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Retail Therapy BRR ARCHITECTURE

Coast to coast, this firm is raising the bar with modern and thoughtful designs of retail spaces like the recently completed Cosentino’s Downtown Market in Kansas City.

Living Large

MILLER DAHLSTRAND ARCHITECTS This residential architect looks to rival some of the greats that came before him with customdesigned homes inspired by Texas’ architecture history, but designed for modern living.

Oversize Oragami

ROBERT MASCHKE ARCHITECTS

This AIA 2011 National Honor Award winner designed a bus shelter like life-size origami — a piece of public art meant to inspire a rough Cleveland neighborhood for better things.

ARCHITECTURE LEADERS TODAY T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T R Y www.architectureleaderstoday.com

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ARCHITECTURE LEADERS TODAY T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T R Y www.architectureleaderstoday.com

masquerading as mexico

HARRISON WOODFIELD ARCHITECTS

When designing “La Casa Paloma Blanco” in Sonoma County, Sarah Harrison Woodfield was inspired by Mexican architect Luis Barragán, yet she maintained her own aesthetic of modernity and function throughout.


46 T H E M A G A Z I N E F O R C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T R Y

ARCHITECTURE LE ADER S Editor-in-Chief Todd Weaver Editor Diana Doyle Executive Editor Jonathan Mack Assistant Editor Joseph Orange Creative Director Maria J. Owens Art Director Anthony Walker Advertising Director Julian Vu Editorial Design Kris Apodaca, James Barry Advertising Design Jennifer Bitzinger Photo Editor Susan Maybach Editorial Director Kate Darling Staff Writers Joel Cornell, Paige L. Hill Copy Editor Mariya Bouraima Content Directors Brandon McBride, Lisa Talbot, Sophia Hartwick, Jill Patel, Anna Hartwick, Quenshell Williams, Sharon Randolph, George Johnson Vendor Relations Director Diana Stephens Vendor Relations Eric Miller, Steve Peters Advertising Sales Director Peter Jostens Advertising Sales Moe Kazemi, Dwayne McCoy, Joseph Washington Publisher Steve Reed Reprints/Circulation Anne Brewer

oZ WORLD MEDIA, LLC 1100 H Street NW, Suite M Washington D.C. 20005 www.architectureleaderstoday.com Architecture Leaders Today is an international quarterly B2B trade journal that services the architecture industry in design/build, education and healthcare architecture, interior design, and residential and commercial sectors. ALT has a readership of 200,000 C-Level executives within the architecture industry. We do not accept subscription requests from the general public, however an abbreviated version is available on our website.

on the cover BRR Architecture

Cosentino’s Downtown Market, Kansas City, Mo. best illustrates how BRR's retail designs can take a simple grocery store and turn it into a wonderland.

4 Architecture Leaders Today

TODAY

in this issue IN EVERY ISSUE

06 Editor’s Note 08 Staff Editorial 10 Guest Editorial 12 Industry News 13 Calendar 16 The Hot List 155 Advertising Index NORTHEAST

22 Think OffSite

Not ones to cringe at the idea of “pre-fab”, Think OffSite has embraced a new way to see buildings. Their approach is the redefinition of inexpensive as quality.

28 G-Square

From general purpose to high design aesthetics, G-Square is a firm which has taken a veteran approach to redefining old ideas is a new vernacular.

32 Richard Henry Behr Architects

Although Richard Henry Behr Architects has remained a small firm in their area, the scale, complexity and breadth of their projects set them in a league of their own.

34 Domus Studio Architecture

Seeking to embody something just a little bit more in their industry, Domus Studio Architecture has developed a visionary ability to bring their clients into the past, present and future of their projects.

40 Abacus Architects + Planners

According to Abacus Architects + Planners principal and co-owner David Eisen, everyone deserves to live in a beautiful home. His firm hopes to see that vision through to the end.

46 Cooper Joseph Studio

A perfect union of engineering, architecture and empirical artistry, Wendy Joseph gives her projects a unique perspective that clients all around the country seek above all others.

52 Studio ST Architects

In aiming to develop their own building language, architecture and beauty, Esther Sperber and her firm Studio ST Architects have revealed a new way to develop solutions for clients.

60 Northeast Regional Marketplace


64

100 SOUTH

64 Eric Stengel

Not one to be called a modernist, Eric Stengel’s work in classical architecture has helped to redefine old styles and breathe life into how they are built.

76 Dykema Architects

Behind the doors of Dykema Architects is a married duo who compare the life of an architect to that of an artist. Their firm balances a fresh contemporary appeal with the traditional design concepts their clients adore.

80 MTA

Having spent years in a construction environment, Mike Treadway has been uniquely able to bring a builder’s sense to each project, matched with the mindfulness and design-oriented ideas.

82 South Regional Marketplace MIDWEST

84 Massey Hoffman Architects

With a vastly diverse portfolio of custom designed residences, Massey Hoffman Architects has been able to bring each client something new, unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before.

89 Ron Kwaske Architects

In learning to create what the client truly desires, Ron Kwaske Architects has brought the expectations of their peers and clients alike to new heights.

90 Expressive Interiors

Marietta Calas, principal of Expressive Interiors, has fostered within her firm a unique sense of how homes exist, as a composite blend of heart and mind.

92 BRR Architecture

With their intimate knowledge of retail design, BRR Architecture has helped clients create spaces that elevate shopping to a euphoric experience.

100 Robert Maschke Architects

On a national scale, Robert Maschke Architects has been heralded for their unique and innovative designs. On a local scale, the firm has changed the way Cleveland sees the Gordon Square Arts District.

106 Midwest Regional Marketplace

WEST

110 Miller Dahlstrand Architects

Featuring a new blend of old styles, modern elegance and astounding insight, Miller Dahlstrand Architects bring a level of inspiration to their clients with a fresh mindfulness and vision.

120 Dennis Diego Architect

For the cutting-edge and ever-adapting architect Dennis Diego, good design and sustainable efficiency are one in the same. The firm is driven by Diego’s personal philosophy of what constitutes good design.

124 Harrison Woodfield Architects

Designing residences to line the west coast of California, Harrison Woodfield Architects brings something worldy and unique to each project.

134 One Architects

For the co-owners of One Architects, nothing beats a good glass of wine and a napkin sketch. With this down-to-earth approach, the firm has brought a new level of personal satisfaction to their clients.

142 Jordan Architecture

In the heart of Carbondale, Colo., Jordan Architecture lets nature speak to his designs. With that in mind, the firm has rendered some of the most astounding natural vistas that a human could design.

146 MBA

Having spent the last half century building a portfolio unlike many of his peers, Marvin Bamburg is uniquely poised to bring clients' dreams to life on a silver platter.

149 West Regional Marketplace ARCHITECTURAL PRODUCTS & SERVICES

26 Aluminex

With their new ALX2060 series of windows and doors, Aluminex serves a vast array of clients looking for complete, contemporary fenestration systems that won't compete with the view of the outdoors.

31 Artisan Engineering

Although Artisan Engineering has retained their traditional sought-after New England aesthetic, the firm’s ability to solve any complex set of problems has taken them into modernity with ease.

74 Forum Architecture

For the great minds behind Forum Architecture, their main goal has always been to listen, learn and reflect that understanding in their creations.

75 Brooks Interior Design

Having worked with a wide variety of the best talent the industry has to offer, Brooks Interior Design owner Donna Brooks has found herself lucky enough to live out her dream job in perfect execution.

September/October 2011 5


Diana will fill this in when she gets to it.

Paige L. Hill

Diana will fill this in

Marylyn Simpson

Well versed in a range of design topics, Paige’s career has taken her from Readers Digest UK to hard daily news. She has a Master’s in English from the University of South Carolina-Columbia.

Joel Cornell

With a diverse background in B2B magazine writing, ranging from framing to New York Fashion Week, Marylyn brings a unique perspective to Industry Leaders Today.

Jane Caffrey earned a B.A. from Carleton College in Minnesota. Currently in her Master’s program at New York University, Jane’s work has been published in both the U.S. and Europe.

Joan Tupponce

TODD WEAVER editor@ozworldmedia.com

Jane Caffrey

Joel uses his background in technical writing to translate complex jargon into vivid narratives. Past work includes projects with the State Department, the DOD, the World Bank and many retail giants.

Joan’s experiences as a writer have taken her places that wouldn’t have been possible in other careers. Her success is evident in the awards and recognitions her writing has received.


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editorial

The grass is always GREENer

by Paige L. Hill

OUR OBSESSION WITH LEED, USGBC AND OTHER BUZZWORD ACRONYMS MAY BE COMING TO AN END, YET GREEN BUILDING PRACTICES ARE HERE TO STAY .

8 Architecture Leaders Today

If there’s one buzz word that has been on the tongue of every architect, developer and builder I’ve spoken to in the last three years, it’s LEED. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: The magic four-letter acronym that has elevated any building to a cause and any architect to a hero's status, no? Even the Empire State Building achieved LEED Gold, and no one was criticizing that monolith to keep up with the times. We’ve been obsessed with the silver, gold and platinum of green building since 2007 when former Vice President Al Gore and President George W. Bush had a “green” McMansion face-off in the news. There are worse obsessions. After all, our hearts have been in the right place; but, just as green building became synonymous with the LEED acronym did the tide begin to move, ever so slightly, moving swiftly away from it's tangled LEED roots. It came on slowly. At first it was a whisper. “We meant to, but in the end we didn’t get LEED certification,” an architect told me in March. He said it with schoolboy shame in his voice. Then it got louder. “Actually, we decided not to go through the LEED certification process. Our building is very green, but we don’t need their stamp of approval,” a developer told me in June. And then, it became a roar.

“I wouldn’t use LEED as a ruler for green design and I wouldn’t be quick to recommend it to other architects,” an architect announced at a recent AIA lecture I attended. There were a few audible gasps. It felt as though he had outed the beloved LEED crest which adorns so many buildings as the emperor’s new clothes. Granted, his overall message was that LEED can’t be used as a rubric for every building; but, it was then that I began to notice the buzzword LEED fall to the wayside to make room for simply “green building.” Developers, architects and builders seem to have become empowered in 2011, and they don't need to jump through the hoops and extra financial expenditures to satisfy the all-mighty U.S. Green Building Council. The crew at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, known as one of the greenest buildings in the Midwest, declined certification because of $75,000 in anticipated excess costs to attain LEED. Many states, like Arizona, have announced that LEED is unfair to ask them to compete with the likes of Seattle in their water conservation efforts. In turn, Seattle doesn't want to compete with Arizona for solar energy levels. Other, LEEDlike checklists have popped up, like Green Communities, Green Globe, the Living Building Challenge to try and fill the holes in the LEED system. The USGBC has responded to these criticisms by adjusting their scoring system again and again. Year after year. At this point they have nine categories of buildings that cover most new construction projects in the U.S. I, personally, refuse to write off LEED as an insignificant endeavour because its celebrity-like presence in the building industries is what kicked off our obsession and shed light on a very important issue. The USGBC can truly be called the founding father of this incredible shift in architecture. But all musings aside, what happens to the LEED system as many states adopt their own sets of required green building standards. Some of them, like California’s will be mandatory by next year. So, where does LEED go?


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editorial

Avoiding Greenwash on Interior Design Projects

Owen Philipson Editor ESI Interiors

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN AND GREEN? THE LATTER IS IN DANGER OF BECOMING NOTHING MORE THAN A FAD, SINCE SOME BUSINESSES MISLEAD CONSUMERS INTO BELIEVING THEIR PRACTICES, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES HOLD ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS.

10 Architecture Leaders Today

First published on esiinteriors.blogspot.com TerraChoice’s “7 Sins of Greenwashing,” including the sin of the hidden trade-off, the sin of no proof, the sin of vagueness, the sin of worshiping false labels, the sin of irrelevance, the sin of the lesser of two evils and the sin of fibbing, is a useful reminder to think critically when considering the environmental claims of a company, product or program. The minds behind TerraChoice are the same who have authored several Sins of Greenwashing studies, from 2007 up to today. With greenwashing in mind, Metropolis Magazine recently interviewed 10 leading architects and interior designers on how to source genuinely sustainable products and their approaches to green spaces. “There was a time in the not so distant past— maybe five or six years ago—when specifying green products and materials was an arduous and ultimately frustrating process,” said Martin C. Pedersen of Metropolis. “Choices were limited. The aesthetic was raw and clunky. It wasn’t hard, for instance, to pick a sustainable wall-covering out of a lineup. Worst of all, the best available options—the ones where beauty was part of the equation and the product’s good intentions weren’t so readily apparent—often came at a premium that produced the familiar lament, ‘This was our first choice, but …’. Fortunately, the need for green interiors, driven by the architecture/design community and the growth

of LEED, has transformed the market. There are now a lot of sustainable products around. Today’s challenge? Every manufacturer touts an environmental story, so speccing is less about the initial search and more about weighing competing, and often conflicting, claims. But even LEED is not above critical analysis. Preston Koerner of jetsongreen.com revisits some of the weaknesses of the LEED system, including the discrepancies between what a building is designed to do, in terms of energy and water consumption, and what it does in reality. “Would you be shocked to learn that a LEED building may or may not be energy or water efficient?” Koerner asked. “Don’t be.” “It all comes down to an understanding of what LEED is. When people talk about LEED, they’re talking about the third-party green cer-

Every manufacturer touts an environmental story, so speccing is less about the initial search and more about weighing competing, and often conflicting, claims. tification of a structure. LEED is by far the most popular certification system, but there are several LEED systems depending on the project type. And some of these are getting simplified with LEED v3. Depending on the system, you’re certifying a different thing (i.e., the design and construction of a commercial building).” It’s not easy being green—especially if you try to do it on autopilot.


industry news

Earthscraper image courtesy of BNKR Arquitctura. Close the Gap image courtesy of d3space.org.

stories by Paige L. Hill and Joel Cornell

THE EARTHSCRAPER WHEN IT COMES TO OUR URBAN SKYLINES, space and room are always at a maximum. No matter what the setting, from New York and New Delhi to London and Los Angeles, city planners are in dire need to new solutions to tackle the problem of where we put our businesses, our things and ourselves. Enter BNKR Arquitectura, a prestigious Mexican architectural design firm located in Mexico City. In their home town, the firm is trying something quite unique in their new Earthscraper, a traditionally designed skyscraper that is simply reversed, going down instead of up. The Historic Center of Mexico City is in a desperate need of a programmatic makeover. New infrastructure, office, retail and living space is required but no empty plots are available. Federal and

12 Architecture Leaders Today

local laws prohibit demolishing historic buildings and height regulations limit new structures to eight stories. The Earthscraper is the skyscraper's antagonist in a historic urban landscape where the latter is condemned and the preservation of the built environment is the paramount ambition. It preserves the iconic presence of the city square and the existing hierarchy of the buildings that surround it. It is an inverted pyramid with a central void to allow all habitable spaces to enjoy natural lighting and ventilation. To conserve the numerous activities that take place on the city square year round (concerts, political manifestations, open-air exhibitions, cultural gatherings, military parades), the massive hole is covered with a glass floor that allows the life of the Earthscraper to blend with everything happening on top.


industry news

Industry Events CONVERSATIONS IN CONTEXT Sponsored by The Glass House until Nov 17 • New Canaan, Conn. $150/person philipjohnsonglasshouse.org/ programs/conversationsincontext Since the 1940s the Philip Johnson Glass House has served as a site for inspiration, education and conversation across creative disciplines. Listen to personal narratives from leaders in design while walking the site with an intimate group of visitors. Continue the dialogue at the reception following the tour.

CLOSE THE GAP, AN INTERNATIONAL DESIGN COMPETITION sponsored by Transportation

Alternatives and d3, invites architects, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers, and students worldwide to broaden the dialogue of alternative solutions for sustainable urban living. The competition focuses on the Midtown sector of New York City’s East River Greenway—a critical missing link in Manhattan’s alternative transportation infrastructure. Entrants are asked to critically examine the relationship of pedestrians and cyclists to public space, opportunities for merging the city with nature, as well as re-engagement of the individual with social environments in a

Closing The Gap Midtown Manhattan context. The competition invites a full spectrum of proposals that creatively intermingle current and emerging forms of transport. Entrants are encouraged to craft the fullest possible definition of alternative transportation that offers the potential to flexibly adapt and grow over time. Finalists will be selected by a diverse jury of distinguished academics and professionals. Top projects will be publicized in Fall 2011. An exhibition of competition winners will be shown at the Center for Architecture in NYC, Center Gallery at Fordham University, as well as other venues. A permanent gallery of all projects submitted will be published on-line. A print publication of winning and top design proposals is anticipated.

GREENBUILD Sponsored by USGBC Oct 4-7 • Toronto, Canada $975 greenbuildexpo.org The U.S. Green Building Council’s annual international conference features three days on the theme of greener building through education, social events, an expo and lectures. Speakers inlcude award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, three-time award-winning ABC News journalist Cokie Roberts and Canada’s Prime Minister Kim Campbell. SMALL CITY – GLOBAL CITY Sponsored by AIA-Europe Oct 14-16 • Basel, Switzerland $300 aiaeurope.org This four-day conference focuses on the unique city of Basel – limited in size, but large in terms of global draw. Participants will tour Swiss companies working with architects like Frank Gehry who are transforming industrial production sites into global campuses of research and innovation. BOLSHOI THEATRE REOPENS Oct 28 • Moscow, Russia $13-150 bolshoi.ru/en The famed Bolshoi Theatre reopens in Moscow, following a six-year, $1 billion renovation that was mired in embezzlement and scandal. Originally designed by architect Joseph Bove for Catherine the Great, it was near collapse when it was closed in 2005 for extensive repairs. Under architect Nikita Shangin, the project changed directions again when Shangin quit. The restoration includes foundation work, brickwork, acoustics and the reworking entirely of the 19th-century fixtures.

YOUNG ARCHITECTS OF SPAIN EXHIBITION Sponsored by Embassy of Spain until Oct 15 • Washington, D.C. spainculture.us 2011 WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT Sponsored by AIA Sept 23-24 • Kansas City, Mo. aia.org WHY TALL? – GREEN, SAFETY AND HUMANITY Sponsored by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats Oct 10-12 • Seoul, Korea ctbuh2011.org BUILDING ENVELOPE TECHNOLOGY SYMPOSIUM Sponsored by RCI, Inc. Oct 10-11 • Charlotte, N.C. rci-online.org/symposium.html ELEVATING THE ART OF RESIDENTIAL DESIGN & PRACTICE Sponsored by CRAN-AIA Oct 13-16 • Indianapolis, Ind. network.aia.org/ customresidentialarchitectsnetwork ARCHITECTS AS VISIONARIES Sponsored by NOMA Oct 20-22 • Atlanta, Ga. noma.net THE 2011 MASTER BUILDER DIALOGUES Oct 27-28 • Philadelphia, Pa. carpentershall.com MOTOPIA: A NEW AGE FOR MODULAR CONSTRUCTION Sponsored by Univ. of Southern California Nov 2 • USC Campus web-app.usc.edu/ws/eo2/calendar/113/ event/893725 ARC-US 2011 Sponsored by HKS Nov 17-20 • Boca Raton, Fla. arc-us.com

September/October 2011 13


industry news

THOUGH SOME ARCHITECTS are calling the Living

Building Challenge an alternative to LEED checklist, the folks at the International Living Future Institute where the checklist originated would rather believe it’s no competition. It’s a challenge. And one that’s tough to beat, if the fact that only three buildings have reached the standards is any indication. The Challenge requires the building to be operating and occupied for 12 months before it can properly assessed, which is barely longer than the program has been in existence. The Living Building Challenge is a philosophy, advocacy tool and certification program that addresses development at all scales: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. The Challenge provides a framework for the design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between human beings and the built environment. According to the group, “The purpose is straightforward – it defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions.” Below is an example of performance area imperatives, taken from the International Living Building Institute’s handbook Living Building Challenege 2.0.

Every Landscape + Infrastructure, Building or Neighborhood project must select a Living Transect category from the following options:  Natural Habitat Preserve (Greenfield sites) This is comprised of land that is set aside as a nature preserve or is defined as sensitive ecological habitat. It may not be developed except in limited circumstances related to the preservation or interpretation of the landscape as described in Imperative One: Limits to Growth.  Rural Agriculture Zone This is comprised of land with a primary function for agriculture and development that relates specifically to the production of food as described in Imperative One: Limits to Growth. Small towns and villages do not apply.

 General Urban Zone This is comprised of light- to medium-density mixed-use development found in larger villages, small towns or at the edge of larger cities.  Urban Center Zone This is comprised of a medium- to high-density mixed-use development found in small to mid-sized cities or in the first ‘ring’ of a larger city.  Urban Core Zone This is comprised of high-to very high-density mixed use development found in large cities and metropolises.

 Village or Campus Zone This is comprised of relatively low-density mixed-use development found in rural villages and towns, and may also include college or university campuses.

Centrala’s Consensed Living Plan THINK ABOUT THE STANDARD FURNISHINGS

that go into a studio apartment. Not much of that is particularly wider than, say, four ft. Warsaw-based design firm Centrala has capitalized on this idea, giving life to a new kind of abode. At its smallest, the living space is a staggering 2'4" wide. Squished into a side street that was previously brimming with trash and graffiti, this dwelling is crafted from plywood panels on a steel frame with foam insulation along the front, top and rear of the structure. Due to the close proximity to two “normal” sized buildings, neither side really requires much, if any, insulation. The exterior is covered in a concrete cloth painted white which blends into its surroundings in terms of color while standing out from them in terms of material, texture, scale and smoothness. The water and sewage systems of the home are relatively off the grid, operating in a manner similar to boats or mobile homes. 14 Architecture Leaders Today

Ermitaz image courtesy of Centrala. WaterShed image courtesy of WaterShed. 747 House images by David hertz, Carson leh and laura Doss.

Build to Live, or Live to Build


industry news

THE NEXT GENERATION

IF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND’S current archi-

tecture students are any indication of the future of the industry, the future looks green. And competitive. Their entry into the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s 2011 Solar Decathlon, a competition usually more reserved for environmental studies and engineering students, drew mostly architecture students from the school and local architects to construct their Chesapeake Bay inspired net-zero structure, aptly named the WaterShed. Though “Team Maryland” says everyone took turns leading and being led depending on their talents, the students were educated on all the skills involved in the design-build process. The 900 sq. ft. home for two includes a green roof which collects stormwater for reuse, photovoltaic array large enough to power the home year-round, edible landscapes, a liquid desiccant waterfall to provide humidity control and a time-tested structural system that is efficient and cost-effective. The house is formed by two rectangular modules capped by a split-butterfly roof, which is well-suited to capturing and using sunlight and rainwater. Come September 13th, the students will display the WaterShed at the competition in Washington, D.C.

