About Jo

Portrait Jo Petroni

I was two when I showed people around my dad's construction site saying "Look! 'tiful!".

Later I developed a habit of peering into people's houses to check out the layouts and deco. How they matched their surroundings, especially if it was an older house. I still do this. It’s less cute.

But it wasn't obvious I would become an architect. My dad was an architect, but he designed banks and airports and I wasn't really into that. Then one day I went to his office after school. I must've been around fourteen. Someone was drafting a plan layout for an apartment building. He was zigzagging the walls to fit seamless storage spaces. I thought that was the coolest thing I had seen in my life. I was absolutely and hopelessly hooked. My dad was thrilled. His daughter was following his footsteps. Except I wasn't really. I wasn't into making banks and airports. I was into homes. And nature.

I drifted through school like the good student I had always been and then drifted further away from architecture towards ecology and sustainability and permaculture. I discovered what my generation discovered, that we’re totally responsible for our environment and that we should start acting. After a winding detour through biophilic design, I came back to architecture, newly redefined through the lens of what I had learned. I came back to what I loved most, homes and nature. I added what I knew to be right, like sustainability, and what I knew to be true, like the need to work with nature, not against it. Permarchitecture means taking the time to truly be with a place.

Today I peer into people's houses as they envision them, as we listen to their land, together. We find, together, those elements that make it belong to place. I was lucky. Even though I had drifted from my early passion, as many of us do, I was fortunate enough to find it again, with renewed strength and a fresh perspective. Permarchitecture would not have existed otherwise.

About Permarchitecture

The way we build our homes is a mirror of our perceived relationship with nature.

Permarchitecture first started out as a way to redefine the relationship I had with my profession. What does it mean to make good houses today?

There's one obvious answer: it means making them together with Nature, not against it.

So permarchitecture has morphed from a freelance architecture business to consulting and teaching, to, ultimately, the Listen to Your Land approach.

Sustainability is not a genre. In this day and age, if you're not incorporating sustainability in your design, you're not an architect.

It's as simple as that.

Aerial perspective of house with trees around

My Tools

  • 1

    Permaculture design

    Permaculture is a creative design system that guides us to observe and use the patterns and relationships we find in natural structures and can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building.
  • 2

    Bio-climatic design

    Harness age-old sets of techniques to embrace and respond to the local environment. Much of the world's vernacular buildings (architecture without an architect) responded to the regional climate and could be considered bioclimatic.
  • 3

    Biophilic design

    Human beings have an innate tendency to seek connection with nature. The feeling of being connected to nature can have positive effects on physical and mental health, cognitive function and overall well-being.
  • 4

    Passive solar systems

    House elements collect, store, reflect, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer in a non-mechanical or electrical way.
  • 5

    Regenerative design

    Going beyond sustainability, by actively working to improve the natural environment and promote ecological health. The idea behind regenerative design is that it should be beneficial for both people and the planet, and it should actively work to improve the environment.
  • 6

    Participatory approach

    Participatory approach to design involves involving the people who will be impacted by the design in the design process, rather than just having a one-way decision making process. This approach values the input and perspectives of the people who will be using the space, and seeks to create solutions that meet their needs and values.

How it works

Every project is different. Also, we're breaking new ground here. So being flexible is part of the job. Whether it is a permaculture home and garden for a couple or a regenerative neighborhood with multiple stakeholders and tons of moving parts, we find a way to create a team that fits the project and the budget too.

We strive to be competitive with the local market and make best use of technology while maintaining a local-first approach. This hybrid experience and the co-creative approach to design give Permarchitecture its signature vibe.

When to contact Permarchitecture

Any permarchitecture project will start with Listening to your Land. I will ask you to slow down, you (or your team) will tell me the timeline is tight. So the sooner we start the better! If the budget is tight too, go ahead and download the Listen to your Land book and get going. This way, we can have something concrete (pun intended:)..) to get started with.

Design for a regenerative future

Find the sustenability solutions that will make your projects a success.

Get ready to Listen to Your Land