working relationships with strangers as neighbors will be and be seen as more excellent technically, artistically, etc., in designing, advising, judging between good priorities, etc.

In m.Arch, Couper Gardiner is moving social interests into his architecture. His recent year of work with education and social justice firms has helped him see the meaningful possibilities of combining architecture with community betterment.

Leadership for him unites shared gifts to form design relationships. As a lead architect, it was noted that Couper’s environmental sense is a couple of years ahead of the game. Others have pointed to his unique ability to lead people to agree, to his eye-opening ability to visualize and to find flexible future scenarios. An old friend’s lasting impression of him is that he is creative.

Themes of his career go beyond academic, aesthetic, business and technical achievement, past higher education and the higher level commissions that fill his resume. He believes in making spaces that are well designed and enjoyable, that go beyond winning awards to having a positive impact on civic life. His 2011 work developed measurable organizational outcomes through space change for school reformers and strategy change for advocates for abused and neglected children.