The Wing House THIS PROJECT EXISTS ON A 55-ACRE PROPERTY IN THE REMOTE HILLS OF MALIBU with unique

topography and panoramic views looking out to a nearby mountain range, a valley, and the Pacific Ocean with islands in the distance. The site was previously owned and developed by the eccentric designer Tony Duquette who developed over 21 unique structures incorporating found objects from all over the world. In 1995, the Malibu fire destroyed all but a few steel “Pagoda”-like structures. When architect David Hertz first visited the site, he was struck by the fantastic views but also the creativity by which Duquette appropriated found objects and made them look as if they were originally crafted like traditional indigenous structures. In searching for inspiration, Hertz imagined a roof structure that would allow for a unobstructed view of the mountain range and distant views. The client, a woman who coowns a Mercedes car dealership, requested curvilinear/feminine shapes for the building. The progenitor of the building’s form was envisioned as a floating curved roof. It soon became apparent, that in fact, an airplane wing itself could work. In researching airplane wings and superimposing different airplane wing types on the site to scale, the wing of a 747, at over 2,500 sq. ft., became an ideal configuration to maximize the views and provide a self supporting roof with minimal additional structural support needed. The scale of a 747 aircraft is enormous - over 230 feet long, 195 feet wide and 63 feet tall with over 17,000 cubic feet of cargo area alone and represents a tremendous amount of material for a very economical price of less than $50,000 dollars. The 747 represented the single largest industrial achievement in modern history and its abandonment in the deserts make a statement about the obsolescence and ephemeral nature of our technology and our society. As a structure and engineering achievement, the aircraft encloses a lot of space using the least amount of materials in a very resourceful and efficient manner. The recycling of the 4.5 million parts of this “big aluminum can” is seen as an extreme example of sustainable reuse and appropriation. American consumers and industry throw away enough aluminum in a year to rebuild our entire airplane commercial fleet every three months. September/October 2011 15


the hot list

THE HOT LIST PRODUCTS, CONCEPTS AND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR NEXT PROJECT Have something for The Hot List? Email submissions@ozworldmedia.com.

devilishly debonair by Caooellini cappellini.it

The first collaboration between Doshi Levien and Cappellini gave rise to Capo, an armchair with a slender yet enveloping form. Its shape and materiality came from the image of a dapper gentleman in a well-cut suit and a felted hat. As the name suggests, Capo with its wide cantilevered arms and upturned lapel, transforms the sitter into a boss. The thin flexible edges of the chair provide shelter without being closed and also emphasize its lightness. Capo is available in several variations that make it suitable for various settings. Leather, faux leather, felt and Alcantara can be used to upholster the entire armchair or be used in different combinations for the front and back.

16 Architecture Leaders Today


the hot list

cuba libro by Rizzoli rizzoliusa.com

You won’t have to fly through Canada or Mexico to get to the interior of Cuba with this book as your passport! The Splendor of Cuba: 450 Years of Architecture and Interiors will take you on an unprecedented tour of stunning and architecturally significant Cuban palacios, mansions, and private homes that have been meticulously preserved, previously un-photographed, and inaccessible to visitors. All the photos were shot exclusively for this book, so don’t expect to see them pop up at an art museum any time soon – including the infamous former residence of Ernest Hemingway. Written by Michael Connors, photographed by Brent Winebrenner.

The World is Your Oyster

by solaleya solaleya.com

Diamonds may a girl's best friend, but The Pearl is the home's. The Pearl, from Solaleya is an energy-efficient and protective innovation for the home. The roof’s shape protects the structure against earthquakes and high winds, providing inhabitants with the safety of something akin to a hard oyster shell. The home's shape is optimized to take advantage of the sun’s benefits, as well. The bay windows in the front take in the sun’s heat in the winter while the roof protects the home from its heat during the summer -- always keeping the house a comfortable temperature. September/October 2011 17


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nature’s naughty secret by Joseph Noble Textiles josephnoble.com

The completely manmade “leather” product from Joseph Noble Textiles is aptly named ARTIFICE, for its friendlyto-animals products. The company asks, “Why bother with the real thing when outright fakery better serves the idea?” The overall pattern of ARTIFICE registers skillfully both up close and at a distance, while the surface texture replicates the animal’s coat with great effect. The product is a poly cotton blend made for upholstery, be that on a Louis XVI fainting couch or a Vespa scooter seat. ARTIFICE can handle the wear and tear the life throws your way, why should you sacrifice style?

come hell or high water by Aldo Bernardi Lighting carolollier.com

These appropriately nautically themed, weather-proof outdoor lights from Aldo Bernardi Lighting will not only light your garden path but make it a style statement, as well. The aged brass and copper Atilla light houses a clear glass globe in an exterior cage and is available in three sizes. Don’t worry about rust, the lights actually look better as they age!

18 Architecture Leaders Today


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textural trip by bouroullec bouroullec.com

French designing duo, brothers Ronan and Erwin Bouroullec, have shunned the glossy and glassy in favor of matte and textured in their Pico 2011 tile. While tiles have generally been an exercise in warping raw materials into a smooth surface, the Pico tile highlights the compressed sand and minerals that constitute the ceramic product. The collection comes in three differently colored bases (white, grey and sand), composed of a slightly irregular dotted texture – giving walls, floors, ceilings, indoors or out, an organic texture that is both a textural and visual treat.

September/October 2011 19


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feel the light by scale 1:1 scale1-1.com

They say we need four hugs a day for emotional survival, but with more and more of us staying at home and projecting our emotions out via Twitter and Facebook, those four hugs may be tough to come by. Enter, the huggable SUPERNOVA light from scale 1:1. This inflatable, color changing, heat-free light boasts 40,000 hours of usage thanks to the energy-efficient design which runs on 70 watts of power. And if you’ve already had enough hugs? You’re in luck. The SUPERNOVA has a remote control, too.

20 Architecture Leaders Today


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shaken and stored by Promemoria promemoria.com

While you patiently await the return of the 1960’s-themed t.v. show Mad Men and their three martini lunches, you can get in the “spirit” now with the sleek Bacco bar cabinet from Italian luxury design company Promemoria of Milan. The newest addition to their line of casegoods, features an all wooden exterior with black leather drawers on the inside with enough space to hold all the liquors of your choice. This item is sure to be GQ-endorsed by 2012.

the future is here by Perceptive Pixel perceptivepixel.com

Attention professionals! The future has arrived, courtesy of New York-based Perceptive Pixel. Their accurately self-described game changer is a multitouch LCD display perfect for design pros as it stands as a staggeringly beautiful 82”. It’s a wonder to simply be in the same room as Perceptive Pixel’s new work of genius. Featuring an astoundingly slim 6” profile, the interactive projective capacitive display transforms the way you interact with information, with clients, and with colleagues. The display’s unlimited touch points, optically bonded LCD touch display and projective technology is a dream for tech nerds, architects, designers and industry professionals alike. September/October 2011 21


the hot list

and you thought steam rises by Jenn-Air jennair.com

Jenn-Air, one of the top names in kitchen appliances, has done it again. Their constant innovations have led to a new world first. Featuring a one of a kind, downdraft ventilation system, this 36� range feature the best performing ventilation system in the industry. Alongside a cutting edge electronic ignition system, matched with a flame-sensing reignition system, this range defines the top of the line. With four high end burners and one ultra-high output burner, separated by the range’s unique downdraft ventilation system, this range will handily exceed every standard one could imagine in a kitchen.

22 Architecture Leaders Today


NORTHEAST 22 THINK OFFSITE

28 G-SQUARE

32 RICHARD HENRY BEHR ARCHITECTS 34 DOMUS STUDIO ARCHITECTURE 40 ABACUS ARCHITECTS + PLANNERS 46 COOPER JOSEPH STUDIO 52 STUDIO ST ARCHITECTS 60 NORTHEAST REGIONAL MARKETPLACE

Photo courtesy of Abacus Architects + Planners.


northeast | architecture

OPPOSITE: Shelter Island House, Shelter Island, N.Y. AC Hocek Architecture’s design for this house led to the start of Think OffSite, as an offshoot of the parent company specializing in prefabricated designs. As with this house, the interiors of Think OffSite’s prefabricated designs are spacious and filled with light. Photos: Exterior by Bruce Khan; interior by Fernando Bengoechea

Progressive architects Ali Höcek and Bashar Azzouz of Think OffSite push clients to consider the merits, nay the futuristic audacity, of prefabricated buildings. by Paige L. Hill

THINKING

OUTSIDE OF THE BOX T

here are architects who cringe at the word “pre-fab.” In fact, there are interior designers, general contractors and homeowners who have similar reactions to the inexpensively manufactured dwellings that were made popular in the 1950s as the progressive choice – a concept that was first marketed in the Victorian era to the public as “prefabricated.” Ali Höcek and Bashar Azzouz are not those people. “Prefabrication remains a progressive idea that a great many architects have explored in fits and starts throughout modern history as more than just a temporary solution – it is the inevitable future,” Höcek said. He and Azzouz formed Think OffSite, a consulting and architecture firm, because they understood that its time is long overdue and that technological advancements have helped to create the ideal conditions for the two critical advantages provided by prefabrication. The first advantage is that structures can be manufactured away from the site in a factory setting, and delivered to the site for final assembly. The second feature is that the prefabricated modular, or panelized systems can be repeated, similar to mass-production methods in other industries, to create modern, green, and attractive buildings efficiently and quickly. According to OffSite, a typical construction site is akin to a small, outdoor factory, with the construction, the workers, and their materials exposed to the adverse conditions of that outside site. With the concept of prefabrication, or building off-site in factory-like conditions, the same construction process is done within a controlled environment, lending itself to better working conditions, better 22 Architecture Leaders Today

quality of work, and efficiencies in time and cost. “When we first started looking at appropriate contracts with the AIA as a guideline to help us deliver our product, the model we created didn’t fall under any of the AIA categories,” Höcek said. “The truth is that architecture and the building industries are still largely based on production methods that existed before the industrial revolution.” While the modern prefabrication process has existed for decades, high-end design has eluded the practice, and housing developments like Levittown have sullied the term. OffSite is centered around a fundamental mission to provide superior design using coupled with the efficiencies found in prefabrication technologies. “Look around at your clothes, furniture, computers – all of these things that are mass-produced – the architecture and construction industry is far behind in that it still produces a singular product,” Höcek said. “We don’t just design and send the drawings off to a factory,” Azzouz said. “We have developed strategic alliances with manufacturers based on geographic locations and quality of product. We have consistently looked to manufacturers who produce more sophisticated products, and are skilled and tooled to work at the level of construction required of good design. Höcek and Azzouz came together by way of two very different career paths. Azzouz, after obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering at Columbia University, spent years working in financial management and consulting. He founded his own firm, 2 Rivers Consulting, in 2007. Höcek studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Architectural

Association in London, and received his masters in architecture from Syracuse University in Florence, Italy. He then opened his own architectural firm, AC Höcek Architecture in 1997. Their two backgrounds united them around the concept of creating reasonably-priced, customizable, elegant and forward-thinking urban and country residences, mid-rise buildings, commercial developments, affordable housing applications, and academic buildings. “We created a vertically integrated model, similar to those common in other smart industries, in order to cut down on the problems and inefficiencies in those areas where they most often occur among the various professions involved in raising a building.” Azzouz said. “A lot of time, money and problems occur in unnecessary communications with the middle men. We have replaced the general contractor with the manufacturer. Not that we don’t respect contractors, we rather see the edges between contractors and architects as blurring. This works to the advantage of the customer.” By using prefabrication technologies, OffSite’s buildings are inherently green, a result achieved because of the reduced travel time for workers employed by the manufacturer, less energy and materials’ waste, overall higher quality of craftsmanship, and more efficient building performance. OffSite also uses sustainable materials and gives clients the option to upgrade to “greener” materials for an even more environmentally-friendly building. When the financial crisis came to a head, the team realized their designs could also be an important solution for another market -- academic institutions. As in past economic downturns, OffSite anticipated that enrollment in schools would increase as unemployment increased. As schools struggled to accommodate the rapid surge of new students by building more facilities, OffSite began to develop its Built Architectural Units™ (or BAU™) product line with the needs of these colleges and universities in mind. With the BAU™, a school can build an academic building or dormitory far more quickly than with conventional site construction, and can also bypass the need for intense capital commitments required with large-scale onsite construction. “While they do serve temporary needs, they are built for permanent use, and in either case, can provide a turn-key option as they can be fullyfurnished and equipped to suit immediate needs,” Höcek explained. The architect realized the significance of presenting the BAU™ to the public after visiting his son’s college and seeing trailers that were being passed off as temporary dormitories and classrooms, and often becoming permanently part of the campus landscape. OffSite then researched how manufacturers typically prefabricate modular trailers, taking into consideration what materials are used, how units are stacked on a truck and shipped, and ultimately how they are assembled on site. The firm not only advanced the design far beyond what schools have


architecture | northeast

September/October 2011 23


northeast | architecture

ABOVE: Composed of prefabriccated modules, the BAU2 dormitories are shown as single and multi-story buildings. As the buildings are created from repeated units, they can be arranged in numerous configurations and sizes. Here the buildings are arranged to form a central courtyard. Green roofs, a cafĂŠ, and brick, glass, and wood finishes are examples of the many design options in the BAU2 series of buildings. The BAU1 classroom provides extensive natural lighting and can be delivered fully furnished. LEFT: The GetAway House, New York, N.Y. A simple two bedroom house, the GetAway House, was originally designed to meet the needs for affordable housing in Barbados. Here it is seen as a second home in more northern climates. Images courtesy of Think OffSite.

24 Architecture Leaders Today


architecture | northeast

ABOVE: Tristes Tropiques Houses, Granada, Nicaragua. The architects designed these affordable houses to be built by small groups of women in rural Nicaragua. The organization, using unskilled labor and prefabrication techniques, is based on similar models found in microloan programs. Each group of women, in the Tristes Tropiques program, work together to build their homes on one acre of land, forming a cluster of houses and the beginnings of building community. Image courtesy of Think OffSite.

come to know as a “trailer,” but also created an elegant and simple solution that bears no resemblance to its origins. “We have seen the trailers that schools use as classrooms and dorms, and they are substandard,” Höcek said. “The real distinction between what we create and those is quality and the level of our design. We don’t make eye sores.” OffSite recently released designs for a new series of BAU™ dormitory buildings – working directly with the prefabricators during this process to achieve a higher quality and greener finished product. They use the same underlying module as with earlier BAU™ dormitory, but repeat the modules both horizontally and vertically to create larger buildings. While the earlier academic buildings can provide both a long-term and permanent solution to campus requirements, these dormitories are completely permanent. The variations and configurations of the BAU™ are many, allowing to better fit within an existing campus setting. The scale of these buildings also provides the opportunity to accommodate other related programmatic elements, such as a student center, learning and laboratory facilities, lecture halls, offices and other administrative spaces, cafés, libraries, and study room. An additional and critically important feature of the BAU™ is that it enables a school to incrementally add floors or construct new buildings while causing minimal disruption to student life. “The other aspect of what we do is making things possible for the average homeowner,” Azzouz said referring to OffSite’s second home series, like the GetAway House. “This design provides an opportunity for the perfect escape from the city. It is simple with clean lines, and gives you the ability to escape

into the country when you want to, not after you have saved enough money to afford a builder to make a large custom home.” The GetAway House was originally designed as a quick solution to housing for Barbados’ Ministry of Housing – and comes in two or three bedroom styles. The foundation is built onsite for the clients’ specific needs. It can be raised or simply placed on a slab of concrete; all that is required of the client is a small piece of land and the availability of water and electricity. “The GetAway House might be for someone in her 20s and 30s who has the capital to buy something for the weekends out of Manhattan, but doesn’t need that to be something extravagant,” Höcek said. “It’s a modest house that is big on design. Generally it appeals to an enlightened person.” The AIA certainly agreed. OffSite’s next design, the Tristes Tropiques Houses (named to acknowledge anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss), was inspired by the GetAway House and garnered the 2008 AIA Award Winning Design. However, this design also found its roots in Höcek’s trips to Central America. “I had been traveling to Nicaragua for the previous 10 years as part of a medical mission,” Höcek said. “What my colleagues and I realized is that the majority of people in the barrios suffer from respiratory problems that stem from the poor ventilation in their kitchens and homes which could be remedied with simple alterations the residents could implement themselves.” With this background in mind, and taking into account the positive aspects of the shantytown that nurture community and social interactions, Offsite created a design system that would empower women in Nicaragua to build safe, attractive, integrated, and

financially-viable homes and communities quickly. The Tristes Tropiques formula empowers a small group of five or so Nicaraguan women with the help of a micro-loan. The group then learns how to set up a prefabrication shop for creating paneled, low-income housing for the group’s members as well as the community as a whole. The shop and the acquisition of skills also provide the women with a source of income. The base unit of development is for eight families on one acre of land. The homes also provide for the much-needed ventilation and better use of daylight than traditional Nicaraguan homes. “I believed that if we could set up a simple prefabrication shop with some supervision and financed by micro-loans, we could improve lives,” Höcek said. “We hope to teach them a skill and how to deliver a product that they can pass on and sell.” Höcek and Azzouz believe prefabrication is the future for housing. The trend is well-established in Scandinavian countries where prefab is often preferred over onsite construction, because of the two basic advantages of prefabrication – factory production (especially attractive because of the long cold winters that make building outdoors difficult), and replication that facilitates modern design. “We are never going back to a construction environment that marked the end of the 20th century,” Höcek said. “The average customers, domestically as well as globally, are far more sophisticated in their environmental awareness and tastes, and more savvy as to design. In addition, the underlying advantages of prefabrication, factory production and customizable replication, are bearing fruit like never before because of the advancements that have been made in design, materials and technology. Prefabrication lends itself to the future.” ALT September/October 2011 25


northeast | architecture

WINDOWS TO THE WORLD

ALUMINEX’S ALX2060 SERIES MAKES ALL VIEWS POSSIBLE WITH CUSTOMIZABLE OPTIONS

by contributing author

F

acing an increasing demand for modern and efficient fenestration systems from the residential market, Alumilex invested in the development of avant-garde aluminum systems surpassing current efficiency and durability requirements. Alumilex thus offers a wide range of high quality doors, windows and glass walls of unparalleled elegance and performance. Looking for a contemporary fenestration system to complement your architecture? Alumilex’s ALX2060 Series is a complete energy-efficient system that can be used for windows, as well as doors. Many types of configurations are possible: In addition to a complete entrance systems, floorto-ceiling glass walls let the sunshine in and create that open feeling you are looking for. Tilt and turn-in windows let you open to the outdoors while preserving security, garden doors—and impressive folding door systems—allow you to communicate to your patio in a grandiose way. But what if you do not have all that room to swing door panels? When floor layouts make using swinging doors impracticable, Alumilex offers a lift and slide door: the ALX120S Series. This type of door operation is both highly energy-efficient and easy to use. Just unlock the door by turning the handle and slide its operable panel to a smooth opening. Nevertheless, opened or closed, an oversized sliding door system with up to six panels can adds-up to spectacular view. All of this comes with the advantages of owning exceptionally durable, maintenance-free aluminum. Using aluminum has many advantages: Providing optimum rigidity, all joinery is executed using right-angle cleats for ever faithful geometry. Once covered with a durable finish, Alumilex doors and windows require very little maintenance. Having no volatile gas emission makes Aluminum the perfect choice for hypersensitive people who depend on a healthy environment. Another major advantage to Alumilex’s aluminum windows is its superior STC ratings which means a greater capacity to attenuate sound transmission, thus providing for a quieter living space. Being of infinite recyclability with no loss in quality, Alumilex’s aluminum systems are more than ever the choice of the future. Custom built right in its own facilities; Alumilex’s versatile systems offer clean lines and straight edges which contributed to Alumilex becoming a benchmark in contemporary architecture. Providing tailored designs and hand assembled products, Alumilex has collaborated to numerous upscale projects in North-America. Maintaining the pursuit of its initial objectives, Alumilex continues its quest for development and improvement, always perfecting its skills and preserving its enviable position as an innovator. 26 Architecture Leaders Today


northeast | architecture

Encompassing the Spectrum Through an astounding range and scope, G-Square maintains one of the most diverse and complex portfolios a firm of just two designers could possibly create. by Joel Cornell

S

mall architectural firms tend to be one of two types: specialist firms who focus on one or two particular building types, and general purpose firms who approach any project with an open mind and an overall appreciation of design across all sectors. Through a long history of top notch experience and an extraordinarily diverse portfolio honed over 25 years, the New York City-based planning and design firm G-Square manages to accomplish the rare feat of encompassing both approaches to design. Their multidisciplinary approach combines the keen vision and insight of specialty firms with the broad reach of the best general purpose planning and design firms. “In working within the industry since the early 1970s across the country and overseas, I always want to delve as deeply as possible into intellectually stimulating project types,” Robert Goldberg said, co-founder, co-principal and one half of G-Square. “Every type of project offers something both challenging and intriguing to us. My partner, Glen Hodges, and I both share a great love of architecture and all that goes with it in helping clients to realize the full potential of their projects.” After an initial engagement in Switzerland right after graduation, Goldberg returned to New York City in the early 70’s, shortly before a major economic downturn befell the city. One notable headline at the time read, “Ford to New York: Drop Dead,” he 28 Architecture Leaders Today

said. So, when he was handed lemons, Goldberg pursued his other lifelong culinary interests, until his return to architecture when the economy revived several years later. During “the bleak years” he was chef at several innovative and popular Manhattan restaurants. His combined pursuits of architecture and food continue to this day as he currently renovates the apartment of a fellow chef he met more than 30 years ago, as well as having designed two restaurants for her during the intervening years. From planning projects as large as 5,000 acres, to small urban scenarios, G-Square has consistently mastered a broad spectrum while maintaining an attention to detail usually found only in specialist firms. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the G-Square duo focused their efforts in developing and designing real estate ventures overseas -- primarily the restoration and adaptation of historic properties in Slovenia, Croatia and France. Among those properties were castles, villas, and monasteries; some dating to the 16th century and earlier. These pursuits also included designing some all-season resorts along the Adriatic Coast. The firm has also had a 20-year presence in Italy, working with their partner Luca Nanni Architetto, based in Rimini. Hodges, who studied at Yale University with neo-classical architect Robert Stern, had a brief stint in graphic design during that same architectural lull in the mid-1970s. An amateur chef as well, Hodges’

practice in custom millwork, his early experience with Stern and Robert Venturi, along with multi-million dollar projects with Bruce Adams for Cummins Engine, further reinforced the multidisciplinary approach the firm brings to every project without regard to size, scope or industry. “As a multidisciplinary firm, we try to bring more than just new points of view to a client,” Hodges said. “Some clients select architects for their star quality. The majority of our clients appreciate our approach, where we emphasize a thorough and creative solution for the client’s situation. We enjoy many repeat clients and new ones come mainly through word of mouth.” The firm has equal amounts of experience in specific niches, sectors and buildings types as specialty firms do, except that this experience is manifest across educational, institutional, residential, commercial,


architecture | northeast

ABOVE: Grande Centrale on 56, Midtown, New York, N.Y. Plumbing & Bath Showroom. High and low displays create focus, frame views provide an expansive feeling to the lower level. TOP RIGHT: The staircase beckons customers to the lower level with two-story bamboo rods and a vivid red handpainted wall set within the deliberately neutral envelope of the showroom. MIDDLE RIGHT: A long view across the main level. The plan allows for changing displays as manufacturers introduce new product lines. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Vessel Wall displays the fixtures as “museum pieces� against a subtle wave-patterned backdrop. Photos by Janet Weiss.

