Arterra Design and Construction is a design-build firm, based in Charlottesville.  Arterra focuses on providing a high level of service, craftsmanship, and quality in the work we do for our clients.  Whenever possible, we like to incorporate natural, bio friendly materials and the local vernacular of architecture and building methods traditionally used in this area.  We strive to design and build healthy, functional, beautiful spaces that draw from the region’s history and from the specific building site, while also designing to the standards of modern living.  We always strive to listen carefully to our clients and promote the sort of dialogue that helps them realize their design goals in harmony with their budgets.  Throughout the design and building process, our goal is to add to the built environment in a manner that honors our commitment to our craft while also serving the needs of our clients.  We seek to build structures of great integrity and quality that will endure and give pleasure for years to come.

Matthew Crane: Founder

Since founding Arterra in 2009, Matthew Crane and his team have worked on a variety of residential and commercial projects that involved both renovation and new construction.  Matthew really enjoys meeting and listening to people and then using his team and resources to help them achieve their design and construction goals.  Matthew is committed to working with clients to meet their needs regardless of the size, complexity, or budget of their projects.  He and his team strive to do so in a manner that respects the particular site, setting, neighborhood, environment, materials, and budget for each project.  Matthew and his associates love to use natural materials and structural elements to achieve beautiful and highly functional results.

Before founding Arterra, Matthew designed and built his own hand cut, timber framed, stuccoed straw bale house using site harvested timbers and a host of green methods and building technologies.  This green building odyssey served as a test case for the ideas that now drive his construction company.  The goal of that project was to design and build an extremely energy efficient house out of natural, locally available, eco-friendly materials, while creating an aesthetic and functional structure that was classically beautiful and not self-consciously “green” or overtly modern in style or appearance.  The goal for that house was for high efficiency and function to dwell in the background while craftsmanship, texture, massing, pattern, rhythm and proportion appeal to the eye and spirit.

Matthew has been designing and building in the Charlottesville area for over 30 years.  Before coming to Charlottesville, he studied Classical Literature and Philosophy at Yale University.  He also played starting defensive tackle for the Ivy Champion Yale Bulldogs of 1979.  After a brief period of study in Germany, Matthew came to Charlottesville to work on a PhD in Theology and Environmental Ethics at the University of Virginia.  Throughout this period, he worked as a carpenter during his vacations.  After working for some years as an adjunct professor of Philosophy at a nearby community college, Matthew shifted gears and decided to let Philosophy remain an avocation while engaging in design and building as his livelihood and vocation.  During this time, he also helped his wife to start her pottery studio and gallery and traveled with her to many fine craft shows all over the country.  Matthew is a licensed contractor in the state of Virginia and serves on several local Boards including the Charlottesville Committee on Foreign Relations, the Blue Ridge Mountains Rotary Club, and Forthright Legal, a local non-profit legal group.  He also serves on the Advisory Board of Habitat for Humanity.  He lives in Earlysville with his artist wife, Suzanne, and their home schooled son, Abe, and their two much adored dogs, Forest and Chloe.