nautilus Heads, Hearts and Hands

Christopher Arelt’s practice involves collaboration and interpretation, with each design evolving in its own way in response to the site, context and client. Arelt’s work is seen as a continuation of, but also a response to Modernism; or, more specifically, a return to regionalism and artistry, where clients’ projects are developed with the “heads, hearts and hands” of all those involved. All of our buildings explore the use of natural light, reveal the inherent beauty of the materials being used, and bring the outdoors in.

nautilus Aging in Place

NAUTILUS Architects recognizes the importance of Aging in Place, which allows you to continue to live independently, in the comfort and familiarity of your own home, regardless of your age. We can assist you in the process of creating a safe and accommodating environment for you and your loved ones of all ability levels. To increase maneuverability and access throughout your home, modifications and adjustments of your home may be necessary.

Aging in Place Home Modifications may include:

Multi-functional first floor master suites

Installation of bath & shower grab bars

Height adjustments of countertops

No step front door entrance

Private elevators

Wider doorways for increased accessibility



Our design team includes a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) who can help make your unique retirement and remodeling needs a reality.





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  • "Christopher Arelt worked with us to entirely renovate and remodel our Connecticut home, in a way both visionary and entirely practical. We wanted a crafted, beautifully simple, and serene space inspired by coastal New England, along with an ADA-compliant home that works for young and old, including a power wheelchair user. Chris employs his deep knowledge in a creative, open-minded way, but always with focus, discipline and detail, listening closely to our wants and needs. He is simply great to work with. We are moving toward completion of the project currently, and look forward to enjoying a timeless home for a lifetime, combining modernity, tradition, local influences and a character that is unmistakably our own."

    Ron and Stephanie, Essex, CT

nautilus Tabula Rasa

Each project is unique – unique people, place, and conditions. We begin the process of design with no preconceived ideas about the nature of the building that will emerge – a blank slate. We are equally passionate about the process and the product of architectural design. And so, when asked, “What is your favorite project?” the answer is obvious: the next one.

nautilus Client

The simple but indispensable trait of listening assures that needs and wants are identified and met. A deep and thorough understanding of and connection with the client forms a solid foundation for the work to follow, and continues at a high level throughout design and construction. Our work is highly tailored to each outlined lifestyle.

nautilus Site

Perhaps above all, buildings succeed because they are sized, oriented, shaped and positioned in response to what each site offers. Topography, views – sun, air, water – must inform the design. The form and space that results from this careful process can be characterized as a building that “could not have been any other way” and “would not work anywhere else.”

nautilus Context

Architecture creates, or maintains and strengthens, a sense of place. Awareness of and sensitivity to this placeness imbues designs with appropriateness and timelessness. We pride ourselves on creating quiet, contemporary buildings for New England, solutions that embrace the lifestyles and opportunities of today while respecting the time-honored craftsmanship and heritage of the region.

nautilus Sustainability

A building that is designed based on the criteria outlined above, a timeless solution, must also be physically capable of standing the test of time. We employ the latest materials and methods available to construct enduring, energy-efficient structures offering unsurpassed performance and durability for harsh regional conditions.

nautilus Craft

Attention to detail, love of materials, appreciation for craft, and the authenticity and timelessness it can impose upon a building are central to our mission. We collaborate closely with the artisans and master craftspeople who undertake the physical making of our buildings and who share in the pride and delight of the results.

nautilus Style

All styles, or architectural languages, have merit and can be employed as deemed appropriate in a given context. We characterize our work as Contemporary and further define it as the lack of any preconceived bias toward one or more styles. The buildings we design are the result of a logical series of decisions and choices unique to each project and based on the criteria above, rather than blind adoption of a preexisting style and its inherent constraints. The broad variety of our built work can be seen as evidence of this approach.

The Golden Mean

This symbol is a graphic representation of the golden mean, a mathematical rule first recognized by the ancient Greeks as the origin of many forms found in nature, including the human body. It is evident through the Renaissance and into modern times as the basis of proper proportion in buildings, whether arrived at through empirical investigation or when consciously adopted as a generative guide. The nautilus crustacean inhabits a shell which is a startling manifestation, a naturally-occurring “architecture” emanating from the golden mean. As such we have chosen it as the name for our firm.