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northeast | architecture

LEFT, TOP: Phoenix Roze Jewelry Store, West Village, New York, N.Y. The eye-level displays in this quirky triangular retail space let customers view the jewelry up close. LEFT, BOTTOM: The jewelry dazzles and sparkles in the dark neutral environment at Phoenix Roze. Photos by Janet Weiss.

industrial, developmental and sustainable sectors, and then some. Their remarkable capabilities make G-Square a “jack of all trades,” while handily avoiding the stigma of “a master of none.” “Over the years, besides the projects in Europe, and a brief foray into China, there have been projects in Miami, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania and elsewhere,” Goldberg said. “Currently, a majority of our work takes place in the New York metropolitan area, which offers up as much diversity as we can absorb,” Goldberg said. “In a city as compact as New York, much of our work is in renovating or retrofitting existing structures” Yet another aspect of G-Square’s practice is working via collaborative relationships with other architects and designers through what they call Peerto-Peer, or P2P. Recently this had them involved with the new premier showroom for Grande Central Specialties, the retail division of Central Plumbing Specialties, a major plumbing fixture wholesaler in New York. The complicated renovation turned a cramped two-story space into an open, inviting showroom by carving broad axes featuring in-depth displays and at-home vignettes. In transforming the cellar portion from storage to retail use, G-Square’s extensive experience was key to a very intricate process culminating with the amendment of the certificate of occupancy. Goldberg then pivoted to another project. “In the culinary world, you learn exactly how important presentation is,” Goldberg said. “When two colleagues of mine moved from a 90 sq. ft. jewelry boutique to a much larger space with major street presence, we worked with them to understand not just what they sold and who their clients are but how they wanted to present their jewelry to its best advantage.” G-Square’s impressive portfolio in the retail sector was again a boon to their approach to design of the store, Phoenix Roze, for proprietor and renowned jewelry designer Guy Rozenstrich. In order to create the backdrop ideal for jewelry, they went for a dark-hued environment with clean, simple millwork. Had the store been bright and the millwork too ornamented, the small-scale jewelry, would be swallowed up. “Their customers are there to see the jewelry, not just to come by to admire the store,” Goldberg said. Additionally, the shop also displays and sells pieces of art, making the proper mood and lighting even more important. From the restoration of Castle Krumperk in Slovenia to the water-themed Ocean Park resort in Beijing, from their contextual proposal for expansion of the New Orleans Museum of Art to the renovation of a Pennsylvania farm house, the scope of experience that G-Square exhibits is unique in its range, quality and excellence. ALT 30 Architecture Leaders Today


architecture | northeast

ENGINEERING THE BEST

ARTISAN ENGINEERING BRINGS AN EXPERT EYE TO EVEN THE LARGEST OF PROJECTS

by Joel Cornell

A

s John Higgins developed as a structural engineer, his talent, skill and clearly displayed ability quickly saw him to a management position with the largest structural engineering firm in the State of Vermont. Having grown up in the state, and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1992, Higgins found a great dedication to the region and its unique architectural stylings within himself. However, deeply involved with the management of the engineering design work, rather than with the authoring of design documents, Higgins felt his creative control slipping away. “I found myself presenting other people’s documents as my own, and I never wanted that to be the case,” Higgins said. “My time was almost entirely consumed with managing the processes of other engineers, rather than acting as an engineering myself. I knew that the creative fulfillment of good design is what brought me into the industry, and so I left that position and began my own company: the pinnacle of creative control.”

In 2003, Higgins founded Artisan Engineering as the principal engineer. To this day, his only expansion has been the hiring of an assistant engineer, Mark Johnson. The entire scope of the firm, a full suite of structural engineering services including; feasibility studies, existing conditional assessments and code analysis to structural engineering design documents and construction administration, is all performed by Higgins and Johnson. “I’ve been intentionally fighting to keep my company small,” Higgins said. “I work directly with all of my clients, architects, builders, suppliers and contractors. Lasting relationships are all too necessary in this industry, and always being there in person when your design or construction partner has any issue is a key to that.” Although Artisan Engineering has shown a fondness for custom residential work in the New England region, Higgins’ adept ability to solve a vast array of problems for his clients has taken the

firm across the country. Even despite the economy, Artisan Engineering has seen nothing but growth. Although the size and scope of projects have certainly dropped, the number of projects coming through their doors has never been higher. “Custom residential is the ideal for me because there’s a soul unique to residential work. There is a flexibility there that respects the ideas of everyone involved, from the contractor and the client to the architects and other designers. When a project comes to us, I frequently find myself taking their existing plans and ideas and making numerous but slight improvements; all moving one step at a time in one direction so that everyone maintains some semblance of ownership.” So very much of design is based on past experiences and relationships. In such a small firm, with such a portfolio of experience and quality, Artisan Engineering’s fast-paced rise to the highest tiers of engineering has not been a surprise to his happy clients. September/October 2011 31


northeast | architecture

The Beautiful Challenge

R

ichard Henry Behr, founder, president and principal architect of Richard Henry Behr Architects, P.C., is one of those unique architects who never sees problems, only “opportunities.” Behr’s body of work transcends sector, style and substance; it stands as an inspiration to the students he teaches, the professionals he employs and the industry he has served as a leader in for nearly 50 years now. Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1965, Behr immediately went to work for one of today’s largest architectural firms, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Serving as the firm’s lead architect for many of the largest projects in their International-Middle East division, Berh quickly 32 Architecture Leaders Today

Through the utmost in talent, skill and dedication, Richard Henry Behr Architects, P.C. has remained a small firm, despite the scale, complexity and breadth of their projects. by Joel Cornell

established himself as a leader in both the firm and the industry. His ability to manage some of the firm’s largest, most complex and most challenging projects with ease handily set the tone for the work he would create throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. Shortly after his time with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Behr began working with Perkins + Will as a lead architect and project manager. He was recruited during this time by Bolt, Beranek and Newman into that firm’s Applied Physics department, which was and has been highly associated with related departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Meanwhile, Behr was pursuing his Masters of Business Administration

at New York Univeristy while also serving as an Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse at Yale’s Graduate School of Architecture and the Pratt School of Architecture. These professorial positions ended in 1989 and 1976, respectively. Behr’s rampant activity within the industry had begun to turn heads. In light of this newly sparked interest, Behr was named as the Chief Architect for the New York Urban Development Corporation. As Behr took over this position, the corporation skyrocketed, building over $1.5 billion a year for the three years in which Behr served as Chief Architect. His time with the NYUDC is exemplified by one particular $50 million project


architecture | northeast

OPPOSITE: A luxury multi-family project on Cape Cod. Located on the ocean side of the Cape, facing Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, the seven 6-unit buildings feature private entrances, basement parking and direct beach access. RIGHT, TOP: An extensive renovation of a 1920s cottage in Southport, Conn. The expansion included a pool house, a guest wing and a third-floor game room. The original veranda was expanded and the first floor was renovated to provide views of the water. Also added: a lap pool, a new sea wall and extensive landscaping. RIGHT, MIDDLE: A new guest house for the owner of an estate house in Scarsdale, N.Y. Zoning restrictions required the new building to be constructed on the foundations of a pre-existing garage. The house was designed in the same cottage style of the original home, with a central stone fireplace, vaulted beadboard ceiling and sleeping loft. RIGHT, BOTTOM: A 10,000 sq. ft. cottagestyle home in the hills of upper Westchester County, N.Y. The design and detailing of the house, inside and out, are based in large part on the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Shingle style houses of New England while borrowing lightly from the Craftsman and other movements. Photos © Richard Henry Behr Architect P.C.

that Behr took from the design phase to bid in less than 30 days. However, as Behr’s family began to grow, he reordered his priorities and took a break from managing projects around the world to manage his home life instead. Following his hiatus from the industry, Behr went on to take his career in a new and independent direction: Richard Henry Behr Architects, P.C. was founded in 1984. Based out of Scarsdale, N.Y., the hot new firm used Behr’s experience in master planning and large scale, complex development projects as a launch pad into the educational, commercial and residential sectors. “We are, in no way, shape or form, a traditional firm,” Behr said. “For example, we do a lot more pro bono work than most firms can afford to do. That’s one area that I’ve always tried to leave a focus on since I began the practice. I started fresh out from school with the philosophy always in mind that the world had given me so much to allow me to be

where I am today, and because of that I feel nearly obligated to give as much back as we can manage. It could be saving a World War II memorial site, which we did over five years; it could be creating schools in underprivileged communities, which we’ve also done. These aren’t big projects, but they are just as important as any other.” Since 1976, Behr has always had interns come study in the studio with him and his team. Normally, Behr’s firm currently supports around 10 students for three to nine months each. These students largely come from nearby universities such as the University of Cincinnati, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Washington University and Cornell University. “Too many architects are too entrenched in their own style or method,” Behr said. “Students and young architects always bring the best, because their style hasn’t been previously established by some other architect or instructor. Not to mention,

younger generations always have a better grasp on trends and technology, not to mention being smarter than me most of the time.” In doing large amounts of historical renovation projects, Richard Henry Behr Architects, P.C. was recently commissioned by the Department of the Interior for recovery work. In the Northeast United States, oil embargoes ended up moving a lot of industry further down south due to better economic conditions and tax breaks. “Everyone saw this as a problem,” Behr said. “Suddenly, factories, hotels and buildings all over the place were being left empty. Instead of problems, we saw only opportunities. Consequently, we did several theme projects based around adaptive reuse, which explored a lot of themes from Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Taking an existing building from the 1870s and overlaying the 21st century on top is a beautiful challenge.” ALT September/October 2011 33


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To The Quick

Across the incredibly broad scope of their design, Domus Studios Architecture maintains one common thread: visionary integrity that pries at the heart of architecture. by Joel Cornell

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INGRASSIA CONSTRUCTION CO. ingrassiaconstruction.com

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n the mind of architect Richard Librizzi, professionals in his field should embody a vision of something more. Not necessarily an artist, a great metropolitan designer or philosophical builder of sorts, but simply a person who sees through the current trends in the industry, the passing whims of their client and the mode of their customary style in order to bring to fruition the essence of architecture. This visionary ability must not only exist in the present; the architect needs to be able to see the impact of their work in past, present and future. Following Librizzi graduating from the Pratt Institute in New York City with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, he won a prestigious scholarship that saw him work closely with famed Italian Renzo Piano Building Workshop. These experiences opened Librizzi up to the practical and the applicable sides of sustainably design structures. Librizzi worked with Piano on several projects as a collaborative effort, eventually developing and implementing a unique tower façade at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin that has since become known as the double skin facade. Librizzi returned to his home town in the United States and, after a short stint with several local architecture firms, opened up his own firm in 1998. Domus Studios Architecture, as Librizzi sees it, is an effort towards bringing about his notion of responsible architecture. “When I started the firm, I wanted to use it as a change, a benchmark of the way to do things right,” Librizzi said. “I wanted to create a firm that would be responsible in terms of material usage, in terms of energy conservation, in terms of how light enters a building, and in terms of how one client or another might respond to these concepts. With these things in mind, we started the firm in order to hone and maintain a presence in the industry that would foster an environment of understanding that clients would seek out. “Indeed, we’ve been fortunate enough to have clients that want this kind of thinking involved in their projects. Whether their focus in on sustainability, a simple sensibility, or a sensitivity towards the primal aspects of nature and how the elements inform what we do, from residential work to commercial. We always strive to remain as hands-on as possible.” A majority of Domus Studios Architecture’s projects consist of relatively small sized residential renovations. However, this isn’t a sign of lackluster talent or scope on the part of the firm. While Librizzi cherishes the intimacy, the intricacy and the personally nuanced style of custom residential work, many of the firm’s projects exist in the institutional and commercial sectors. At Rutgers University, Domus Studios Architecture recently designed a complete renovation 36 Architecture Leaders Today

Since the firm’s creation in 1928, Ingrassia Construction Company has maintained a long tradition of quality construction at a competitive price in multiple industry sectors. Today, under the leadership of Anthony Ingrassia Jr., the firm continues to derive satisfaction from the execution of a job that is superior in all aspects. “Our work with Domus Studios was exemplary of the way we like to do business,” Ingrassia said of his firm’s work on the new Van Dyck lecture hall at Rutgers University. “Their vision completely transformed an old lecture hall into a highly attractive and functional learning space, which was designed in an efficient and cost effective way, enabling completion according to the University’s high architectural standards, in the very short time frame of summer break.” Based out of Middlesex, N.J., Ingrassia Construction is recognized throughout the state for their commitment to their core values of devotion to quality, integrity, and utmost service to each client. Their work with Domus Studios is testament to this commitment.


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for the school’s Van Dyke Lecture Hall. The 250seat educational space was a rather old building, and literally falling apart when Librizzi took the helm. Outdated audiovisual equipment, makeshift interiors, subpar quality finishes, and rapidly deteriorating albeit beautiful custom plaster work through the coves and ceilings were only a few of the major issues involved in the project. “When you talk about firms our size,” Librizzi said, “the overall complexity can vary greatly. Our strength in all projects is a sensitivity towards the client. Each project is vastly different largely due to the influence the client has. As architects, we must understand that what the clients says now may mean another thing tomorrow. We also need

to see through them and hear them, but we also need to see through them, hear through their words, in order to keep cookie cutter designs out and timeless, beautiful, practical design in.” Having worked with the prestigious university several times before, including the renovation of the school’s Nelson Building Laboratories, Librizzi’s unique approach to the school’s unified aesthetic was yet again a major selling point. “In the scope of our work with Rutgers University, it was clear that the school wanted us to maintain a heavy emphasis on the sustainable elements of the project,” Librizzi said. “One of the major reasons that clients like Rutgers University keep coming back to us is because we don’t market

PREVIOUS AND THIS SPREAD: The Flanagan residence, New Paltz, N.Y. Situated along the runway of a private airport with views of both the Shawangunk and Taconic ridges, this linear house is clad in Galvalume metal. Skewed from the runway, its overhang acts as a gnomon to the exterior wall. Photos by Richard Librizzi.

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THIS PAGE: The Morgan residence, New Paltz, N.Y. A neighbor to the Flanagan residence (previous page), this renovation opened the interior rooms and lifted the ceilings within the existing shell, allowing for natural light to fill the space. The new metal-clad entrance canopy frames a refreshed approach, and a scupper guides rain water to a cistern below. Photos by Richard Librizzi. OPPOSITE: The Albrecht residence, New Paltz, N.Y. This home was inspired by artist Donald Judd’s work in Marfa, Texas, and is the result of a collaboration between the architect and homeowner — a designer and furniture maker. A Galvalume-clad roof reflects heat in the summer. The south glazed wall allows the mass floor to gain heat during the day and radiate at night during winter months. A geothermal heating and cooling system was installed along with a heat ventilation recovery system and radiant floors.The whitewashed interior showcase the owner’s work, including chairs, a table and an oak sofa. Photos by Richard Librizzi. Domus Studios, in collaboration with Randolph Hornman of Stylo Furniture & Design, has produced tables, credenzas and custom pieces, including a dining table (left) and the Moon Table (right). All are made with bamboo, Finland birch and sustainable hardwood products. Photos by James Ferrara.

ourselves as sustainable or green, so to speak. For us, that would be akin to marketing the fact that our documents are written in English. We’re a New York based architecture firm, of course we speak English. Similarly, we like to think we’re an insightful and knowledgeable architecture firm, so it’s a given that sustainability will be a focus on the project.” Having maintained extensive experience in sustainable practices since his early work with solar photovoltaic systems alongside Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Librizzi’s work with Rutgers University has resulted in highly sustainable structures time and time again. The lecture hall’s original construction took place in the 1930s, and features 38 Architecture Leaders Today

astoundingly beautiful plaster work across the interior. Over time, these coverings were maintained, but the small devices, conduits and wires behind them had expired and needed replacement. The firm and the university alike wanted to restore the lecture hall back to its former glory. Librizzi developed a unique way of cladding with interior with quality (and environmentally-friendly) acoustic panels. Alongside, wood cladding served to compliment the newly developed aesthetic of the hall, all while hiding internal chases behind them that would satisfy the acoustic and electronic standards the university held. Domus Studio Architects indeed exceeded these requirements, and integrated a new state-of-the-art

audiovisual system into the hall. Throughout these internal conduits and raceways, all of the required communications, energy and environmental systems were integrated seamlessly in such a way that a modern, sophisticated design was achieved all while keeping the classic aesthetic intact. The old pock marked ceilings were refurbished, the seats that were falling apart were entirely replaced, the raggedy old projection booth was vastly improved and integrated into a new podium that would allow total control of the hall’s audio visual system. From practically non functioning state, Librizzi brought this unique space into a new era, in order to foster an environment of learning that will last for generations to come. ALT


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This 100-year-old school in Medford, Mass. had been left abandoned for a number of years before Abacus Architects + Planners was hired to repurpose the brick masonry building into 20 high-end condominiums. Principals David Eisen and David Pollack utilized all the space they were given by extending the roofline and “popping” out loft-style penthouse condos on the top floor. The side entrance to the condominium building illustrates how Abacus combined the 100-year-old building with modern details like sleek metals, glass and concrete. Photos courtesy of Abacus Architects + Planners.

At Boston-based Abacus Architects + Planners, partners David Pollak and David Eisen strive for every project to make a meaningful impact on the inhabitant or user – whether it be public housing or luxury lofts. by Paige L. Hill

40 Architecture Leaders Today


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THIS PAGE: The loft-style penthouse condos came about from Abacus’ desire to utilize every inch of the building, even the attic. When the construction crew discovered unused wooden beams, Eisen decided to incorporate them into the loft’s design. OPPOSITE: Another perspective of the lofts at the school also reveal the incredible views residents enjoy and the bustling neighborhood that boasts shopping and public transportation nearby. Photos courtesy of Abacus Architects + Planners.

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avid Eisen believes that everyone deserves to live in an attractive, well-designed home. “When you live in a place that is thoughtfully designed, it inspires you to be your best,” Eisen said, co-owner and principal at Abacus Architects + Planners out of Boston. “When you stick someone in a box that was manufactured without a thought, it tends to dumb you down, too. I truly believe that your immediate surroundings have a big impact on how you perceive your place in the world and how you act outwardly.” Eisen particularly is referring to a new public housing development Abacus designed for the Cambridge Housing Authority, a place called Jefferson Park. The new development will replace existing 1950s-era public housing with a design that pays particular attention to site planning, energy efficiency and giving each apartment an identity. Though the firm designs everything from luxury loft apartments to corporate headquarters, their passion to complete every project with great consideration for the end user is perhaps most evident on a project like Jefferson Park, as is Eisen’s eagerness when speaking about it. “People need a literal address and an individual front door to their home like they figuratively need a place in society. You have a need to feel connected to the world around you, but on your own terms,” Eisen said. Instead of choosing a design that uses

a central front door and long internal hallways to house residents, Abacus’ design gives every resident their own front door and individual connection to the street outside the building. The site’s original layout cut the development off from the nearby community with a series of dead-end parking lots, but the new plan connects a central drive to the city’s existing street grid so that the new neighborhood will connect to the surrounding community. “A lot of these residents may be immigrants who already feel marginalized,” Eisen said. “Our design suggests that we have respect for them and acknowledges their place in society. We love to design the cool, sexy, interesting stuff as much as the next architect; and, I believe there is no reason that a design agenda and social agenda need to oppose each other.” Jefferson Park has a streamlined, modern look with a great use of metal cladding and wood on the exterior. The apartments are not only modern in design, but also in terms of sustainable living with a rain screen cladding system which waterproofs the exterior and an energy recovery ventilation system which keeps air conditioning and heating costs low. The combination makes the building envelope virtually airtight while providing a healthy interior environment. Eisen spent seven years teaching architectural design courses at Roger Williams University where

he met fellow adjunct professor and now partner David Pollak, who founded the firm in 1989. When the two joined forces, Pollak’s firm had just won an international design competition and Eisen had just won a local competition for affordable housing – giving the firm a high profile in their local area, which allowed them to prioritize innovation. “Innovative can mean a number of things on different levels,” Eisen said. “We live in the 21st century. Society is changing and the culture is changing. People may think that architecture needs to stay the same, but we feel that innovative designs parallel the changes happening in the world around us.” The Kaufman/Swan family needed an innovative design to renovate their small and inefficient historical house into a fully-functioning home for a family of four. They also needed a design which maintained their commitment to stay within the same footprint as the original home and the historical shell, but asked for an interior overhaul that would maximize the space. “This is a teeny, tiny house in a very tight urban neighborhood,” Eisen said. “The original house was chopped up with hallways, and though there had been remodels, they actually made the living space worse. We came in with some intelligent planning to expand the living space into the attic and use the space more effectively.” September/October 2011 43


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BEFORE: The cramped layout of the original home cut the floors into small rooms and hallways, not allowing sunlight to permeate the inner spaces.

The Kaufman/Swan family was undeterred by the “teeny-tiny” size of their historical house which they hired Abacus to renovate into a modern, efficient family home. Maintaining the home’s footprint was important to the family, so Abacus renovated the unused third floor space into bedrooms by way of this slim staircase. Photos courtesy of Abacus Architects.

AFTER: The renovation reconstructed the stairs and their orientation to create more living space. Carefully placed windows, openings in walls and skylights allow natural light into most of the home. Renderings courtesy of Abacus Architects.

The renovation reconstructed the stairs and their orientation, tying in the third floor as bedrooms. Carefully placed windows, openings in walls and skylights allow natural light to penetrate every corner of the home. Rooms start with a neutral palette and then use bright colors to animate the small rooms and give them strong identities “Those oranges, reds and blues really take on a life of their own,” Eisen said. For the Kaufman/Swan couple, a theater manager and a physicist, it was especially important to not knock the existing home down or simply build a large home in an undeveloped area. “There are those people who build 7,000 sq. ft. houses and say that they are ‘green’ because they put solar panels on top,” Eisen said. “Nothing is wrong with that, but the construction process can be incredibly wasteful in building a new house. By using an existing home we didn’t expand outside of our footprint and we recycled as much as we could.” That was certainly the idea behind repurposing a 100-year-old school in Medford, Mass. and turning it into high-end apartments and lofts: the Residences at the Franklin School. The brick masonry building had been left empty for a number of years until The Equity Company stepped in to develop the three-story building into 20 condominiums. The historical neighborhood where the school sits is near public transportation and shopping, making it an ideal location for a home. “For today’s educational needs, the older school buildings and urban lots are too small for the number of students,” Eisen said. “By turning this attractive building into housing for 20 families who can live in a vibrant neighborhood, we are doing something great for the community and the new residents. I see this trend becoming increasingly popular in the northeast.” The large-scale renovation retains the building’s historic brick exterior and blends it with contemporary, sculptural additions in glass and alu 44 Architecture Leaders Today

minum. New dormer windows were wrapped around the corners of the building, giving the residents added natural lighting while complementing the historic structure. Of course, using the framework of a building constructed 100 years ago does have its challenges. Four massive ventilation shafts proved difficult to work around, so the architects used them as part of the building’s energy recovery ventilation system to conserve heat in the winter months. The envelope was updated with medium density foam insulation, making the building high performing and waterproof to keep energy costs low. The developer wanted to create as many apartments as possible so Abacus expanded into the roof with another living level, creating five loft apartments wrapped in glass and aluminum. “We were essentially exploding through the roof and extending out when we constructed these glass-encased lofts,” Eisen said. “These wraparound windows and terraces make the spaces feel incredibly big. We repurposed old beams from the building, both to hold the roof up and because they look beautiful as a relic of the past in a contemporary loft setting.” Their edgy design did not go unnoticed – the project garnered Abacus Architects + Planners a 2010 Housing Honor Award from the AIA New York/Boston Society of Architect. “There is evidence of great sensitivity throughout the overall plan, with special attention given to the building’s place in the community,” one AIA juror wrote in his comments. “We’d like to encourage this type of respectful intervention.” “In our work we’re always trying to make connections,” Eisen said. “Connections between yesterday and tomorrow, between great institutions like Harvard and MIT just down the street, and the families living around them. It all inspires us to be innovative as we work for diverse constituencies.” ALT


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LEFT: Jefferson Park is the new public housing development that Abacus has designed for the Cambridge Housing Authority. The design pays particular attention to site planning, energy efficiency and giving each apartment a unique front door. By incorporating individual staircases and entrances to each unit, the resident gets his own identity. BELOW: The sleek, modern design of Jefferson Park will replace the dilapidated 1950s era housing development that now sits on the site. The light green rain screen will protect residents leaving their homes during the inclement weather. Photos courtesy of Abacus Architects.

