About Wessel Design
Wessel Design was formed by Kerrik Wessel, AIA, who is a fourth generation architect following the footsteps of his architect father, architect grandfather and great-grandfather who was a master builder from Sweden. Kerrik and his wife Heather Sexton collaborate on many of the projects. Together they carry a tradition of designing forward thinking, modern homes that are built with state-of-the-art technology and excellent craftsmanship. Kerrik also continues the art of model making and hand drawing, from presentation drawings to the entire set of construction documents.
Wessel Design specializes in residential, cultural and commercial buildings. These projects have three common elements. These projects are small and affordable; they utilize high quality and environmentally sustainable materials and systems; and the designs strongly reflect unique aspects of the clients values and site context.
Past residential projects have been under 2,000 sf (including studio buildings) and the costs average $165 per square foot. To maximize the small footprints, the homes have open floor plans with multi-purpose spaces such as a hallway that becomes a dressing room and laundry room in the Bussey Residence. All of the homes utilize large overhangs and porches that blend outside and inside to visually and functionally enlarge the spaces. Off-the-shelf materials such as metal storage shelves in 359 Day Road are integrated with warmer wood trim to save on costs and to create unique built-in furniture.
The projects are all designed to be as environmentally sensitive as possible within the budgets. The orientation of the homes are south facing with large overhangs to utilize passive solar heating and all walls, floors and roofs are built with structural insulated panels (SIPS) to create an extremely energy efficient envelope. Energy Star appliances and mechanical systems including in-floor heating were selected as well. The homes are designed with quality durable materials such as custom aluminum or cedar windows, cedar siding, concrete, cement board, and metal roofs. Recycled materials are used when possible such as old laboratory countertops and heavy timber Douglas Fir beams from a demolished 1800s warehouse building, in 359 Day Road. Other recyclable and renewable materials are specified including cork floors in the Bussey Residence and rubber/cork floors, recycled bottle glass countertops and recycled plastic exterior siding in the Stoleson residence.
Wessel Design searches for a poetic connection between the architecture and the site. The materials and tectonic nature of the architecture strive to evoke the qualities of the surrounding landscape. While designing a home, an in-depth investigation of the site can reveal the subtleties of the landscape and patterns of previous development. The excitement the clients feel of uncovering new paths, plantings, colors, views, patches of sun and shade eventually translate into the design of the homes. The designs incorporate a unique contrast of modern minimalist forms, spaces and materials with the warm and rustic qualities of wood.
Beyond the profession, the Kerrik and Heather have a great interest in mid-century art and architecture. With backgrounds in the visual arts, they continue to study mid-century and current artists and attempt to incorporate elements of the work into their architecture. While designing the Stoleson Residence they were inspired by modern paintings such as Theo Van Doesburg’s “Rhythm of a Russian Dance” and Mies Van Der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion. A future residential project in Lino Lakes, Minnesota takes the sculpture of Louise Nevelson and translates her forms and fascination with the moon into the site and building design. The Oyster Houses are influenced by Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House, the sculptures of Donald Judd and paintings of Joseph Albers.