About Cornerstone Design Inc

Creative, Responsive Architectural Services developed to meet the need for “construction-smart” architects.
Cornerstone Design Inc was founded in 1989 to provide a full range of architectural services to commercial clients. Projects have included both new construction and renovations, and the firm’s experience has broadened to include single and multi-family residential and non-profit work.

Founder, Richard L. Henes AIA Emeritus, started Cornerstone in response to a perceived need for a “construction-smart” architect. Rich retired at the end of 2016.

The firm is now led by David Esau AIA, who became a principal in 1995. David has unique expertise in accessible and universal design, as well as extensive work on commercial and residential projects.

In these days, when architectural practice is so much more than design and drafting, this range of experience and resources allows Cornerstone Design to provide its clients with unmatched abilities to:

  • Obtain required government approvals;
  • Design to your budget;
  • Provide for the safety and comfort of your employees and customers, through our extensive knowledge of applicable codes and regulations;
  • Work efficiently with consultants to make the best use of your site, and to provide cost-effective building systems;
  • Prepare bid documents with the information contractors really need;
  • Work with contractors to keep construction changes to a minimum; and
  • Effectively represent your interests during construction.

All of this technical expertise is combined with the ability to provide quality design, at the level appropriate for your project. We are always aware of your goals for the project, and work hard to achieve them at the lowest possible overall cost. That is why we say we provide Creative, Responsive Architectural Services.

The effectiveness of Cornerstone’s approach can be seen from our high proportion of repeat clients. They come back because Cornerstone Design provides them with fast personal service and quality design, at a reasonable fee. They know we’ll give every project, large or small, the kind of attention it deserves–the kind of attention you deserve.

Portfolio Highlight:

Carrot Way

In 2001, Food Gatherers – which uses carrots as its symbol – decided to build a new building, and sell part of its site to Avalon Housing for the latter’s first new construction project. The resulting housing development, designed by Cornerstone Design, is known as Carrot Way Apartments, for the street leading to the two projects. Although Food Gatherers used another architect for their initial building, in 2012 they came back to Cornerstone Design to design significant additions that doubled both warehouse and office space, and provided a new main façade for the building. See more CDI Portfolio highlights here.

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Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Entrance is at north end of parking lot off Abbott and Shelby.


David Esau, AIA, President: desau@cdiarchitects.com