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Broad Scope, Narrow Focus Cooper Joseph Studio brings the prestigious design and astounding insight of high-profile, large-scale projects to every sector, industry and client type imaginable. by Joel Cornell

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n altering her career path from engineering to architecture, Wendy Evans Joseph sought out a medium that would fulfill both her love for technical design and her passion for the arts. Joseph has brought largescale projects to life exemplifying this union of creativity and methodology on her journey. From her undergraduate studies at University of Pennsylvania to her work at Harvard University, Joseph learned a lot about the relationship of architecture to the urban environment; the relationship between landscape and people, and, how a neighborhood community relates to a community of buildings. Through her experiences, Joseph engaged in many high profile projects as she worked with the prestigious firm I.M. Pei & Partners, today known as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. After spending two years at the American Academy in Rome, where she won the Rome Prize in 1983, Joseph worked for Pei Cobb Freed & Partners as a lead designer on The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. “With that project, I learned how architecture can have a metaphorical component alongside the traditional and more practical aspects of practice,” Joseph said. “Even though architecture is abstract by nature, one can use materials and light and a pattern of circulation in order to achieve a greater and more profound effect. The museum was important in the development of my own personal vocabulary. It also helped me to understand just how buildings can reflect, both in the detail and massing, one very strong idea.” Joseph worked with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners for many years, on projects TOP: Wykagyl Shopping Center, New Rochelle, N.Y. Corner detail aluminum cornice. BOTTOM, LEFT: Overall view of shopping center looking east. BOTTOM, RIGHT: Perforated, corrugated aluminum sun screen for the upper level offices. All photos courtesy of Cooper Joseph Studio.

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BELOW: National Butterfly Park in Mission, Texas. Cubbies will hold displays for the store. The ceiling structure consists of 22’ by 22’ bays with a wood joist structure. OPPOSITE, TOP: A view of the interior; all surfaces are painted “limelight”— a color chosen to work with the south Texan landscape. CENTER, LEFT: A view of the north facade at dusk. Over time, the field will fill with native grasses and wild flowers. CENTER, RIGHT: A water retention pond by the entry reflects the building and provides cooling for visitors. White Mexican block and white local stone are used for all surfaces and benches. BOTTOM: A view of the south facade; the building has a galvanized steel cornice and ribbed metal panels. Between the building and shade wall is a tree courtyard for outdoor gatherings. Photos courtesy of Cooper Joseph Studio.

from Los Angeles to Boston to Europe; however, she sought out a more personal connection to her clients and her work that a smaller firm would offer and therefore founded Wendy Evans Joseph Architecture in 1996. “With my own firm, I knew I could be more personally involved with the clients, which would allow me to deliver a better project,” Joseph said. “Unexpectedly, however, my first projects were quite large, both in scale and duration. Most small firms start with an apartment renovation or a house for family. In our case, we were awarded two important commissions for institutional work. The first was a cantilevered bridge over East 63rd street along with a plaza for The Rockefeller University in New York City. The second was a $30 million, 70,000 sq. ft. museum of the history of women’s contributions in America, located in Dallas, Texas. We worked those two projects exclusively for our first four years.” In 2008, Joseph formed a partnership with Chris Cooper, who had previously worked as an associate partner at Skidmore Owings Merrill in New York. With a background in institutional and commercial work, Cooper came to the firm with goals that matched Joseph’s: building a strong firm committed to bold ideas that is also interested in working intimately with clients to create something unique which responds to their vision, budget and schedule. In 2011, the firm’s name changed to Cooper Joseph Studio. With these intentions in mind, Cooper Joseph Studio collectively fostered an environment that valued quality, inspiration and the client’s intentions over size, scope or a familiar building type. Indeed, throughout many of her projects, including the recent Wykagyl Shopping Center, Joseph uses her projects as a launching pad for more community focused efforts. “This shopping center was a high traffic area, which was important for our clients,” Joseph said. “But, we wanted to keep a sharp focus on the needs and wants of the individuals that made up the traffic. On the second phase of the project, we implemented a new 13,000 sq. ft. space for office and small retail. We used this phase as an opportunity to implement

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some improvements and overall upgrades to the whole site. We reflected the undulating aluminum facade on the office building throughout the shopping center, we cleared up the circulation paths through the parking lot, we did more landscaping, etc. Many of the ideas we used here on this project stuck with us, and we’ve since implemented some of these improvements in our own offices.” Having designed a vast range of highly successful large-scale projects, Cooper Joseph Studio went in a different direction with The Writer’s Studio located in upstate New York -- a deliberate move to reducing the scale and size to diversify the firm’s portfolio. “For us, The Writer’s Studio was a step towards our desires for intimacy, quality and an exploration of new ideas, techniques and styles,” Joseph said. “We had already built two smaller projects on the same property, a

SOUTHERN STONE southernstone.com

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home observatory and a tractor shed. The Writer’s Studio was similarly specific. The project was for my husband, who wanted a simple place to go to where he could seek solace, listen to music, watch a fire burn. It was exciting to do something that was more about ambiance and visual and spatial experiences, rather than an assembly of problem solving strategies.” Joseph spent many days on the picturesque property where the studio would be built developing an elegant “place in the woods” with her sketchbook. Joseph said she was inspired by the surrounding trees with broad trunks -- her first brush strokes utilized long, low horizontal windows that would focus the resident on the scenery of the woods. The corners of the building were designed in such a way that it blurred the line between interior and exterior. A nearby pond added a watery aesthetic; unifying the natural elements of the natural environment. Joseph’s goal was to partially dissolve the building “box” so as to make it feel part of the woodlands. 50 Architecture Leaders Today

The exterior of the building is painted in matte black, allowing the structure to seem like nothing more than a shadow in the woods. There is a reduced palette of materials, with much of the interior crafted in walnut. Joseph also designed desks and furniture that same walnut. The slats for the walls and doors are walnut. Even the sink is a walnut so as to give the resident a thoroughly arboreal feeling. The exterior is composed of stained cedar, used as flat boards integrated into a slatted construction. The firm designed copper scuppers for the roof. With plenty of snow and rain throughout the year, broiling heat in summers and frigid temperatures in winter, the firm and their prestigious contractors balanced sculptural expression with protection from the elements. Preceding that project, the National Butterfly Park in rural Texas sought out Cooper Joseph Studio to develop a beautiful property adjacent to the Mexican border. The climate there is such that the site is on the migration


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OPPOSITE, TOP: The Writer’s Studio, upstate New York. The rear facade shows a ladder to the roof (for shoveling snow) and a wood storage pass-through next to the fireplace. Both corners are glass-on-glass, opening the interior to the view and adding to the sculptural quality of the black form in the woods. OPPOSITE, BOTTOM: Interior view facing the fireplace. A highly polished walnut floor reflects light into the space, boasting 11 ft. ceilings. THIS PAGE: The front facade, facing south. The cedar siding has been stained matte black; note the detail above the pivot hinge/frameless door of slats with deep reveals, and copper trim at the cornice. The building reads as a shadow in the woods. Photos courtesy of Cooper Joseph Studio.

path of many species of butterflies. The client’s idea was to have visitors see over 100 species of butterfly in one visit by planting specific gardens that would attract migrating butterflies and caterpillars to the 100-acre property. Though the park was severely lacking in funds, their vision and passion still attracted the firm. Cooper Joseph Studio initially designed a comfort station for the park. Yet, the plans from the early 2000’s for a Visitor Pavilion were yet to come to fruition. When Cooper joined the firm, he and Joseph sat down to design something new that would fit within their modest budget. “The new master plan we developed for the entire site was similar to the way Thomas Jefferson thought about the layout of the developing United States,” Joseph said. “‘One parcel at a time. The American grid.’ We divided the entire site into 22 ft. grids, like pixels almost over this 100-acre site. We developed on overlay for the public, private and service

zones and looked at the development of the building in the same way as their gardens: a series of in-fills and walls that could grow over time as the park’s budget slowly expanded.” Currently, the National Butterfly Park is in the process of cleansing their soil and beginning to plant a new series of gardens. The intent of the project is geared towards education, both in English and in Spanish. The new building utilizes locally available Mexican block, over a wood frame and laid vertically, which gives the building a wholly unique texture. Recesses in the brick create shadow along the sides and break up the surface under the harsh Texan light. The 12 ft. ceilings and all inside surfaces are painted a vibrant green which was chosen to contrast with the dry exterior to create a warm, exciting space. This reductive color palette and strong sculptural forms puts forth a new vernacular appropriate to its place and time. ALT September/October 2011 51


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Architecture for a New Century

With a new, technologically-minded approach to design, Studio ST Architects plans to change the way we perceive what an architect does. by Joel Cornell

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ordon Moore, co-founder of the tech giant Intel Corp., published a paper in 1965, which is today known as Moore’s law. Specifically, the law states that the number of transistors which can be easily placed on an integrated circuit will double every two years. This law has been used mostly to accurately predict the trends and developments which we have seen in technology and the manner in which technology have been improving itself and our lives at an exponential rate. Architect Esther Sperber entered the field at a young age, and just as the digital revolution was beginning to take over all industries. She recognized right from the start that this falling out of the old brought forth new and vast possibilities her colleagues had never imagined. “I was fortunate enough to have been able to work with some of the finest architects of the 20th century,” Sperber said. “After working in some relatively large firms with limitless talent, I began to see the signs that the exponential technological development would bring with it a new meaning to architecture and a great change in the way we perceive our buildings, our spaces, our brandings and our lives.” Born and raised in Israel, Sperber’s background was firmly grounded in a place that was privy to a relatively short national history contrasted with an incredibly vast and ancient cultural history. The educational system in Israel is a European system in the sense that undergraduate studies tend to be more directed towards a professional degree. Sperber spent a rather intensive five years studying architecture at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) in Haifa, Israel before moving to the United States in 1997 to earn her Master’s degree in architecture at Columbia University. 54 Architecture Leaders Today

“Once in a while, people will come into the spaces I’ve designed and say that it has a bit of an ‘Israeli flavor’ to it,” Sperber said. “I’m not sure how to pinpoint what that means exactly, but I think that one of the things that came along with me from my background is that, as a young country with an old history, there’s not a continuous architectural tradition. In Israel, if it’s not based in archaeology, you generally see elements of Bauhaus or modernism. It’s an architecture that isn’t based in one telling physical element, but is more concerned with innovation and simplicity and the creation of something beautiful and clever without a large.” Just a few years before Sperber attended Columbia University, the school’s architecture program underwent the transformation of becoming entirely paperless. Technological elements such as BIM and CAD were coming to see constant implementation into the design process, and computers were changing the way architecture was presented, created and implemented. Sperber followed her innovative instincts and began her ongoing exploration of the form and perception of architecture and how that changes through these new sets of tools. Upon receiving her Master’s degree, Sperber spent five years working with esteemed architect I.M. Pei as a fellow architect at Pei Partnership Architects in New York. However, driven by her desire to uncover the unknown potential of the constantly evolving tools available at her fingertips, Sperber saw that the best way to pursue this was to found her own firm. Studio ST Architects was born in 2003. In Studio ST Architects’ first year, Sperber decided the firm would take the road less traveled, believing that the move would pay off in the end.


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Her initial endeavors didn’t see the firm’s first paying client until later into their second year of operation. Initially, the firm concerned itself almost exclusively with pushing the boundaries of conceptual design, as well as plenty of activity in design and architecture competitions around the world. “My aim was to start developing our own language and a new form of working to tackle problems,” Sperber said. “That’s the process I find interesting and it helps me to keep my work alive. I hope to never be at a point where a new project comes across my desk and I have a clear way of how to approach and solve the problem. Every project has a new site, a new client, a new set of problems and a new budget. We look at it from a fresh perspective, but of course utilizing everything that we’ve learned from each previous experience. Architects are supposed to be problem solvers, and it’s not a problem if you already have a solution.” When Studio ST Architects took on the renovation for the 14th Street Y Community Center in downtown Manhattan, (done in collaboration with Z-A Studio), they were presented with a rundown building that hadn’t seen much attention since the late 1960s. In the past few years the center had seen a surge of activity, and the client wanted Sperber and her firm of five (herself included) to create a building that matched the newfound energy of the center’s new programming. The biggest source of revenue for the center came from the fitness center, pool and therefore the locker rooms. “We did a close study of the floor plans and the activity therein in order to properly provide a new layout for these existing spaces,” Sperber said. “While trying to think about the building as a whole, it became obvious that what was missing was not just a revamped fitness center. In order to

PREVIOUS SPREAD: Entry Foyer. Bachelor Duplex, New York, N.Y. With a fusion of common sense design and warm, modern colors, this postwar high-rise apartment is the perfect design meant for one. Dining Room. Bachelor Duplex, New York, N.Y. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Conservatory & breakfast room of a bachelor duplex, New York, NY. The cool colors are a perfect match for the chic, simple design of the room’s furniture. The master bedroom boasts clean lines and modern art. The master bathroom is a collage of mini tiles in blues and whites. The guest bathroom instead is clad in classic marble slab. The outdoor terrace makes keeping a garden easy with planters and concrete. ABOVE: The living room is where the warm tones in the entryways and the cool, light colors of the bathrooms and bedrooms come together perfectly to create a unified space for entertaining, reflection and enjoyment. Photos by Andrew Garn.

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56 Architecture Leaders Today


architecture | northeast

ASTEK INC.

astekwallcovering.com Astek offers a full-service digital print house and design department.  Their designers are highly trained experts, specializing in creating innovative concepts and utilizing unique materials to create truly custom wall covering, murals, displays and more.  Delivering quality, timely and affordable design solutions are job requirements that Astek performs exceptionally.  Their clients include national fashion retail chains, motion picture production designers and top architecture firms. According to Astek Senior Designer Sarah LaVoie, “Working with Studio ST was a pleasure from concept to final product.”

CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: Living Room. 800 WEA. New York, N.Y. View of Dining Room from Kitchen. 800 WEA, New York, N.Y. Meant to stand as a singular, cohesive unit, the 800 WEA always keeps in mind how design complements the perfect flow of life. Kitchen. 800 WEA, New York, N.Y. Study. 800 WEA, New York, N.Y. Study Bathroom. 800 WEA, New York, N.Y. Gust Bathroom. 800 WEA, New York, N.Y.. Kitchen. 800 WEA, New York, N.Y. Guest Room (computer rendering). 800 WEA, New York, N.Y. Photos by Andrew Garn.

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create a true to life space around which the community could center itself, we needed to make a real entry space where locals and visitors alike could meet, have lunch, hang out and take a break. That was never a part of the brief or the original problem that the client wanted us to focus on, but as soon as we proposed it there was general agreement within the 14th street Y staff that this was an essential part of the project. “We opened up the lobby to the street by moving the offices that were against the walls to underused parts of the building,” Sperber said. “We transformed the building into a lively public space, changing its public identity and branding as well as its function and use. Without expanding the envelope, we opened up a new space for people to come and join together and imbue the institution with a personality.” The client recently shared with Sperber that the redesign, which spurred hundreds of new memberships, brought with it a drive for a heightened level of service and performance by the institution in all of its functions. With her relatively small staff, Sperber is actively transforming the definition of an architect. One could say that Sperber thinks outside the box in a 21st century style, except for the fact that’s she’s dismantled that box entirely, turning it into endless possibilities for the future and the new schools of design. ALT

58 Architecture Leaders Today


architecture | northeast

CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Community Room (computer rendering). 14th St. Y Community Center, New York, N.Y. The view of new offices and fitness center at the 14th St. Y. In order to provide the ideal structure around which the community could center itself, Sperber brought a unique level of openness to every aspect of the center. The fitness center at the 14th St. Y will host a plethora of exercise equipment. The lockers will be a continuation of the color palette. Photos by Bilyana Dimitrova.

September/October 2011 59


northeast | regional marketplace

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south | architecture

THIS PAGE: The exterior of the 16th century Doric conservatory best illustrates how Stengel took the existing U-shaped space the home provided and inserted a conservatory addition to the home. An outdoor fireplace easily extends entertaining for the space that was designed specifically for large social gatherings. OPPOSITE: Inside the Doric conservatory, Stengel’s eye for detail is apparent in the wooden, Doric-inspired columns lining the walls, the vaulted ceilings and intricate wood inlaid floors. Photos courtesy of Eric Stengel.

64 Architecture Leaders Today


architecture | south

Endangered Architecture

Eric Stengel is one of a small handful of Classical Language Architects in the U.S. who continue the conversation of the architectural giants of centuries past with their work. by Paige L. Hill

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Y

ou could call Eric Stengel a “Classical Architect” or you could simply call every other architect “a modernist.” “The third generation of modernism basically gave life to what we did in the 50’s and 60’s, and much of that isn’t standing anymore,” Stengel said. “Look at the architecture and construction in Europe that is 1200 years old -- it’s still standing. There is something to be said for that. Why are we afraid to embrace that classical language?” His firm, Eric Stengel, llc out of Nashville, Tenn., is celebrated for projects ranging from the highly enriched to provincial. But architects like Stengel, who existed in greater numbers in a time before Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano are an endangered breed. A breed, perhaps, on the cusp of a reemergence. “There is only a small pocket of us across the U.S. if the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art membership roster is any measure,” Stengel said, who also has offices in New York and Chicago. In fact, there is only one architecture school that is accredited to teach classical architecture in the U.S. - the Notre Dame School of Architecture. Though Stengel attended Parson’s School of Design and then Harvard’s Graduate School of Design for his training, he said his “designing everything from the spoon to the city” education equipped him with the tools to teach himself how to research, learn and be self-critical. “Because what I do is so foreign to modern trades like stone and wood mill shops I have had 66 Architecture Leaders Today

to do most of my own shop drawings. Through that process I’ve learned how to craft everything from stone to masonry to millwork,” Stengel said. Though Stengel favors his CNC computer drafting program over a pencil, it doesn’t mean that his work is any less labor-intensive than what classical design and building has entailed for the last few centuries. “I designed a Corinthian fireplace that took 25 pages of drawings for the various parts of it,” Stengel said. “That same fireplace took the stone fabricator’s shop only three pages. There is something wrong with that. They said ‘no one is going to know the difference.’ Well that mentality is the problem with the way we produce things today, including architecture.” Fortunately for Stengel, his clients, or as he calls them, his “art patrons” do know the difference and appreciate the architect’s devoted fidelity to the classical language. Stengel, in turn, uses each project to hone his skills -- he rounded out his portfolio by recently completing three projects in the three main classical Roman orders of architecture: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. An addition to a Nashville home presented the ideal opportunity for a Doric order. “The house was U-shaped and in that space between the legs of the ‘U’ they asked me to design the most beautiful room I could for parties and social fund raising gatherings,” Stengel said. “I took the idea of the English conservatory and adopted it with an American twist. This room was not going to be used for music or horticulture as it the tradition,

ABOVE, UPPER LEFT: The mirror paned doors conceal all the modern necessities for entertaining: a wet bar, music speakers and a television. Using panes of hand blown mirrors harkens back to a time when they were not mass produced. UPPER RIGHT: The outdoor fireplace doubles as an indoor one, too. Stengel’s inspiration from the Doric column can be seen in the design of the chimney. LOWER RIGHT: For the highly detailed accents on the interior walls, Stengel used original moulds from the 1880s and a centuries-old process using a malleable material called “compo” that mimics wood. OPPOSITE: The staircase just outside the Doric conservatory features intricate ironwork and wood inlaid floors to introduce the period entertaining space. Photos courtesy of Eric Stengel.


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OPPOSITE PAGE: The interior of the 16th century Corinthian conservatory boasts a lot of drama thanks to the hammer beams of the ceiling and the freestanding columns. Stengel said the conservatory is not designed in a textbook Corinthian Order, but it is his own take on the period. THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: A detailed perspective of the vaulted ceilings show off the woodwork and an antique style light fixture. Large vases adorn the exterior of the French, windowed doors which open onto the balcony. An exterior perspective of the Corinthian conservatory displays how seamlessly Stengel blended the addition onto the existing home. The conservatory juts out in a hexagonal shape on the back of the home. Stengel made the most of the space by adding unique details like this mosaic of peacocks. Photos courtesy of Eric Stengel.

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but for social gatherings, especially fundraising parties. That idea of a conservatory did me a lot of favors in that I could design a room in a 16th century vocabulary with ideas of my own blended in as a continuation of the classical conversation.” The conservatory concept, traditionally, accommodates a different architecture than that of the main home. This simple precedent allowed Stengel to design the room with the Doric order and compliment the existing home’s traditional architecture. Since the location of the conservatory is in the “U” shape of the existing home, only onside of the new space was open to the outside. The other three were blind doors. The convention for an English conservatory is the space is open to the outside on three or four sides. Stengel used hand-blown glass mirrors with an antique patina for glazing the doors on the three blind walls. This opens up the room with light and the hand-blown glass gives it a beautiful, watery reflection. The blind, mirrored sides have depth up to 26 inches. This permits storage and modern conveniences to support and serve the main presentation space (wet bar, television, music accommodations) while maintaining the appearance of a completely historical space. It’s a prime example of the concept “serving and served spaces,” according to Stengel. “These extras are not part of the early classical language, but part of my job is problem solving and figuring how to transform the language’s harmony 70 Architecture Leaders Today

and proportion and make it a space that reflects who we are today -- I think that’s one of my favorite things about what I do,” Stengel said. Another part of meeting modern standards is keeping a project on a timeline that fits in the accelerated expectations of today’s world, despite using a building tradition that respects older techniques. For the highly enriched detailing throughout the Doric conservatory, Stengel used moldings made from a material called “compo”: a centuries old recipe moulding paste compound. Many of the moulds are originals from the 1880s. The process uses a pliable mixture which is pressed into a hand-carved wood mould. When it’s removed, it retains the nuances from the “hand of man” including wood grain. When it is ready to be used, each piece is steamed, activating a glue which is an ingredient of the “compo.” The only challenge in creating the highly ornate and incredibly large room was how to rein in the scale so that it “feels” comfortable for less-formal gatherings. “I did quite a bit of measuring and re-measuring to get the scale correct so that the room harmonizes as both a sitting room and a ballroom,” Stengel said. “I think the fact that their 11-year-old son does his homework in there every day is a testament to the inherent harmony the language imbues a space. The result is a room that isn’t too large or uninviting; but one to be enjoyed by one or 150 people.” A completely new residential construction in the architectural language of an 18th century English

UPPER LEFT: The interior of 18th Century Georgian home boasts Ionic columns and an elliptical foyer. UPPER RIGHT: The floors highlight the foyer’s elliptical shape. LOWER RIGHT: Through the foyer, one can glimpse the grand, spiraling staircase just beyond. OPPOSITE: The Georgian home was not just an endeavor in exteriors. Every detail, from the molding to the window panes to the wood floors speaks of the period. This includes a fireplace in the dining room, something that was de rigueur for the day. Photos courtesy of Eric Stengel.


