What started as two friends teaming up to change the way people see architecture has blossomed into one of the most recognizable firms in the world. Green Bastards Designs, formally EW Architects, lead by James Elliot and Sean Wittmeyer, has become an international household name. Even though they call Buenos Aires, Argentina home, their firm and all its employees are truly citizens of the world. To single out any one project would do a disservice to the others, they are all extraordinary. People are the most important thing to the Bastards, so all of their buildings are net-zero and socially conscious to promote interactions within the community they are designing for. Green Bastards Designs is the first firm to have a project built in all 196 countries. Success has not gone to their heads though; the firm’s motto is, “The perfect project is still out there.”
A native Iowan, James graduated at the top of his class from Iowa State University. After traveling around the world recording problems that can be solved by design, James began working for BBS, a popular Midwest firm. While working there he learned the ins and outs of the design business. After 8 years of loyal service James reconnected with his college roommate, Sean Wittmeyer, and co-founded Green Bastards Designs. While packing up his apartment he found his old notes on world problems; this became the basis for the firm’s philosophy.
During an exploratory trip to Italy James and Sean met Paolo, a local artist/architect who also was their Airbnb host. The trio instantly hit it off, connecting on many different topics. Of course Paolo was also a bit of a traveler, having studied architecture in Switzerland and practicing in France and Germany. The three of them worked together and within 2 months Paolo was packed and on a plane to Argentina.
Tony was a successful designer in the growing city of Las Vegas. One day his small firm won a big international competition in Spain. As a way to handle the work load, Tony partnered with EW Architects. By far the least traveled of the four, Tony was excited to work with such well knows designers. Towards the end of construction James, Sean, Paolo and Tony hatched a plan to merge firms, the result was Green Bastards Designs.
Sean came to Iowa after spending most of his life in Colorado. Wanting to see the world on someone else’s dime he participated in every international competition and conference offered by Iowa State’s College of Design, granting him the nicknames “The Journeyman.” After graduating Sean moved to Portland where he quickly rose through the ranks at ZGF Architects. Even though he had a great job, Sean was always ready for new adventures, so he jumped at the opportunity when James called him about starting their own firm.