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Georgian provided Stengel fitting circumstances to use the Ionic order. “They showed me a single photo of an American Georgian home they admired and I expanded the implications. In getting to know them and their devotion to Catholicism, we decided to use that as an inspiration point in the home. It’s not enough to simply stick a crucifix on the wall and call it Catholic; so I began to form a design based around the history of the church and their political evolution from geo-centrism to heliocentrism,” Stengel said. The design therefore utilized the forms of the ellipse, which corresponds with the belief that the earth is at the center of the universe, and with the circle, which corresponds with the later accepted theory that the sun is the center of the earth. The opposing theories colored an era in Catholic history. “The Georgian era coincided with this period in the Catholic Church where they weren’t outright endorsing heliocentrism, but they weren’t denying its existence any more, either,” Stengel said. “It bracketed a period of Catholicism in architecture; the circle and ellipse. This house’s period starts to acknowledge a formal narrative of the Church’s transformation from one view of the universe to another.” The completed home is a symmetrical design; therefore, the forms of the circle and ellipse are used to join the symmetrical sides of the home. The entrance introduces the circle with a highlydetailed, spherical alcove just above the front door. The full Ionic order is used on the exterior 72 Architecture Leaders Today

and interior as the unifying style. The foyer floor uses a pattern of two types of wood to introduce the ellipse as it’s main axis directs one’s eye to the two front presentation spaces - heliocentrism. Straight ahead, the main staircase winds around an elliptical, domed, stained-glass skylight and dropped, crystal chandelier. The interior design and furnishings reflect the blended style of the period and modernity. The clients were pleased with the subtle narrative Stengel employed, especially the husband. “He wrote me a letter that said ‘I just love getting up in the middle of the night and walking around in this house,’” Stengel said. “He is an exceptionally bright man in the corporate world, and when someone is this successful in business it doesn’t always mean they can always relate to the art of architecture. However, he absolutely loved the, story, history and expression of his home.” Like the Doric addition, the Corinthian project came in the form of a conservatory; and unlike the Doric addition, the conservatory was added to a Bryant Fleming home styled in his adaptation of the Corinthian Order. “It’s not what you would call a strict ‘academic Corinthian’’ but Mr. Flemings own transformation of it,” Stengel said. “The back of the house, the service side, was very plain and disconnected from the homes front spaces and the grounds it overlooked. So, the chance to add a large conservatory also meant bringing attention to the grounds at the back of the house and connecting it to new gardens and the landscape beyond.”

The client also asked that the conservatory be large enough to seat 50 comfortably for a fully staffed dinner. This required a full catering kitchen big enough to prepare and stage an event of that size. “I started off simply with the function – five six foot diameter tables with circulation for staff. This gave me the basic shape of the envelope,” Stengel said. “I also went to great lengths to bring the scale down through a progression of scaling features; without doing that, it could feel as cozy as sitting in a chair on a basketball court unless you were having a party of 50 plus.” The hexagonal shape of the conservatory, the hammer beams and the free standing columns contributed to the progression of scale. The large room is also divided into three distinct zones, with game table, a sitting area for the family, and a dining table. Stengel put his personal stamp on the conservatory by designing the elaborate marble fireplace from scratch in the sitting room. The result is a custom, 6000 pound, grand marble fireplace large enough to stand in. “I don’t feel any more constrained by the classical language than I do the dictionary of the 88 keys of a piano when it comes to architectural expression,” Stengel said. “Just like we have been speaking versions of English for centuries, we have been ‘speaking’ classical for thousands of years. Each generation simply continues the conversation. There is no beginning, middle or end, just the continuation of the ‘conversation.’ That’s the real beauty; the continued elation of the life long search.” ALT


architecture | south

OPPOSITE: Exterior of 18th-century Georgian home with Ionic details. When Stengel’s clients asked for a home to be built in the Georgian period, the architect certainly did his homework. In playing with circular and elliptical shapes, Stengel nods to the heliocentric/geocentric debate that was concurrently happening among scholars and religious figures of the day. LEFT: Even the home’s pool house boasts Ionic columns and a symmetrical design found during the time period; though, it should be noted swimming pools were not yet in fashion. BELOW, RIGHT: The main staircase comes around to meet the foyer boasting wood inlaid floors in a herringbone pattern. BELOW, LEFT: The stained glass window hanging over the staircase draws in natural light and nods to the Roman Catholic Church’s influence on design during this period. Photos courtesy of Eric Stengel.

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LIVING LARGE

FORUM ARCHITECTURE & INTERIOR DESIGN, INC. by Paige L. Hill

W

hen Forum Architecture & Interior Design, Inc. teamed up with Epoch Properties on two luxury apartment complexes in the American South, they knew that no detail of their awardwinning team’s design would go unnoticed by the nationally recognized multi-family builder. Both the Coventry Park Apartments in Jacksonville, Fl. and The Jameson at Briar Creek in Raleigh, N.C. speak of their successes in the industry; but more importantly, their successful working relationship. “It’s been a great working relationship and I think we see eye-to-eye in what we want to accomplish,” Jeffrey Chue said, who served as project manager on the Coventry Park Apartments. “Epoch is an established company that knows the market and is going after a specific finished product. We are in that line of thinking, as well.” 74 Architecture Leaders Today

When designing the recently finished Coventry Park Apartments Epoch asked Forum to create luxury, oasis-like homes for young professionals and newlyweds that wanted to distinguish themselves from the surrounding complexes; and, Forum more than accomplished that task. The three-story, craftsman-style complex is tucked away in a lush garden, concealing a host of amenities for the residents: a clubhouse, theater room, billiards and game room, cyber café and personal garages built into each unit. “These apartments are distinctive in this neighborhood where there are many older buildings done in stucco. Coventry Park has a stone veneer and high quality siding,” Chue said. Epoch was so pleased with Forum’s interpretation, they asked them back to design the sister project,

The Jamison at Briar Creek, which will open to residents summer 2012. “These apartments have more of a lodge feeling, which really fits in with the environment surrounding the property,” Chue said. Forum also needed to design an apartment complex that would fit into the sloped property that the lot afforded, thus the apartment will be four-storied on one side and three on the other. “Our main goal is listening to our client and designing something that is buildable, which is why I think we work so well with Epoch,” Andrew Roark said, another project manager at Forum. “Overall it comes down to approaching each project methodically and gaining our client’s trust that we simply do what we say we will do. We are in a service-based profession, and we aim to please.”


architecture | south

D

DESIGNING LIFESTYLES

FLORIDA-BASED INTERIOR DESIGNER DONNA BROOKS SAYS THAT CONSTANTLY EDUCATING HERSELF HAS KEPT HER ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF DESIGN by Paige L. Hill

onna Brooks, owner and designer at Brooks Interior Design, Inc. says she has a “dream job.” That is, specifically when it comes to her 16-year working relationship with Epoch Properties -- designing and decorating the interiors of their properties’ model units and club houses. “I love what I get to do when I’m working on a project for them,” Brooks said. “I really enjoy being a part of their team because they give me full creative ability --- it’s every designer’s dream. No two projects are alike and each one is built around the lifestyle of a potential resident.” For the recently completed Coventry Park Apartments in Jacksonville, Fl. Brooks got to design around the lifestyle of “Generation Y,” i.e. tech-savvy young professionals and families. “I’m constantly learning and educating myself on how design is changing, especially designing around the lifestyle of this generation – now it is all about the cyber community and WiFi,” Brooks said. “Everyone is able to do their work on laptops and i-pads, I no longer have to design with space for those enormous computer monitors. It’s a much sleeker look.” The property boasts tremendous amenities with a pool, spa, game room, exercise facility, outdoor fireplace and a WiFi ready “connections room” with televisions and accompanying bar. Brooks said she focused on bringing a sense of nature to the design in terms of warm colors, wood elements and potted plants. “This is for modern living, but it needs that ‘human’ element that is comfortable and welcoming,” Brooks said. The dynamic designer was also hired for Epoch’s next project, The Landmark at Universal -- apartments designed specifically for the employees at Universal Studios in Orlando. “This project is much more about urban sophistication and fitting in with this ready-made lifestyle in the Universal Studios area,” Brooks said. “It has an Asian aesthetic to it with clean lines and vibrant colors. The biggest compliment I receive on these projects is when residents contact me because they want to know where I got the furnishings so they can copy the design.” ALT September/October 2011 75


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The Test of Time 76 Architecture Leaders Today


architecture | south

ABOVE: South Texas Institute for the Arts Addition, Corpus Christi, Texas. This architectural landmark sits at the mouth of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel on Corpus Christi Bay. The original museum’s mission had grown to include performance arts, digital photography and arts instruction. It has also acquired a permanent art collection. The 28,000 sq. ft. addition features state-of-the-art lighting, a large two-story sky-lit gallery, café, vault and administration offices. Photos courtesy of Dykema Architects.

The husband-and-wife team at Dykema Architects creates timeless buildings that pair traditional design fundamentals that adapt to the environment. by Jane Caffrey

A

t Dykema Architects, husband-and-wife team John and Bibiana Dykema see the work of an architect being much like that of an artist. The buildings designed by their firm balance fresh contemporary style with traditional design concepts, while maintaining a focus on integration into the environment. Much like enduring pieces of art, the Dykemas strive for timeless design instead of the trendy. “The main goal of the company is to provide buildings that our clients will appreciate over time,” John Dykema said, Vice President of Dykema Architects, Inc. based out of Texas. “We all want to create something that is immediately exciting. But the test is really ‘how will it create lasting value and maintain that excitement over time?” The pair met while studying architecture at the University of Texas at Austin in 1979 and their passion for innovative design has withstood the test of time. Both went on to careers in Corpus Christi. They worked at Bright/Associates Architects and Bright + Dykemas Architects, Inc, the predecessor firms that ultimately evolved into Dykema Architects in 1999. “We were both committed to becoming architects,” Dykema said. “Over time our client base grew, as did our experience in different types of architectural projects. Now we are a designoriented firm, and our focus is on responsive environmental design.” Today, Dykema Architects completes residential, commercial, public, government, educational, and interior design projects. The firm serves all areas of Texas and sees a construction volume of $20 million per year. The eight-person firm includes three architects, one interior designer, three CADD operators, and one administrative assistant. Dykema Architects also recently opened a new office in Austin. “We plan to continue with creative environmentally responsive design that improves the quality of life of our clients and community,” said Dykema. In the residential market, Dykema Architects has designed more than 100 homes in Corpus Christi, Houston, Dallas, and vacation retreats across the country. One noteworthy project is the Traylor Ranch House, an 8,000 square-foot residence designed for a family of four on a working horse and cattle

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ranch which is also used for family hunting. Located in South Texas, the design incorporates courtyards, extensive overhangs, and porches to protect against the scorching Texas sun. Another nod to the environment is the use of regional building materials, including authentic clay roofing, plaster walls, exposed distressed timber framing, water harvesting features, and handmade naturally finished doors and windows. The interior design of the home features Mexican interior wall tile, and reflects the owner’s appreciation of contemporary design and traditional pieces. A small chapel complements the house. Another South Texas project is the 3,500 sq. ft. Navy Army Federal Credit Union in Beeville, Texas. The banking facility, built in 2011, is carefully integrated into the mining and ranching ambience of the community. The structure responds to the environment by incorporating local stone, shade structures, water harvesting, and overhangs and window treatments. The building also includes state of the art banking equipment to facilitate contemporary retail banking operations, such as the use of remote tellers, computer banking, 78 Architecture Leaders Today


architecture | south

monitor display systems, and a relaxed interior environment. The architectural design is intended to create a contemporary financial resource, as well as a comfortable community space that melds with its surroundings. “We are actively involved and interested in the development of the arts in the community,” Dykema said. Dykema Architects has completed a number of museum projects which includes the Discovery Hall at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. The hall is an exhibit facility designed to house an authentic 15th century Spanish room. “We incorporated a gallery that was designed to accommodate a 15th-century hand-carved Spanish ceiling, a big, domed wooden ceiling that was shipped from Spain at the bequest of the donor,” Dykema said. Another museum project was an addition to the South Texas Institute of the Arts in Corpus Christi. The 20,000 sq. ft. project, completed in conjunction with partner architect Ricardo Legorreta from Mexico City, allows museum-goers to view contemporary regional artwork in an exciting contemporary building. The museum doubles

the original museum building and adds several naturally lit gallery spaces, a vault for artwork and a restaurant. “It is important to develop and invest in cultural amenities to reinforce the total quality of life that make up a dynamic community. The arts play an important role in achieving a well rounded urban experience,” Dykema said. Though Dykema Architects understands the importance of preserving historically significant structures along the lines of being a part of “timeless architecture,” they won’t fall behind when it comes to the technology that makes it possible. The firm is embraces the technological advances both in design tools and energy options. Recent projects have utilized high insulating glazing systems, new insulation and solar controls, alternative energy generation and have utilized new efficiencies in the design of their mechanical systems. “We look forward to continuing to use those technological advances throughout the rest of our career,” Dykema said. “Buildings have come a long way in the last 30 years, and will only continue to do so.” ALT

OPPOSITE: NavyArmy Federal Credit Union – New Branch Facility, Beeville, Texas. This NavyArmy branch had previously operated out of a storefront but moved to its new 5,000 sq. ft. location in 2010. The exterior was designed to complement city architecture, while the interior further projects an organized and strong credit union to bank clientele with its curved teller counter, remote teller kiosks, modular furniture and wall murals which boast what is important to Beeville. ABOVE: Traylor Ranch, Beeville, Texas. With authentic clay roofing, exposed distressed timber framing, water harvesting elements and handmade, naturally finished doors and windows, this 8,000 sq. ft. residence was the perfect addition for this south Texas working cattle and horse ranch. The project is complete with traditional Mexican interiors and a small chapel located across from one of the courtyards. Photos courtesy of Dykema Architects.

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The Best of Both Worlds

Using his diverse skill set, Houston-based architect Mike Treadway sought out to establish an architectural firm serving a full range of clients’ needs at MTA. by Marylyn Simpson

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rowing up in Kentucky as the son of a general contractor, Mike Treadway spent his adolescent summers working for his father, learning every aspect of the design/build process. Working closely with construction workers and craftsmen, Treadway began to develop, without fully realizing it at the time, his technical design abilities that would one day make him one of the most sought-after architects in Texas. By the time Treadway was in high school, his experience on his father’s construction sites led him on a career path that would shape the rest of his life. After graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology and receiving his bachelor’s in architecture, Treadway went on to receive his masters in architecture from Rice University in Houston, Texas. He then went on went on to work

80 Architecture Leaders Today

for a large architecture firm where he was given the coveted position of designer for the Ralph Company in Columbia, Md., an opportunity most young architects could only dream of. As a young architect, Treadway focused his efforts on building prestigious shopping malls for Ralph, an invaluable experience that would make him one of the best in the business. “I had extensive experience in retail from strip centers to regional shopping malls,” Treadway said. “But what I’m really proud of is when I updated and remodeled Frank Gehry’s place in Santa Monica, Calif.” After 20 years of working at a large architecture firm, Treadway decided it was time to achieve his ultimate goal of starting his own firm -- he founded MTA. His newly created firm was a means of

reaching his full potential as an architect, according to Treadway. Using his design skills, as well as his ability to relate to those in the construction industry, Treadway has had a unique advantage in attracting and maintaining customers; and, the architect credits his team’s commitment to clients as the reason. Using his strengths as both a technical and design-oriented architect, Treadway set out to build a firm that focused on the clients’ vision, rather than impose a specific aesthetic onto the client. “When I started my firm I had a philosophy and mission statement to listen carefully to our clients and create what they wanted, not what we envisioned for them,” Treadway said. “I had developed a conviction to listen very carefully to what our clients needs were and to develop


architecture | south

creative solutions to their problems that would allow us to solve those problems and deliver the project on time and on budget and that has really become a staple of our work.” Since starting his own firm, Treadway and his team have completed a variety of projects, focused primarily on restaurants and retail stores. From Joe’s Crab Shack located on the Red River in Bossier City, La. to the Augusta Mall in Augusta, Ga., Treadway has worked through the stressed economy and experienced little backlash. Treadway credits his firm’s growth in client relations and says that many of his restaurateur clients grew their businesses through the economy and enabled his firm to work through the recession. While Treadway and his restaurant clients have experienced upward growth since the recession, Treadway says that the retail side has not been immune to the economy, putting a halt to shopping center developments and other retail ventures.

In lieu of retail developments, Treadway says that he and his team are currently focusing on expanding the services offered at MTA, growing the firm into a business that will attain and manage multiple projects from concept development to design. Having recently completed over 70 Charming Charlie stores, it should come as no surprise that Treadway has achieved his full potential as an architect. Putting the customer’s vision a head of his own while still creating space the public can enjoy has been his vision from the beginning. “It’s just been a real pleasure to see clients be successful and putting our clients in positions to be successful is the thing that’s been very rewarding for me in practice,” Treadway said. “Creating architecture that will endure the test of time, in terms of how it performs and looks and creating spaces where people have a good time has been a real reward beyond just the business aspects of our company.” ALT

OPPOSITE: One of 68 stores nationwide for Charming Charlie, a rapidly expanding women’s fashion, jewelry and accessories store. Work includes development and refinement of existing store concepts plus the rollout of new concepts, including a specialty area of the store called Charlie Girl, in association with Asif Mumtaz who started as a project designer for Charming Charlie and is now Mike Treadway's Director of Business Development and Retail Store Design. ABOVE, TOP: Augusta Mall Expansion and Renovations, Augusta, Ga. One of several regional mall projects that have undergone multiple expansions and renovations for The Rouse Company and subsequently for General Growth Properties. The Augusta Mall doubled in size with the addition of a new Sears Department store anchor, a JB White Department Store, and a 20-tenant food court. Total construction cost for these three projects exceeded $25 million. ABOVE, BOTTOM: Alicia’s Mexican Grille, Cypress, Texas. One of several restaurants recently completed for Mr. David Herrera and his wife Alicia. Pictured is the 8,500 sq. ft. flagship Mexican Grille which was a ground-up project seating 300 with a construction cost of $1,600,000. All photos courtesy of Mike Treadway Architects.

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midwest | architecture

dream interpreters

Chicago-based Massey Hoffman Architects has a varied portfolio of residential projects because their clients have such varied taste. Bottom line, the finished work always reflects the client’s dream. by Paige L. Hill

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hen William Massey, AIA, and David Hoffman, AIA, opened their own firm, they realized their dream to go into the business of realizing the dreams of their clients. Massey Hoffman Architects, founded in 2005 in Chicago, Ill., specializes in residential architecture, from historical renovations and apartment interiors to new home construction. “We’re not here to make a statement for ourselves, but rather to create homes for our clients,” Massey said. “When you work on a home you are designing something very personal and the client tends to have a deep investment in the project. I think residential design is ultimately more rewarding.” Massey and Hoffman were working alongside each other at another Chicago firm for more than 10 years before they took off on their own venture. They served as principals and vice presidents at a large generalist firm, before contemplating the start of their own business. “For 11 years we worked on a variety of projects from single family city and suburban houses to multi-family high-end design for the conversion of office buildings including the landmark Palmolive Building in downtown Chicago. As project complexity increased, our roles as project managers pulled us farther from the design and interaction with the client,” Massey said. So, when a family of five approached Massey with an idea to design a new home for them in a Chicago suburb, he decided it was too good to pass up. “Designing for residential is really about an attitude of design; a frame of mind. Being an architect who can translate your idea and execute the design 84 Architecture Leaders Today

takes a certain skill,” Massey said. He and Hoffman started the firm with that project, the Northshore Residence, and that project made the long-awaited move from a city condo to a suburban house possible for the family. The husband and wife asked the new firm to design a home that would complement the nearby historical village of Glencoe, Ill. “The project was all about maximizing space, but the building restrictions were so stringent in the village that we were limited in terms of square footage, volume and height,” Massey said. “We utilized every foot we could fit within the building volume. The finished product left us with less than one sq. ft. of allowable square footage unused.” The home garnered an award from the local historic preservation commission for a design that respected the character of the surrounding neighborhood. “Receiving the recognition wasn’t a goal for us, but it was an affirmation of the sensitivity of our design work,” Massey said. The wood shingled exterior and stone chimney harmonizes with the many peaked roofline. The dropped beams on the interior reflect the traditional aesthetic, but the open floor plan makes space for the many activities in the kitchen, dining and living rooms. A large, towering staircase winds its way through the middle of the house. “Designing for a family is special because you get to know them. That first project was a great jumping-off point for our firm,” Massey said. When another


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When Massey Hoffman Architects were approached by a family who wanted something akin to their home designed by Peter Behrens’ in Germany, the architects knew they had their work cut out for them. The residents asked for them to transform their basic “brick box” into something a global lifestyle would fit into, and the architects fit the bill. Photos courtesy of Massey Hoffman Architects.

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family approached Massey Hoffman Architects with an unusual renovation project, the firm took it in stride. They asked the architects to transform their “basic brick box” home into something akin to their former home in Germany – an early 20th century home designed by famous architect Peter Behrens. The client wasn’t interested in tearing down the existing structure, so the challenge was how to turn the “box” into a modern structure. “I knew his work from architecture school, but he’s not someone I was referring to in my work on a regular basis,” Massey said. “We had to interpret what it was about that home that they wanted in their new home and it was simply they wanted something contemporary and open. The idea for their new house was to create a composition of brick, glass, wood and metal that would wrap and unwrap around each other.” The renovation meant gutting the entire structure and expanding it to accommodate a family of five comfortably. The single-story attached garage was expanded to two stories and re-imagined as the “center of the house;” a light-filled glass wrapped open stair that connects the living spaces to the four bedrooms above. While the existing structure had relatively low ceilings, the addition dropped the floor of the kitchen and family room to increase the sense of space. Wrapping these spaces with windowwalls and minimal partitions heightened the openness of the floor plan and simplicity of the design. 86 Architecture Leaders Today

On the outside, the white painted brick exterior is complimented by a dark wood-paneled rainscreen addition and large, steel-framed glass windows. The home’s interior is made up of neutral colors, clear finished rift white oak floors throughout, white Caesarstone in the kitchen and the bathrooms, and for the fireplace surround, porcelain and glass tiles in the rest of the home. The architects and client agreed on tropical olive wood to be used as a unifying accent. An open wall paneled in the tropical olive wood divides the entry area from the living room. The kitchen cabinets and storage wall extend to define the family room. “We tried to keep it subdued and minimal to serve as a backdrop for their furnishings,” Massey said. “The husband and wife have traveled and lived in so many places in the world that they needed a clean, simple place to display their colorful collection.” Though the firm excels in designing for families, not all of their work is making pragmatic decisions on how to house a family comfortably. Some projects, like the Lake Shore Drive apartment project, are simply about pure luxury. A couple hired the firm to take their shell of an apartment in the corner of an upscale condo building and turn it into their dream “luxe” home on Chicago’s famous Lake Shore Drive. “The space was completely raw with concrete floors and ceilings and some


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OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The living room of the global family’s home boasts a global collection of furniture and art. The architects mimicked the long, horizontal window panes from the original home throughout the addition. The staircase of the home speaks of the clean lines of the original home, but the materials are all “new.” Tropical olive wood contrasts nicely with the glass, allowing the room to feel even larger for a home that must house five. Massey Hoffman blended the old and the new by painting the existing brick all white and using a dark wood-paneled exterior on the new section. The kitchen of the home brings in sunlight in unexpected places. The tropical olive wood on all the cabinetry makes for a sleek and uncluttered room.

THIS PAGE, TOP: The Northshore Residence in Glencoe, Ill. On the outside, the home fits in with the stringent building codes of the community. On the inside, the modern design fits the needs of a growing family. CENTER, LEFT TO RIGHT: The angular beams of the home’s roofline create a dramatic frame for the master bedroom. The kitchen/living room is airy and spacious enough to accommodate the family in one area. An upward perspective of the winding staircase shows off its unusually graceful shape and striking windows. BOTTOM: Another exterior shot of the Northshore Reisdence illustrates how the Massey Hoffman team worked within inches of the allotted building code with every spare roofline inch. Photos courtesy of Massey Hoffman Architects.

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LEFT: The main show in this Lake Shore Drive apartment is the Chicago skyline out the couple’s dining room window. ABOVE: The kitchen hides the normal clutter behind walnut wood cabinets and a custom “luca di luna” quartzite island with custom lighting. BELOW, LEFT: The bathroom’s zen-like interior design is just what the residents asked for. That, and a large marble tub. BELOW, RIGHT: The large mirror and chest of drawers in the residents’ master bedroom reflects the warm-colored walls and low lighting. Photos courtesy of Massey Hoffman Architects.

plumbing in place,” Massey said. “It was the chance to develop something from scratch in terms of creating spaces and framing views of the lake.” The architects sat down with the clients, interior designer and builder to begin mapping out how the space would transform into the now-sumptuous apartment. The clients helped the team understand how the various rooms needed to function and what pathways they would likely take when moving around the home. Massey and Hoffman charted out how those routes and spaces could make the best use of the views – Lake Michigan on one side, downtown Chicago on the other. “We try to bring as many project team members to the initial meetings as possible,” Massey said. “We don’t think in terms of squares and rectangles on paper, but rather in three dimensional space. Understanding how a client wants to live in a space. How it can be furnished and how it will be constructed all go into refining the design and truly personalizing it for our clients. While we lead the process, it takes everyone to bring it together.” A large kitchen of built-in cabinetry frames the long, stone island made of “luca di luna” quartzite. The dark walnut used throughout the apartment 88 Architecture Leaders Today

brings both warmth and continuity to the spaces. In spaces without windows, unique light reflecting materials such as back painted glass tile, acid etched glass panels and onyx were used along with accent lighting features to bring drama into unexpected places. The large “rotunda” (22 ft. in diameter) dining area is decorated simply to accent the views. The master bathroom especially is a place for the residents to unwind with a large marble tub that is enclosed on three sides. “When we can, we promote the idea of using fewer materials, but in more varied applications. Wood may be floor material and then also a wall panel and cabinet. Stone may be countertop and then a wall cladding and floor accent. This design methodology allows a simple selection of materials to really provide depth and elegance to each project,” Massey said. “In the six years that we’ve had this practice, we have truly grown and been afforded the chance to work on some amazing projects. With each design, we strive to exceed the expectations of our clients. We’ve worked through these recent difficult economic years by focusing on providing good design and a high level of personal service and we are on an upswing at this moment.” ALT


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rchitect Ron Kwaske believes it is his firm’s responsibility to manage both a client’s expectations and needs; and, that’s why he connects with his clients on a personal level before moving forward with the design documents. “We try to understand not only what the client is saying, but also what they mean,” Kwaske said. Depending on the project, Kwaske will tap the talent of his principals and staff who have expertise in architecture, engineering, construction, psychology, business, and project management. Once the criteria and parameters have been established for a project, Kwaske then relays the information he has gleaned from the client in a detailed format. “Our drawings tend to read like a book,” Kwaske said. “It’s important to us that we present them that way.” To maintain the integrity of the design intent, and ensure client needs are met, Kwaske is meticulous about the presentation and detail of his design documents. His perspective on his role as an architect has been shaped, in part, by his background and expertise in the construction industry. “It has forced me to think like a contractor,” Kwaske said. “The architecture I practice today is from that mentality. We protect our client by identifying anything a contractor would scrutinize. I have stood in their shoes and I know where they are coming from. It’s a team effort between the architect and contractor.” The architect started his Chicago architectural firm in 2006. The firm works on a variety of projects, but has special expertise in designing restaurants and interiors, especially spaces that are spatially challenged. “We look at architecture in inches rather than square feet and we don’t look at luxury in terms of space but rather in terms of amenities -- that’s where the luxury lies,” Kwaske said. The firm is currently designing a 4,000 sq. ft. residential addition in Chicago that has presented several challenges for the firm. “The owners wanted a museum-like space to enjoy -- that was their luxury,” Kwaske said. Rather than focus on the size of the space, he was able to communicate to the clients that luxury can be found in the amenities. And to create a space that appeals to all of the senses, he carefully situated the exterior walls and added glass in strategic areas to create continuity between the exterior and interior of the building. “The owners wanted something with their DNA all over it, something that was unique to them. We’ve tried to make it as unique as possible.” In another project, the architect was tasked with designing a corporate interior for the graphic design division of a media company in Chicago, but working with an extremely small space. Kwaske and his team, which included an industrial-organizational psychologist, were committed to understanding the needs of the clients and challenges presented by the space. “They needed to fit six people in a space for three and we were successful in giving the illusion of privacy. We were able to individualize each person’s space.” Kwaske is currently in the process of finishing up a second restaurant for a national chain that is trying to establish a larger presence in the Chicago area. In this particular project, Kwaske had to start with a layout plan designed by the chain’s corporate headquarters. He had immediate concerns regarding form and functionality. Before pitching his design to the restaurant, he studied the kitchen layout as well as the functions of each piece of equipment, storage and food preparation. “After studying their drawings, we didn’t think the space was laid out to the best of their abilities,” Kwaske said. “You have to look at it as an assembly line and think of it as production assemblyman would.” He advised the restaurant on how to improve the design with an eye towards more efficiency and productivity. “This is where we pride ourselves on being a multifaceted operation with experience in architecture and business,” he said. ALT

Getting Personal

Architect Ron Kwaske believes that learning about his clients is the key to creating what they truly want by Joan Tupponce

LEFT, TOP: Communicating design intent effectively is critical to ensuring client needs are being met. For example, a physical model of a coach house converted to a modern home was needed to explore the use of materials on the facade with a client. BOTTOM: Ron Kwaske will sketch his concepts and work things out by hand first. Photos courtesy of Ron Kwaske.

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EXPRESS YOURSELF “I Marietta Calas, owner and designer at Chicago-area interior design firm Expressive Interiors recently celebrated 15 years in business. Calas said that her “interest in how a room comes together” is what led her into interior design. TOP LEFT: The grand living room of the Burr Ridge Estate features a large bas-releif sculpture by artist Bill Mack to play off the two-story vaulted ceilings. Calas also used the sculpture’s color palette in influencing the rest of the room. CENTER: The kitchen at the Burr Ridge estate features a wraparound bar-style seating area finished in granite and intricate woodwork on the cabinetry. RIGHT: The master bedroom at the Burr Ridge Estate features one of Calas’ signature design elements – bring interest to every detail, even the ceiling. Calas used a metallic custom paint technique on the walls and recessed ceiling that reflects the soft glow of the chandelier lights. Photos courtesy of Norman Sizemore.

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’ve always had a flair for style and design and an interest in how a room comes together,” said Marietta Calas. Though the successful Chicago-area interior designer struggled to find the right words to explain her innate design sense, it should come as no surprise that her work best articulates her design with a firm named Expressive Interiors. “I started out working for a prominant builder who needed a designer to do the interior of his spec houses. I now realize that my early experience working so closely with architects and project managers has helped me understand what it means to create a home from concept through to completion,” Calas said. The designer, who opened her own business in 1996 out of Long Grove, Ill., is a member of the International Furnishings and Designs Association (IFDA) and serves on the Long Grove Architectural Committee Board. “Designing in the suburbs is definitely different than designing in the city of Chicago,” Calas said. “My clients in Chicago prefer a metropolitan style of clean contemporary lines. The traditional classic style is much more prevalent in the ‘burbs. My personal preference gravitates towards the

transitional style, which seems to have been the majority of my work. However I love the urban contemporary look, as well”. Calas got the opportunity to exhibit her skill in that transitional realm when designing the 8,000 sq. ft. Burr Ridge Estate. “This was a completely new home and I was brought into the project from the inception. They wanted something very grand, but at the same time warm and comfortable,” Calas said. It was the third home that Calas worked on with the family and the grandest, yet. “When you are working with a massive twostory home with voluminous ceilings, it can be a real challenge to bring down the scale to something that feels cozy and maintain that ‘wow’ factor,” Calas said. “I focused on using warm tones in terms of color and big, overstuffed furniture fitting the scale of the room, yet still adding the feeling of comfort.” The two-story vaulted ceiling and massive fireplace in the living room certainly provided a “wow factor.” But to truly make it an inviting area, Calas had to work hard to bring a welcoming aspect to the room. She hung a large bas-relief sculpture by artist Bill Mack above the fireplace and used


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EUROPEAN ORNAMENTAL IRON WORKS, INC. eoiw.com

Established in Addison, Ill. in 1982, European Ornamental Iron Works, Inc. is a manufacturer and smithing shop of ornamental iron that meets the exterior and interior needs for architects, builders, designers and home owners. The firm’s skilled technicians work with a variety of metals that will allow any project, down to the finest detail, to come to fruition with great success. The firm can use any drawings and/or ideas for a design, or develop a unique, custom made piece just for individual clients. Even the slightest notion can be forged into a hand crafted piece of art. The firm’s work with Expressive Interiors exemplified the standards of excellence the firm delivers. The home owner sought a new look on their main stairs with iron and chose a scroll design for a softer look. European Ornamental Iron Works, Inc. forged new ballisters with custom handmade scroll work running from top to bottom.

Marietta Calas of Expressive Interiors has an inherent sense of how a home comes together and an award-winning portfolio to boot. by Paige L. Hill it as the focal point for the room. The sculpture’s metallic colors provided Calas with a palette of taupe and aqua that she used throughout the room. She echoed the metallic quality of the sculpture in the wood fireplace, which was custom painted in a bronze color with aqua undertones in the fluting. “This room also needed to be a place for the family to entertain. I’d like to think that guests could walk around the room and explore all of the details that we put into it,” Calas said. “When you are designing a space that doubles for entertaining, you also have to take into account the type of entertaining the client might do; whether they are accustomed to throwing elaborate cocktail parties or simple barbeque gatherings. It all plays in how I approach the project.” With that in mind, Calas decided to make the fireplace the focal point instead of the television. This made the room party-friendly. When the family does want to watch a football game or a movie and relax, the home’s fully equipped movie theater on the lower level should suffice. The theater is designed in the same motif as classic 1930’s theaters with dark walls and plush, burgundy seats. Overhead, the ceiling boasts a number of twinkling lights on a blue “night-sky”. Shimmery

bronze velvet draperies enclose the large screen. “The family has children of various ages and they needed a space that could accommodate everyone. So the theatre is very beautiful and warm, but also fully functional and practical, in that it can withstand little kids’ spills,” Calas said. “They wanted the drama of an old movie theater, so I had to do some research when it came to how to treat the room with the appropriate acoustic walls, lighting and ticket booth.” The master suite blends traditional elements with transitional and contemporary details, making it a one-of-a-kind sanctuary for the clients. The walls and vaulted ceiling are covered in a custom technique – painting an iridescent silver/gold paint which takes on different colors at various times of day. Two crystal chandeliers light the space with a soft glow. The sitting area which has two Marge Carson love seats is a quiet place to relax, which also breaks up the room, helping to compromise some of the massive space in this oversized bedroom. The four-poster bed and round boudoir sofa resonate with the traditional elements in the room. The corner fireplace, which was also custompainted, offers another cozy sitting area with two

custom-made Marge Carson ottomans. “I don’t like white ceilings. I like to paint the ceilings the same color as the walls or even a deeper color to give the room a flow of continuity. It also helps to bring your eyes upwards instead of cutting off the room,” Calas said. “In terms of this project, the paint really helped make the room.” “This master suite is romantic and elegant, as well as a feeling of ‘wow’ when you step back,” Calas said. Every facet of the home speaks to that blend of elegance and modernity; even the automatic roller shades that conveniently tuck up inside the customized wood window cornices, so they don’t obscure the look of the home. “My first love is designing residential space, and working with the builder and the architect from the very beginning of the project,” Calas said. “When you get a chance to know the client and how they live and function every day, you can personalize the home down to the last detail” It is little wonder that Calas works almost entirely from the referrals of satisfied clients and has been named Chicago’s Top Ten Designers from 2006 to 2010 and was awarded “Best in Design” in 2009 by the IFDA. ALT September/October 2011 91


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Power in People BRR Architecture’s intimate knowledge of retail operations has brought them big-name projects from around the world. by Joel Cornell

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Cosentino’s Downtown Market. Kansas City, Mo. Centered in Kansas City’s bustling Power & Light District, this market is heavily trafficked by the 100,000 residents, workers, and visitors of Downtown Kansas City. Cosentino’s Downtown Market caters to customers on the go by featuring an 83 ft salad bar, gourmet pasta bar, pastries, brick pizza oven, sushi bar and coffee bar.

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nderstanding the dynamic, fluid nature of the built environment is key for just about any professional in the field of architecture. Similarly, being able to understand how that nature spills over into our daily lives and our interpersonal relationships is the foundation upon which BRR Architecture has built their success. Since their humble beginnings in 1963, the firm has adapted, in terms of philosophy, direction and leadership to meet the demands of their clients. Still, the firm’s current leadership has emphasized this idea of evolving architecture in leading their daily efforts around the world. “Something our firm has been focused on throughout the entirety of our existence is the development of our leaders,” Chris Rhea said, who serves as President of BRR Architecture. “The proper transition of leadership internally has been vital in the way we’ve grown and changed over the years. “If you look at our history, we have a large presence in commercial and retail work. We’ve grown very strategically over the last 10 to 15 years, increasing not just our staff but the skill

sets we retain across the board. Since then, we’ve grown to over 225 employees.” “Most architects never really get much, if any, training on leadership and management during their collegiate studies. When they come to work for us, they get that training that gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and maintain a more fluid position that can translate into a leadership role. It takes an investment of both time and resources, but we couldn’t have grown to the size we are now without those tactics,” he said. From coast to coast, BRR Architecture maintains six office locations aside from their headquarters in Kansas City. Strategically located in San Francisco, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Bentonville, Atlanta and Miami, each office is led by those who have proven themselves in the company in various ways in the past. With this focus on proper leadership reinforced by a deep understanding of the company’s philosophy, BRR Architecture has been able to successfully spread their firm across the U.S. through quality projects. In the downtown Power and Light District of

OPPOSITE: Cosentino’s Downtown Market. Kansas City, Mo. Most full-line grocery stores are approximately 65,000 sq. ft. At this urban location, the owners were offered a mere 30,000 sq. ft. footprint. Capitalizing on the 22’ ceilings with the use of two separate mezzanines, BRR expanded the owner’s functional square footage by 6,000 sq. ft. ABOVE, LEFT: The unique produce section at Cosentino’s makes every fruit and vegetable look appetizing. ABOVE, RIGHT: BRR’s design of this special urban market won the Gold Award in the category Architecture/Interior from KC Home Design and Midwest CJ Magazine. This project also won a prestigious Capstone Award in the Retail category from the Kansas City Business Journal.

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HENDERSON ENGINEERS hei-eng.com

Henderson Engineers, Inc. was founded in 1970 and provides mechanical electrical and plumbing design services through its headquarters in Kansas City, as well as branch offices in Bentonville, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Manhattan, New York City metro area, Phoenix, and Tampa.  Licensed in all 50 states, Henderson is comprised of over 400 employees including over 100 Licensed Engineers and over 100 LEED® Accredited Professionals.

“Every day their doors aren’t open it’s costing them revenue. We bring that speed to our clients, but never at the cost of quality.” ABOVE, LEFT: Cosentino’s bakery and coffee bar feels more like an intimate cafe than a grocery store. ABOVE, RIGHT: Cosentino’s seating area for enjoying their prepared foods overlooks the handsome wine section. OPPOSITE: Design features of the store included a liquor department reminiscent of an old world Tuscan setting with a series of painted groin vaults as well as a grand staircase with custom wrought iron ballister leading to the dining mezzanine.

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Kansas City, near BRR’s headquarters, sits one of the firm’s most recent projects -- Cosentino’s Downtown Market. The market is the only fullservice grocery store in downtown Kansas City. Most full-service grocery stores are between 60,000 and 70,000 sq. ft. BRR faced the challenge of designing a full-service store within a footprint of just 30,000 sq. ft. Due to its urban location, the market caters largely to the customer that’s always on the go. Therefore the market features a full, 83 ft. long salad bar, including a gourmet pasta bar, pastries, sushi bar, brick pizza oven and coffee bar. One of BRR’s largest challenges was figuring out how to arrange the back-of-house areas, while placing the bakery and fresh food components

alongside a space designated for HVAC. Utilizing the preexisting building’s 22-foot ceilings, the firm managed to integrate two mezzanines for the market. By opening day, the firm had managed to fit a total of 36,000 sq. ft. into a much smaller space. Walmart has been a client of BRR Architecture for 20 years, retaining them on thousands of projects across all 50 states and 12 different countries. Recently, the firm completed a new Walmart in Leavenworth, Kan. This store was one of the first to be completed using Walmart’s new brand. This project was key to Walmart’s initiative to use new LED lights to illuminate the interior and exterior of the store as part of an energy efficiency project involving a score of


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THIS PAGE: The entertainment sention of the Walmart in Leavenworth, Kan. As one of the first stores to be completed using Walmart’s new brand, this project was key to Walmart’s initiative to use LED lights to illuminate the interior and exterior of the store as part of an energy efficiency project involving a score of other retailers and the U.S. Energy Department. This supercenter was also the first project in Walmart history to use BIM to produce the construction documents and has laid the groundwork for future BIM and Revit projects. OPPOSITE, TOP: The Hudson News in Raleigh, N.C. used different sized square and rectangular tiles in subtle tonal contrasts to help form the storefront and create visual interest for the passerby. This tonal variety carries through the space with blue tiles from the storefront to similar floor tile used to emphasis the brand. For a punch of color, orange glass tiles create contrast with the neutral white tile backdrop. OPPOSITE, BOTTOM: BRR designed and help implement an exterior refresh of the existing 91,500 sq. ft. One Pacific Place in Omaha, Neb. The renovation consisted of complete demolition and removal of dated exterior finishes and the addition of new finishes consisting primarily of EIFS and stone that were added to revitalize the center and attract new and exciting tenants.

other retailers and the U.S. Energy Department. The supercenter was also one of the first projects in Walmart history to use BIM to produce the construction documents and has laid the groundwork for future BIM and Revit projects. “Our relationship with Walmart has been more of a trusted partnership than anything else,” Rhea said. “Our firm has assisted in Walmart’s growth and success; and they have been critical in our own success. Ours is a relationship of constant teamwork, communication and collaboration. The constant amount of teamwork and feedback we share has helped to shape each project and 98 Architecture Leaders Today

the overall philosophy of our company.” “Our clients continue to raise the bar on what they expect from us. We honestly enjoy demanding clients because it challenges us to get better, faster and stronger.” “We strive to understand our clients. Speed leads the retail market. Every day their doors aren’t open it’s costing them revenue. We bring that speed to our clients, but never at the cost of quality. This approach has brought us repeat clients, who know full well that while some may sway, BRR Architecture absolutely will be there tomorrow.” ALT


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JOHNSTON BURKHOLDER ASSOCIATES jbaengr.com

Over the last 15 years, Johnston Burkholder Associates (JBA) and BRR Architects have built a strong relationship through a variety of large retail projects across the United States. From superstores like Walmart to supermarkets like Cosentino’s, the JBA and BRR team has touched on almost every building code and jurisdiction imaginable. “I think we’ve become BRR’s preferred structural engineer consultant through our ability to consistently meet strict schedule requirements,” said Scott Burkholder, P.E., co-principal of JBA. “For example, Walmart has a very established process, prototype and quick turnaround time. BRR needs consultants who can deliver that as well.” Regardless of when JBA enters a project, Burkholder said close collaboration is essential. “Literally, our staff members are in BRR’s office daily working with their staff. Then we make a minimum of four site visits during the construction phase.” Currently, JBA is working on projects in Florida, New York, Washington and Arizona. To keep up with industry practices, JBA is a member of 12 professional organizations, including the American Institute of Steel Construction and the National Society of Architectural Engineers. “Even if the client doesn’t necessarily care which associations we are part of, it really helps us maintain our state-of-the-art operation,” Burkholder said. Johnston Burkholder Associates and BRR have completed many projects together and are looking forward to continued success in the future. September/October 2011 99


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W

hen architect Robert Maschke, a 2011 AIA National Honor Award recipient, was asked to design something as unassuming as a bus shelter for the rough-around-theedges Detroit Shoreway neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, he did not take the task any more or less lightly than had he been designing a skyscraper. The project is a part of the neighborhood’s $3.5 million transformation into the area’s Gordon Square Arts District; and Maschke was asked to design the bus shelter to also serve as the first piece of public art. “Our offices and studio are in this neighborhood, so obviously we are invested in its rebound,” Maschke said of the Lake Erie adjacent community where Robert Maschke Architects Inc. is located. “When we opened here six years ago, we were the first private investors. There wasn’t talk at the time if the neighborhood would come back or that it would become the arts district that it is developing into today.” Behind the revitalization is Cleveland’s Councilman Matt Zone who first involved Maschke in the project. The entire story was filmed in a documentary called “The Bus Stops Here” by Qian Li. “We went to Maschke and said that we’d like to have him design these bus shelters for us,” Zone said in the film. “They are really going to send a message that this community cares about where they live and they pay attention to every single detail.” The “Gordon Square Bus Shelter” design uses a single stainless steel surface which wraps and folds like origami to form both a shelter and sculpture. The shelter wraps around to form a sitting area and

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Robert Maschke designed the sleek Gordon Square Bus Shelter as part of a $3.5 million makeover of the rougharound-the edges Detroit Shoreway neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Robert Maschke Architects.

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an overhead protective roof. The stainless steel is perforated in a way that responds to localized conditions of sun and wind; the perforations also create a pattern, echoing its purpose as a piece of art, as well. In the evening, the shelters are internally illuminated with custom lighting. “Our office is very academically minded and we’ve been exploring single-form structures over the last few years,” Maschke said. “We didn’t have much money to spend and it needed to be dynamic and easily maintainable; and, it needed to be a sculpture. The shelter was a dialogue that came out of our office.” The firm worked with a local stainless steel fabricator whom they have used on their own designs for railings, sun screens and hardware. They provided the contractor with an unfolded drawing of the structure that was then assembled to make 102 Architecture Leaders Today

the single-form structure. There are currently two bus shelters in the neighborhood. “It’s kind of like origami in the way that you start with a sheet and then fold up everything,” said Marc Manack, an architect at the firm. “Bus shelters are typically very boring and very nondescript and we feel that creating a consistent identity along the Detroit Avenue Streetscape and Gordon Square Arts District we can help change the perception of placed objects,” Maschke said. “The shelter was designed to be iconic.” Maschke first opened his progressive firm in 1997. The firm offers architecture, interior, planning and graphic design services. The firm maintains an art gallery on the first floor of their building where they feature local, national and international work. As Maschke contends, the firm’s work has no particular niche or slant in terms of industry; but,


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LEFT, TOP: The design of the Gordon Square Bus Shelter uses a single stainless steel surface with perforations making up a staccato pattern. LEFT, BOTTOM: For the revitalization of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, the Gordon Square Bus Shelters was the first piece of functional public art. Robert Maschke’s firm has been based out of the neighborhood for over six years.

ABOVE: The Cuyahoga Community College asked Robert Maschke to design a temporary media arts center in their Downtown Cleveland Campus while their older building was being renovated; but, the students and faculty became so enamored with Maschke’s bamboo-laced design that Media Arts is now a permanent fixture on campus.

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CLOCKWISE, FROM RIGHT: For the Media Arts Center at Cuyahoga Community College, Maschke played with the idea of folding and wrapping a single form. The flexible, inexpensive and highly eco-conscious bamboo wood was the ideal building material. Here the bamboo wraps around the classroom/film viewing space. At night, the Media Arts’ design is most striking. Though the building is made up of almost entirely bamboo and glass, it provides a tightly sealed and soundproof space for film viewing. The ceiling demonstrates how the structure is made up of long lines of wood grain and open rectangular “slots” that are used for a range of functions like concealing the HVAC units and lighting. Maschke was asked to be involved in everything from choosing the lighting to the modern furniture that would complement the building’s clean lines and sparse materials. The project that once began as a temporary fix for the college, ended up winning the firm a Design Honor Award from the AIA’s National Chapter.

their modern designs which play with geometric shapes and clean lines are becoming more readily recognizable nationwide. “Our firm is only 14 years old, so we don’t necessarily always get the top projects because of our youth, but we always make the most of them,” Maschke said. “We’re passionate about what we do. There is almost a direct and serendipitous lineage from our very first project to what we’re working on now – 95 percent of our work comes from referrals.” Their strong referral base has acted as an asset in the recent economic downturn and led the small firm into educational design – taking with them that signature Maschke look. One such project was designing a media arts center for the Cuyahoga Community College’s metropolitan campus in downtown Cleveland. “The economy has been tough on us, but we’ve been very fortunate to get the work [from higher education projects and universities] over the last three or four years,” Maschke said. “The work has both carried us and broadened our design capabilities.” The client called for a black box film studio, which could have all the capabilities to also serve as a center for small musical concerts and a classroom. The exquisite single-form structure clad almost entirely in light-hued bamboo and glass provided a light and airy space and the acoustical 104 Architecture Leaders Today

requirements for its various needs. The structure is made up of long lines of wood grain and open rectangular slots that are used for a range of functions like concealing the HVAC units and lighting. The double acoustical glass also aided in making the space a haven for film students. “Bamboo was the perfect choice because of its incredible flexibility and durability, and creating an uninterrupted pattern,” Manack said who oversaw the choosing of materials. The construction focused on low-impact solutions that could easily be disassembled when necessary, as the structure was originally intended to be a temporary space. “This was an interesting project because the client asked us to design a temporary building while the permanent 40,000 sq. ft. building was under construction,” Maschke said. “We needed to create something that could be up for a just a couple years and could be disassembled and the material used for something else. Now, the building is also one of the most used spaces on campus and the college has no intention to tear it down.” The design won a Design Honor Award from AIA’s National Chapter and put Maschke’s firm on the map. “We are undeterred by any project. We put our stamp on what we do and put in 100 percent when it comes to our design approach,” Maschke said. “I think our work really transcends a variety scales.” ALT


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MILANO ELECTRIC milanoelectric.com

For those in the industry throughout Northeastern Ohio, there is one electric company that can be counted on for a wide range of electrical contracting service: Milano Electric. Since 1989, the company has set the standards for residential and commercial construction wiring; from the installation of standby generators and pool/spa electrical systems to custom lighting and lighting control systems. “Having worked with Robert Maschke for so many years, we’ve developed an ideal relationship,” said Milano Electric President Carmen Milano. “Maschke is incredibly meticulous, even down to debate of specific spacing for screws based on the kind of plywood, and the best kind of varnish on which to mount the electrical panel. They were hard to work for at first because of their high standards, but as our relationship has developed, we knew how to match the high level of quality they expect.” Fully licensed, bonded and insured, with a full staff of talented and visionary individuals, Milano Electric is the standard for custom electrical work for any designer, architect or contractor. September/October 2011 105


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106 Architecture Leaders Today Johnston Burkholder Associates Quarter Pg Ad.indd 1

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WEST

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THE

DEPTHS OF STYLE

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Miller Dahlstrand Architects has brought a blend of old styles, new elegance and astounding insight to the historic Houston landscape.

Shadyside, Houston, Texas. Exterior view of the back of the house. Photo by Kevin Dahlstrand.

by Joel Cornell

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THIS PAGE: An interior shot of the kitchen at the Shadyside in Houston, Texas, shows how the architect used clean lines and rich materials to bring a sort of modern, old world, feeling to the home. OPPOSITE: The staircase neatly connects the first floor with the second by way of a largely white palette. Photos by Kevin Dahlstrand.

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“I

don’t really have a particularly exciting coming-of-age story,” said veteran architect Reagan Miller. “I grew up in Iowa farm country, so there weren’t a lot of architects or profound buildings that inspired me to get into architecture. If anything, it was my mother who first piqued my interest in architecture when she designed our house. I got it in my mind that architecture seemed like the thing to pick up and I haven’t been able to put it down since.” After earning his Master’s degree in architecture from Rice University, Miller began working with established Houston architects Jay Baker and Kurt Aichler. In the mid 1990s, Miller began the process of opening his own firm, and it was Aichler who enabled this opportunity by forming a partnership that ultimately lead to greater client and contractor exposure. By 1997 Miller was able to begin his own firm. While Miller never really had his sights set on his own firm, the community began to respond at large to Miller’s work and saw the meaningful future he could provide for his clients. Slowly but surely, Miller began to build up his firm from small projects, remodels, and new construction alike. At all times, Miller’s focus was on keeping things small. “At the most we were just three people in those early years,” Miller said. “I realized that I couldn’t wear all the hats that were required to provide a good service.” In 2006, Miller was joined by partner and fellow architect, Kevin Dahlstrand, as the firm rebranded into what it is today: Miller Dahlstrand Architects. Today, the firm consists of its two principals and is supported by four architecture graduates. This size, in Miller’s mind, is the ideal proportion. Any smaller and he would not have the time to tend to every single detail on every project, any larger and he would lose critical involvement. September/October 2011 113


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“With the kind of work we do, high end residential mostly as a boutique firm of sorts, people want to work with the person whose name is on the door,” Miller said. “Success for us doesn’t mean being larger, it just means doing whatever it is you do with careful consideration for the details, for the clients, and for our partners in the industry.” In catering to his client base, Miller’s work is largely influenced by style. For a new project, The Royden Oaks Residence in Houston, Miller worked closely with the client who sought a house that embodied a new, modern interpretation of traditional Latin American architecture. Unlike most of his projects, however, the Royden Oaks house was done as a spec building for a local developer. “This client in particular was enamored with modernism, but with a warmer touch to it” Miller said. “For me, a touchstone in this house was the modernism I’ve seen across Latin America, which uses materials that are warm, such as wood, stone and clay, but all rendered in a crisp and more defined way. If there is at all a trend in the work that we do, it was embodied in this project. It’s that fine line between architecture that isn’t slavishly attached to the traditional and classical details, but still remains informed by them only to be rendered in a more modern way.” Standing on a 64’ by 125’ lot, the house occupies 6,100 sq. ft. Miller created a shallow, U-shaped plan using a series of courtyards. While one side is

loaded with the garage, bedroom and kitchen, the other displays a marvelous transparency lengthwise through windows and pocket doors. With such an emphasis on style and substance over trends and clichés, Miller was the ideal architect for a recently built home adjacent to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts – the Shadyside Residence. The 7,600 sq. ft. home sits in a historic area of the city. “The client for the Shadyside project visited France quite often, in particular she frequently stayed at a hotel called La Miranda,” Miller said. “The hotel is an urban blocked building with a courtyard through the main entrance, and the client really wanted to emulate that feel. Over time, the hotel had placed a glass roof over the courtyard, and the unique blending of modern and traditional architecture was the seed for the Shadyside project.” In spending much of her time in France, the client would frequently bring relics and antiques back to her Texas home. In seeking to reflect a traditional French style in a Houston neighborhood, the client and Miller worked together to obtain many of the materials used in the project from France. These included the flooring, the doors and the paneling, along with the clay tile roof. The floor plan is a simple one, “diagrammatic,” as Miller puts it. “The intent was to create a story about the house, as if it had existed for a long time,” Miller said. “Over time, perhaps, people had come in an updated it, renovated it, and developed it. The

OPPOSITE, TOP: The interior view of the first floor sitting room of Shadyside in Houston, Texas uses a neutral palette to play up the lines of the room. OPPOSITE, BOTTOM: The exterior view of the back and side of the house shows off the identical, modern chimneys. ABOVE, LEFT: The stairway and hall on the second floor is sparse in terms of materials, but all teh highest quality. ABOVE, RIGHT: An exterior view of the guest house illustrates some of the manicured landscaping around the house. Photos by Kevin Dahlstrand.

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The new family room of River Oaks in Houston, sticks to brick, wood, glass and metal -- making for a warm and functional room. Photo by Mark Scheyer.

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THIS PAGE: The exterior of the back of River Oaks illustrates how brick and wood work together harmoniously in the design. OPPOSITE: The new dining room can accommodate all the residents for family dinners. Photos by Mark Scheyer.

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home has a very calm and collected quality to it with moments of modern intervention. It was an aesthetic that fit the antiques the client kept, but it could have easily worked beautifully with a more modern approach.” For his Master’s degree, Miller focused on mid-century Houston architects and Frank Lloyd Wright devotees MacKie and Kamrath. As a result Miller became something of a local expert of the highly respected firm. It wasn’t long before one of MacKie and Kamrath’s Houston projects, River Oaks, needed to be renovated. Miller Dahlstrand Architects was promptly chosen as the architect to lead the historic renovation. Originally designed in 1949, the River Oaks home saw only one addition, which was performed by the same firm in 1963. Miller was tasked with bringing to fruition a major addition and renovation that attempted to seamlessly integrate the inside with the outside. “With this project and with most of our projects, we try and avoid that strict adherence to the period details,” Miller said. “But, in this setting, we were highly respectful when it came to the details, certain areas we didn’t touch at all. What the new home owners wanted was the crisp lines and the attention to detail that made this project modern. Outside of that, warm cozy aesthetics more common in traditional architecture remained throughout.” With their heavy emphasis on a more referential approach to design, Miller Dahlstrand Architects has carved out a niche for itself. The firm continually seeks to challenge itself with sustainable architecture through historic renovation and community service involvement that will further engage the firm in Houston’s historic architectural landscape. ALT September/October 2011 119


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BELOW: Dennis Diego was approached about taking a dilapidated home in the hills of Los Altos, Ca. and converting it into a green home. Diego maintained the original footprint, but changed the orientation and used two rooflines to make interesting angles.”I’ve always been interested in the tension between elements in a building and how they interact with each other to define hierarchy of form,” Diego said. RIGHT: Diego was also able to reconfigure the backyard garden in designing the home. The garden is easily accessible and the plants all require minimal upkeep – another part of the “universal living” design that will take the resident through the years. OPPOSITE: Diego’s use of passive solar lighting and heating of the home is best illustrated in an exterior shot of the home. The original house was oriented in a way that the resident could only enter by way of a steep driveway, so he replaced it with a landscape entry garden.

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A

adaptation

rchitect Dennis Diego was not deterred when he was approached with the idea of building a sustainable home meant for his client to live out his twilight years; in fact, he was honored to be chosen to play such a significant role in the man’s life. “He presented me with the idea of universal living and creating a home that would not need to be changed as he aged and getting around got increasingly difficult,” said Diego, principal architect and owner of Dennis Diego Architect. “That idea is actually a personal philosophy of mine – to design each project for all phases of one’s life.” The client had inherited an unremarkable and plain home from his uncle in a hilly neighborhood of Los Altos in Northern California. The original home had clearly not been built with the future in mind, nor was it up to the codes for the earthquake-prone state. “I agree that one green building strategy is to preserve as much as you can of what already exists, but after careful analysis we realized that

the home simply had too many flaws,” Diego said. “The criteria dictated we make everything one level and arrange the rooms in a way that would make it easy for him to get around; and more importantly, a home that would be built to last with energy efficient green materials.” Though there are plenty incentives for green building techniques California’s recently adopted Green Building Code. Diego made it his mission to go beyond this benchmark. “This was not just about scoring required green points; it was a voluntary process. I don’t think we as a profession are ever going back to designing marginally efficient buildings to meet minimum standards,” Diego said. The architect, who opened his firm in 1989, said little has changed in the way he approaches the design of each project despite the growing use of CAD and BIM technology and software. “Natural ventilation, day-lighting, passive solar strategies and superior insulation values are employed to suite the specific site and climatic conditions. The

For cutting-edge and ever adapting architect Dennis Diego, designing an eco-friendly home for a resident’s sunset years was just moving into the final frontier of the industry. by Paige L. Hill

location of this project is particularly well-suited for these features.” The original house was oriented in a way that the resident could only enter by way of a steep driveway. Diego kept the foundation maintaining the original footprint of the house, but changed the structure and floor plan to create an entirely new experience. The house is divided into two distinct roof segments intersecting in the center over the entry. A more graceful pedestrian access was created through a garden located where portions of the driveway were removed. “I’ve always been interested in the tension September/October 2011 121


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between elements in a building and how they interact with each other to define shapes and a hierarchy of order. The simple clean lines of the home accentuated by the scored cement plaster exterior, windows and bi-folding accordion patio doors. “Though it is a modest-sized 2,600 sq. ft. compact home, I really wanted to create a feeling of openness and space. I employed vaulted ceilings and played with low, sloping roofs to make the space feel large and expansive on the interior,” Diego said. The warm local fir wood paneling bleed from the front entrance walls, ceilings and run through the living areas of the house to the back covered porch. “We used pre-engineered wood trusses with long spans for the roof, the openness gives the home an elegant, refined look,” Diego said. Diego mirrored the clean planes of the ceiling on the ground level by embracing an open floor plan for the kitchen/living/dining room that continues outside through to the back porch. 122 Architecture Leaders Today

By opening the folding glass doors off the living room, the house opens completely to the garden beyond. This again reinforces the accessibility to all areas and the flow of the space of the house. And the home did not go unnoticed. The Monterey Bay AIA chapter awarded him an Excellence in Design Award for the project. The jurors noted the restraint in the architectural forms and the successful blending of the interior/exterior spaces. When a couple recently approached the architect in a similar predicament in their Mill Valley, California home, Diego was prepared. They had spent much of their lives living in a home atop a steeply sloped hill knowing that the day would come when they could not climb the 75 ft. of stairs necessary to get from the street to the entrance. They were also unwilling to give up the milliondollar view of the San Francisco Bay now that the moment was approaching. “They thought they might have to give up their home and sell it, but were torn because they loved their home,” Diego said. The architect devised a plan to severely cut the strenuous climb by creating parking in the front of the home at street level connected to the house by means of an incline lift. The clients were pleased, but loved that their former set-up hid the cars from sight when they looked out over their incredible

view. Diego suggested they build a covered carport with a living green roof; therefore solving the issue by extending their garden over the roof. “The clients were very excited about this idea, because it becomes a part of the landscape and is so easy to care for,” Diego said. “I find that even small residential projects like this one can be very challenging and enjoyable. I try pool my ideas from my other projects, researched and re-invented them for current projects. I invest time in staying in tune with what is relevant in terms of green building strategies and technology. I could see that it would really be the key to keeping up to date in my practice.” In fact, Diego’s devotion to staying cutting edge is what prompted him to leave his job for another firm and open his own. “At that time they weren’t interested in investing in the new technology so I went out on my own,” Diego said. His latest addition to his growing tech library is ArchiCAD’s Eco Designer software that can calculate a building’s energy efficiency and carbon footprint, something he will be applying to his future residential and commercial projects. “I find myself in a constant adjustment phase as I move from one building type to another. Adaptation has really been a common theme in my work, my personal beliefs,” Diego said. ALT


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OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A 3D drawing of how Diego wanted to approach the law office renovation included a wood slat partition to create a divide between the entry area and the employees. The office design in reality. The bird’s eye view of the law offices show how with very little space, Diego’s design creates separate areas for the various functions of the office. THIS PAGE: Another perspective of how the simple clean lines of the wooden slat divider functions in the office today.

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The custom home designs coming out of Sara Harrison Woodfield’s firm set in premium wine country are anything but expected.

Vineyard Living by Paige L. Hill

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ew architects pay tribute to Mexican midcentury architecture or envision a home accented in searing, hot pink. But then again, few architects have the vision and worldliness like that of Sara Harrison Woodfield of Harrison Woodfield Architects, Inc., nestled in the Santa Rosa Valley of California. When a couple from Palm Springs approached the firm with a lot in picturesque Sonoma County and an open mind about what to put on it, Woodfield envisioned a home that was not like the neighbors’. “Before I can even see if my firm is a good fit for a project, I ask the client to fill out a questionnaire that is both informational and philosophical,” Woodfield said. “I asked both the husband and wife to fill out a separate questionnaire because though two people may live together, they did not grow up together and usually have different aspirations as to what a home should be.” In this instance, the art aficionado wife envisioned a bird hovering over the ground; and the retired banker husband, a light and airy retreat. They both wanted something that recalled their time spent in the desert climate of Palm Springs. Woodfield saw an opportunity to evoke the work of self-taught, iconic Mexican architect Luis Barragán, famous for minimalism and a use of bright colors. She invited

the couple to a special 100th anniversary showing of his work in Mexico as a jumping off point. “His strong Catholicism does come through in a lot of his work, so there is a sense that you are almost walking in a holy place – he actually designed a nunnery at one point,” Woodfield said. “But what we also found on our trip were some fantastic homes by contemporary Mexican architects who are reinventing Barragán. We liked mixing the two eras, but we are still speaking the same language.” Woodfield’s finished design, La Casa Paloma Blanca, or “the white dove house” in Spanish, was a perfect fit for the couple. The home, surrounded by lush greenery and native trees, is a monasterylike oasis with every feature the couple requested, including an outdoor dining room, spaces in which they could display their remarkable art collection and a bird watering hole. The husband requested that his office overlook a place for birds to commune and Woodfield designed the minimalist, black lava rock fountain herself. The fountain backs up to a bougainvillea pink wall that recalls the flora of Barragán’s home country. “There are a lot of water features that essentially cool off the feeling of a desert temperature,” Woodfield said. The home is bordered on one side by a tall but

PREVIOUS: La Casa Paloma Blanco is the name of the modern Mexican style residence inspired by the work of Luis Barragán. The residents envisioned a bird hovering above the ground when they began working with Harrison Woodfield Architects on the design. The simple, clean lines and open floorplan keep the focus on the natural beauty just outside. OPPOSITE: The custom designed mud room at La Casa Paloma Blanco is a favorite room for the residents. Here they clean up after gardening or swimming before entering the main house. The pebbled floor and extra large sink were chosen just for this purpose. Sara Woodfield designed the window which makes a latticelike pattern on the opposite wall when the sun is in line. ABOVE: The residents wanted a bird watering hole that they could watch just outside the home office. Woodfield took more inspiration from Barragán when designing the cobalt blue fountain.

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CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: Another view of the living room illustrates how the home embraces an inside-outside style of living. The comforts of a living room spill out into the nature outside. The slate stairs leading up from the guest room display a hue of shocking pink at the end of the corridor — a trademark of Barragán’s work. Woodfield designed the custom lava rock fountain which makes up the desert-like oasis which hearkens back to when the residents lived in Palm Springs. A cobalt blue wall breaks up the clay red walls dramatically. Even the landscape is meant to mimic the desert, with sandy, wind-swept gardens and natural flora from the area. OPPOSITE: La Casa Paloma Blanco’s piece de resistance — the zipper door leading to the wine cellar. The custom door slides out from the “zipper” running down the middle. When the lime green LED lighting that lights the wine cellar is pouring out from the zipper, the contrast with the shocking pink wall is at its best.

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OPPOSITE: Woodfield said she was inspired especially by a nunnery designed by Barragán for this hallway. The exposed beams, stained glass and long windows recall the nunnery. THIS PAGE: Looking downhill at La Casa Paloma Blanco, one can see how the home almost disappears from sight. The home sits deeply in the lot per Woodfield’s design.

lean stucco wall painted clay red and highlighted in shocking pink and cornflower blue. Entering the home, preferably through the custom mud room, where the residents like to clean up after gardening or swimming, the home unfolds itself room by room. “The idea I was using is that this home is a mystery that leads you on,” Woodfield said. “The strong walls, the personal spaces, the coolness of the tile floors – they all play together.” The interior concrete walls, painted a shade of terra cotta, were insulated with Styrofoam and covered in lime wash to give the house an energyefficient base. Much of the flooring was made from recycled beams, and the rest laid with a durable tile. A lot of the cabinets were made from bamboo and designed by Woodfield. For the wine cellar, Woodfield installed a custom “zipper” door that breaks down the middle with jagged edges and slides out, in favor of a traditional door. Through the crack of the zipper, the lime green LED lighting which illuminates the wine peeks out and shines on the nearby walls. “This is something Luis Barragán does -- painting with light,” Woodfield said. Light also plays a starring role in the southernfacing living room where it dances on the gray ceramic fireplace and picks up the red metallic flecks. The living room’s expansive rectangular window frames a view of the grassy hills that protect San Francisco

Bay. The southern edge of the home blends into the natural surroundings. “Instead of sending out this ‘don’t go beyond’ message with a fence, the edge falls into a sea of grass that waves in the wind and has a life of its own,” Woodfield said. The dining terrace, which extends out from the kitchen, overlooks the edge and picks up both morning and evening sunlight. The nearby pool beckons swimmers to cool off from the heat of the pink Mexican sun. “It was a dream project, from the clients to the materials and putting it together,” Woodfield said. “Then again, sometimes I feel like most of my projects at this point in my career are dream projects.” The architect specialized in multi-family housing at a large firm in Los Angeles and in large development projects at a major firm in St. Louis, Mo., for several years after obtaining her Master’s in Architecture from UCLA and studying design in both Italy and the Far East. She got the chance to move back to California and in 1991 decided to start her own firm specializing custom homes, estates and major remodels. “I was done with the office politics of a big corporation. I started with designing the house I now live in and grew from there,” Woodfield said. By 1997, the business was thriving and Woodfield was appointed the first female president of

INTEGRATED DESIGN ENGINEERING 559-433-9785

 For the latest in structural and architectural engineering, Harrison Woodfield Architects sought out Luke & Mariam Gunnewegh and their engineering firm, Integrated Design Engineering (IDE). With 27 years of experience in architectural and structural engineering in the Netherlands and Brazil, licensed in California and Nevada, IDE uses the latest trends in construction techniques and building materials to develop large scale homes and commercial projects. IDE uses a customized interface software package of AutoCAD and RISA-3D to compile the designs and maximize green technology through the expansive database of high-tech building materials. IDE specializes in uniquely designed building systems that are stronger and with higher insulation than traditional 2x structures, while being more environmentally friendly. IDE works with Harrison Woodfield on many projects, primarily large scale homes throughout California. Principal, Luke Gunnewegh attests that “Harrison Woodfield Architects think of building as a team effort where owners, contractors, and engineers approach details with a team perspective.”

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ABOVE: The “Italianate Residence,” as Woodfield calls it draws from a vast source of inspiration according to the architect: Italy, France, Spain Morocco and California. The view from the pool shows off the grandeur of the custom home. OPPOSITE, TOP LEFT: The spacious balcony off the second story of the Italianate Residence best illustrates the California Mission style which Woodfield incorporated into the design. TOP RIGHT: The back of the home is uniquely suited for socializing and lounging with a large patio and plenty of seating. BOTTOM: Woodfield designed the backyard so that is divided up the sloping hill the yard sits on to create smaller recreational spaces.

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the Redwood Empire chapter of the AIA. Over the 20 years that Harrison Woodfield has been in business, the firm has completed nearly 100 projects – quite a feat for a staff that runs somewhere between two and five. “There were not as many women interested in being architects when I went through school and I really did have to prove myself,” Woodfield said. On one of her recent projects, a grand pink villa, Woodfield said she strived to not do what many California-based architects tend to repeat: a “Tuscan farmhouse” — opting instead for something totally unique to the area, or “Italianate.” “I try not to say that the home is one thing or another because I like to play around with so many styles like Southern French, Spanish, Moroccan and Mission,” Woodfield said. “These bands and columns and stone trim around various parts of the home are very much inspired by central Italy.” Today, projects come to the firm through word of mouth and past client recommendation – even Woodfield’s latest client out of England who is building a custom home in Carmel Valley. Construction just began on the home that will sit on 100 acres of open ranch land, in preparation for their transition to country living in the states. The home will support husband, wife, their four children, the family’s international business and a staff of two.

“Much of the left side of the first floor of the home will be for the business which he operates from home, and above that will be two bedrooms and a lounge for the two boys,” Woodfield said. “But this is not just any great family home. They want to be completely sustainable at some point, so we have been incorporating as many green and sustainable elements into the design as we can.” The home is being built with energy-saving ten-inch thick walls that will be supported by a geothermal heating system. The core of the wall is five inches of foam insulation and a metal grid, with 2.5 inches of concrete on both sides. Much of the home is covered in stone and almost entirely wood-free, ensuring that it lasts for a century or two. A rainwater harvesting system will also account for some of the water consumption. In time, the family plans to grow their own fruits and vegetables and keep animals on the ranch. Since the home is roughly a 30 minute drive from the next largest town, Monterey, the ranch will run like a small self-sufficient village. “They aren’t just plopping a house down because they like the area and they can afford it. They are building a living system within the existing system of trees and animals,” Woodfield said. “We really get along because we think the same way. This is the way a home should be built.” ALT


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One Love

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The husband-and-wife team at One Architects has a penchant for designing custom homes for those who like to live well; something that is never far from their offices located in the great outdoors of Telluride, Colo. by Paige L. Hill

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or the co-owners of One Architects, Bruce and Jodie Wright, nothing beats a good glass of wine and a napkin sketch. “That’s our preferred first meeting with a client,” Jodie said, a principal or “pioneer” as they prefer to call her at the small firm out of Telluride, Colo. “Sometimes I feel possessed by my pencil and I feel like architecture is somehow birthed from that love of what a pencil can do. Though we eventually end up at the computer, there are some things that technology simply can’t replicate.” That sense of good living paired with the Wrights’ “back to the basics” attitude permeates their portfolio stocked with custom and renovated homes which range from the sleek and modern to the hearty and earthy. One thing is for certain, these are not your standard Lincoln Log cabins. One of the firm’s recently completed custom homes, the Marnoy Residence, is neither wholly contemporary nor traditional, but what Jodie and Bruce call “edgy agricultural.” “This project began as a vacant lot at the end of a cul-de-sac not too far from a local ski resort’s chair lift,” Bruce said. The residents, an avid fly fisherman and an art enthusiast, were looking to turn the remote space into a tranquil second home; but, working in the small town of Mountain Village meant that the architects had to comply 136 Architecture Leaders Today

with the stringent building codes of the community, including obtaining special permission to connect the home’s driveway to the main road. They also were required to create an exterior that matched the nearby stone and wooden homes in the area. “We had a good palette to work with material-wise; and, we’re anti-stucco, so we were very okay with this formula,” Bruce said. A lot of the 7,550 sq. ft. home’s views are uniquely directed north and slope up the mountain, which fell in line with design’s emphasis on windows and passive solar lighting. “When the clients first sat down with us they did not come in with a strong list of requests or an image in mind,” Bruce said. “We came up with three distinct concepts and they chose neither the really sleek contemporary one nor the traditional one, but the middle ground. It is inspired by some of the coolest architecture in the Telluride area which is from 100 years ago. The kind of architecture that is very functional and beefy. It really speaks to the history here.” The “agricultural” part of the design is emphasized in a full-size silo which holds the home’s dramatic main staircase which spirals around a metal mobile/chandelier they commissioned an artist to create for the space. “They are very involved in the art scene and so they passed the dimen-


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PREVIOUS SPREAD: Exterior of the Marnoy Residence, Mountain Village, Colo. Architects Bruce and Jodie Wright used the idea of a silo to give this mountainside home a sense of agricultural history. OPPOSITE: Interior of the Marnoy Residence. The architects chose to expose as much of the internal engineering of the home that they could get away with like exposed beams and cables, giving the home a more “bare bones” aesthetic. THIS PAGE, TOP: One Architects likes to play with materials generally reserved for engineers like the cast acrylic on this balcony/hallway in the Ring residence. CENTER: The master bath in the Marnoy Residence was carefully orchestrated so that none of the skiers could catch a glimpse from the nearby chair lift. BOTTOM: Inside the Marnoy Residence’s “silo” is a spiral, wood-paneled staircase for which the residents had a large mobile/chandelier made. To the left is another angle of the open hallway which runs over the living room. Photos courtesy of One Architects.

JB WINDOW SPECIALTIES 970-728-9699

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THIS PAGE, TOP: In taking a historic Victorian home in downtown Telluride and making it into a modern family home, One Architects decided to preserve as much as they could of the Ring residence and make a fitting addition. Part of the addition was making a kitchen with all the modern conveniences. CENTER: This angle shows off the Ring residence’s staircase to the upstairs and a family sitting room. Making sure natural light filtered in unobstructed was the idea behind the translucent staircase out of cast acrylic. BOTTOM: An exterior view of the Ring residence shows how One Architects reinvented the historic home shows how their careful editing earned them recognition locally for the addition. OPPOSITE: The master bedroom of the Ring residence’s balcony shows views of the historic downtown. The translucent sliding door provides extra space in the bedroom and lends an open, airy feeling. Photos courtesy of One Architects.

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sions along to an artist to create this hanging piece of art that doubles as a light fixture,” Jodie said. The bare wood staircase is also lit by strips of yellow LED lights which are hidden between the stairs and the interior walls of the silo. The staircase connects all three floors of the home. The exterior of the silo is covered in rusted metal, which speaks to the authentic look of “edgy agricultural”. “Again we were only allowed to use a material other than what the village prescribed on a third of the exterior, so that took up the bulk of that third,” Bruce said. The staircase does not connect with the guest suite, which is separated from the main house by a glass enclosed walkway serving dual purposes – giving the guests some privacy and allowing the residents to close off the space completely when it is not in use to save energy consumption. The idea of the walkway also plays into One Architects’ fascination with “interactive” design. “When you drive essentially through the building, under the walkway, you get to engage with it,” Jodie said. “And when you are on the walkway, you feel a part of the natural world outside without leaving the home.” The interior of the home also plays into the interactive quality of the Wrights’ work. Wooden beams run throughout the much of the home accenting the high ceilings and warm wood used on them. The beams are

supported by industrial-looking steel cords which cut the beams on the diagonal, making geometric patterns and shadows. “We wanted to expose the inner workings of the building so that the residents could interact with the architecture,” Jodie said. “We work so closely with our structural engineer that I think we want to express that inherent efficiency which goes hand in hand with architecture. Especially with western architecture that really plays up aged wood, rusted materials and history of industry and ranches.” In designing the more refined spaces of the home, like the master suite and bathroom, the architects were challenged with keeping the rooms private from what could be onlookers from the nearby chair lift. They placed the windows strategically on the side that was exposed so as not to lose natural sunlight, and created a wall for storage. “We blended the master bath and closet and therefore created a boundary between that area and the bedroom,” Jodie said. On the protected side, they used a great amount of glass to frame scenic, mountain views for someone enjoying the free-standing tub or in the totally transparent glass-encased shower. “It all just hangs together in the end which makes them feel at home, most importantly,” Jodie said. September/October 2011 139


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Keeping that main principle in mind, the firm did nearly a 180-degree turn with their next project, the Ring Residence – a renovation of an existing historical home in urban Telluride and an addition to the home to accommodate all the needs of a growing family of four. “The family needed the addition to fit within this tiny town lot and complement the historical home that is registered as a national historical landmark,” Bruce said. The architects worked with the local historical society in understanding how they could maintain that standing while adding new construction to make the house family-friendly. “There are certainly different requirements when you are designing a family home that is their main residence versus creating a vacation home,” Bruce said. And at 3,200 sq. ft., the home is also half the size of the Marnoy Residence for twice the number of residences. The Wrights resolved to not copy the original home’s Victorian style, but use complimentary, new materials and extend out to the back. The incorporated the existing, exposed brick wall into the palette of cool wood grains, brushed metals and a host of glass and glass-like materials. “Our main focus was openness and light, two things that go hand in hand when you are trying to make the most space you can,” Jodie said. A trans 140 Architecture Leaders Today

lucent staircase, made out of cast acrylic, leads to a suspended translucent walkway which hangs above the main living area. Translucent sliding doors in many of the rooms eliminate the need to provide space for a door’s swing nor additional light fixtures. “On even the lowest level of the home, the kids’ hangout, we brought in natural light from the deck above by using carefully placed windows and using that cast acrylic material on the walls to kind of reflect the light,” Jodie said. “It really captures and releases lights. It brightens a space and glows.” “We needed passive solar sources to offset the solid brick wall and bring in natural light, something that was not always emphasized in older buildings,” Bruce said. In the end, the home garnered the firm a prestigious award from the historical society for their complementary design to the original home. Though Bruce and Jodie enjoyed the acknowledgement, they said they have no plans to change their formula. “There was a time when we grew to nine people working under us, which is still fairly small, but Jodie and I felt that we weren’t as hands-on as we wanted to be. So, we throttled back to about three or four of us in the office, which is where we are today,” Bruce said. “You have to recognize what works for you and remember what you set out to do. We are architects who are deeply involved in our projects.” ALT


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OPPOSITE: Morton residence, Telluride. Colo. The exterior shows off the extensive stonework and mountain aesthetic which is fitting to the home’s location. THIS PAGE, TOP: The master bedroom of the Morton residence features a two-way fireplace that opens to the bathroom, as well. CENTER: The architects played with various planes of hardwood surfaces in the Morton residence. Here, the wood-paneled ceiling runs sloping upwards from the kitchen to the larger living area, creating a dramatic intersection. BOTTOM: Another angle of how the many earthy materials traverse the Morton residence — a complete portrait of the home. Photos courtesy of One Architects.

ECO SPACES

ecobuildingmaterials.com EcoSpaces of Telluride, Colo. is a premier supplier of design-conscious and environmentally friendly building materials. Working extensively with top firms like One Architects, EcoSpaces has developed a vast supply network that is built on advanced building products and strong relationships with builders, architects and homeowners. Designers and builders seek EcoSpaces for their distinct selection of aesthetically pleasing interior and exterior finishes such as wide plank flooring, countertops, wall finishes, windows, exterior siding and roofing products. These materials are made using highly-recyclable, sustainably harvested, non-toxic contents that bear little to no environmental impact. One Architects selected EcoSpaces as the supplier of strandwoven bamboo planks and paneling for flooring and floating stairs and BioGlass translucent countertops made from 100 percent recycled glass in the Ring Refuge, Marnoy Residence and Morton Residence.

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Telluride-based Snowcap Decorative Hardware supplies the western slope of Colorado with high-end hardware and fittings for luxury homes. Among their collection of decorative door hardware, bath accessories, architectural hardware and cabinet hardware lies top of the line selections from the highest quality hardware brands, including Rocky Mountain Hardware. Snowcap has a showroom in Montrose, but due to the geography of the region, Snowcap has also developed an on-site preview service where Snowcap will come to the homeowner and builders with samples for selection. Snowcap has enjoyed working with One Architects on projects such as the Ring Residence. Snowcap considers it an honor to be One Architects’ source for high-end decorative hardware, and Snowcap looks forward to the continuation of a successful partnership between the two.

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The Great Outdoors Brad Jordan of Jordan Architecture in Glenwood Springs, Colo. realized his dream of running a design/build firm while working closely with his contractor, during the construction of a Tennessee couple’s dream home. by Paige L. Hill

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aybe it’s the rural Colorado environment where architect Brad Jordan works, but the self-taught architect and owner of design/build firm Jordan Architecture certainly takes the road less travelled. “I majored in business while in college, instead of architecture,” Jordan said. “When I was in junior college I studied architecture while working for a great architect who could design but couldn’t run a business, so I knew I needed a business background to really make it work. I have my contractor’s license and my architect’s license, but knowing how to run a business may be my greatest asset.” Jordan opened his firm in 1993 after multiple years working in construction and architecture. He followed up by designing and building three of his own homes while running Jordan Architecture. “I built my firm out of my existing clientele in the construction industry,” Jordan said. “Coming from construction really aids me in design. I speak the same language and I understand the work that goes into building. I’ve seen construction sites where the architect shows up and everyone scatters – not with me. I’m part of the team.” “I think every architect should spend a year in the construction industry learning how to frame and create a structure out of thin air, as 142 Architecture Leaders Today

well as translating construction drawings into an actual structure. Not understanding that process creates a disconnect. We work very closely with our structural engineers from the start so that we don’t run into problems when building on the site.” And if Jordan’s style of becoming an architect is rebellious, then his most recent design of a 13,000 sq. ft. vacation home overlooking Colorado’s picturesque Mount Sopris is his pièce de résistance. The Blair Residence boasts more than five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a formal entertaining room, two rooms for watching big-screen-worthy football games, a wine cellar, a children’s playroom, a library, a guest house and more. But even the impressive home cannot compete with the natural environment which surrounds it. “The predominant feature in this valley is Mount Sopris and this house really has the million dollar view,” Jordan said. “There is something to look at on all 360 degrees, but those mountain peaks are the focal point. So, I oriented the house to get the most out of it.” The home, styled in a rustic, but elegant lodge vernacular sits in the valley plain of Carbondale, facing predominately south to maximize the use of solar. Though it began as an 8,000 sq. ft. house and ended up at 13,000 sq. ft., Jordan worked

with the land so that the home didn’t appear as large. The entrance level is five feet below the main level on the road side. The house is divided into two distinct buildings which are connected at the second floor by an enclosed bridge-like hallway over a dry stream bed. “The building envelope on one side is narrow and the main house is much larger so by choosing to bridge the two, we preserved the stream bed drainage and added to the natural landscaping,” Jordan said. The clients, who are based in Memphis, currently use the house as a vacation home, but asked Jordan to equip it with all the amenities necessary for them to make their move to Colorado permanent in future years. With three grown sons and a large family, they wanted to build a home large enough


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that could accommodate them all and future additions. Jordan began working with couple on another house in River Valley Ranch, Carbondale, Colorado and was brought back in to make their dream home a reality. For the husband that meant a home where he could easily entertain his golf buddies. The wife asked that the home could double for formal entertaining. Jordan created something that married both of the requests. He also put his own stamp on the home by adding some personal touches like a bookshelf door that can be opened to reveal a secret passageway, a domed ceiling in the wine cellar and main bar where he placed by hand each piece of tumbled marble tile to make up a completely unique herringbone pattern. “At one point the wife came in and here is her

head architect up on scaffolding doing the finishing touches. She said ‘I’ve got my own Michaelangelo!’” Jordan said. But it’s not just pretty to look at, the home produces more energy than it consumes with the help of solar panels and the green building practices Jordan employed through the design and construction. “This home is probably one of the greenest built houses of its size in the area,” Jordan said. “Since the agreement for building in this municipality is already geared towards certain green standards, it makes my job easier. “We have engineered lumber throughout the house including stud walls, radiant floor heating, three inches of concrete, 13.2 kW of solar power.” If every light and appliance was turned on and

ABOVE: Despite the Blair residence’s 13,000 sq. ft. boasting every creature comfort under the sun, including a wine cellar, a library and two rooms for watching big-screen-worthy football games, the best feature is still the property’s view of Colorado’s nearby Mount Sopris.

September/October 2011 143


west | architecture

BELOW: An alternate view of the Blair Residence shows off not only the rustic mountain lodge style in which Brad Jordan designed the home, but also the 13.2kW of solar power that the solar panels lining the roof can produce.

running, the house would be operating at a rate of consuming 15 kW per hour. But since that is unlikely to ever be true, the home is actively putting power back on the grid. “The power company is writing them checks and when you’ve got a house that size, not paying the light bill is a big thing,” Jordan said. Business and finances certainly feature a prominent role in Jordan’s style of architecture. His recent move to the design/build format by forming and teaming up with Collaborative Construction Company has allowed him to offer clients an appealing deal. “I realized that this format allows me to manipulate the economy in our favor and especially with the economy being what it is, clients are very interested in that,” Jordan said. “By taking on multiple roles, we can eliminate the middle man. We still offer full service architecture to our clientele which allows them to ‘pick’ their contractor 144 Architecture Leaders Today

or go through the standard bidding process with recommended contractors. The design/build is not for every client and we have a core of great builders that we recommend for specific projects. The times are changing and we wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss this opportunity.” That was the idea behind another of Jordan’s recently finished projects at the Glenwood Canyon Resort, a camping haven for outdoor enthusiasts and families in No Name, Colo. The developer was looking for a designer who could encapsulate his vision for livening up the already existing resort with an all-encompassing structure in the middle of the site. What came out of that was a social gathering place where campers could dine inside or al fresco, cook in an open kitchen, stay in hotel-like accommodations should they tire of the outdoors, and even zip-line across the Colorado River just off the building. The resort also offers rafting, bicycling and multiple varieties of camp-

ing options, such as tents, camp trailers, campers, motor homes, cabins and now the two specialized apartment type units. “This developer is probably one of the few people that even owns this type of property right on the Colorado River, and definitely the only one who is zip-lining across it,” Jordan said. The three-leveled building is dug into a hillside, so that the building appears smaller from multiple angles. The centerpiece is the large terrace that can fit nearly 500 people to enjoy the sunshine or shade via shadesails, as they sit around and sip a cocktail at the outdoor bar. The main level consists of a banquet hall/entertainment space, which can accommodate weddings, small group conventions and family reunions. “All of the doors to the interior at the main level open up to the deck so that it becomes invisible where the inside ends and the outside begins,” Jordan said. ALT


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west | architecture

A Traditional Approach

Sticking with a clients-first approach to architecture, MBA Architects have spent the last half of the century developing a reputation as a leading architectural firm. by Marylyn Simpson ABOVE: Tierra Encantada Townhouses; San Jose, Ca. These 20 townhouse units were designed and built for a non-profit developer, Community Housing Developers, who creates affordable family housing. The units are for sale, not for rent, and the project is located on two sides of a private street in a secluded neighborhood. Photo courtesy of MBA Architects.

146 Architecture Leaders Today

F

ive decades in the architecture industry has given Marvin Bamburg the enviable portfolio of experience that younger architects could only hope to achieve in their careers. Over that time, Bamburg has witnessed five economic recessions, fleeting industry trends and observed sustainable energy rise to the forefront of design/ build practices. Bamburg’s reputation, built on his forward-thinking design philosophy and attention to detail, rivals many of his contemporaries. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1958, Bamburg went straight into the Navy; but, soon returned to civilian life where he could focus his attention on his love of architecture and engineering. When Bamburg was approached by an acquaintance from college to work at his architecture firm in San Jose, Calif. Bamburg jumped at the chance to kick-start his career. “I worked with him for five years and decided to go out on my own and started my practice by doing small remodels and whatever I could get my hands on,” Bamburg said. “This was during the height of the Cold War and atomic fallout was a concern. I took a course in fallout shelter analysis at San Jose State University to gain a better understanding of that phenomenon. Through that

course I found a federal program where I could be a paid consultant for providing shelter analysis. We don’t really need those anymore, but that work kept me alive during the early years of my practice. After two or three years I had enough work that I could open an office and have some assistance.” In the beginning, Bamburg’s practice, focused primarily on residential work; but, after a slump in the housing market during the 1970s, Bamburg soon learned the importance of diversifying his firm is order to stay afloat and compete in the increasingly unsteady market. Bamburg branched out and designed multiple family housing, low income housing and specialty housing for disadvantaged groups. Bamburg was able to keep his firm in the black, as well as contribute to some of the less fortunate population. The firm now offers a widely diverse experience base including residential, commercial, industrial, historic preservation and government work. Bamburg’s design philosophy emphasizes socially-conscious ideals that focus on serving the needs of the community and on creating a cleaner, safer environment for society. “We were quick to embrace the use of solar heating for water and electricity,” Bamburg said. “We’re trying to do what we can to use natural


architecture | west

TOP: Bamburg residence, nestled in the foothills of Mt. Hamilton overlooking expansive views of the Santa Clara Valley. Bamburg’s remodeled 1948 home shows off his versatility as an architect. BOTTOM: Aqui Restaurant; San Jose, Ca. The 4,400 sq. ft. restaurant is divided into a dramatic array of dining rooms, bar (seen here), kitchens and prep areas. The design uses a variety of strategically placed ceiling planes and wall openings that are meant to guide customers to spaces and provide a sense of privacy when dining. Photos courtesy of MBA Architects.

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resources in a wise way and consume less. We have proceeded to acquire our LEED accreditation as well as Build-it-Green.” Keeping his clients’ vision at the forefront of his design approach is what sets Bamburg apart from other firms in California, and even nationally. Rather than push a certain aesthetic on his clients, Bamburg emphasizes the importance of listening to his clients and creating a residence or building that fits the clients’ needs and aesthetic taste, rather than his own. Bamburg steers away from “faddish architecture” as he calls it; instead his team focuses on creating architecture that is timeless, while suiting the needs of the client and the community. A fan of modern and contemporary aesthetics, Bamburg says that whenever possible, he will encourage clients to take a more modern approach to design. While Bamburg has steered clear of indulging industry design trends in his work, there are two “trends” that Bamburg has embraced over the years: technology and sustainability. “When I graduated we didn’t worry much about energy conservation and sustainable design,” Bamburg said. “It wasn’t that we didn’t understand

these things but they weren’t emphasized as they are now. There have been a lot of new techniques that have come forward because of the sustainable push and the construction industry has been able to codify it.” Since graduating in 1958, part of Bamburg’s design approach still consists of paper and pencil sketches, something Bamburg says is important to the creativity of the design and outcome of the project. Even with his “old school” approach to design, Bamburg’s firm is completely computerized. Bamburg and his team recently completed the Japanese-American Museum located in California’s largest Japantown, which combines forwardthinking design with a traditional Japanese look. Replicating the style of a Japanese farmhouse, the museum’s design aims to tell the story of the Japanese internment during World War II. Bamburg said he was “honored” to lead the project and embraced a Japanese aesthetic in his design wherever he could – low roof structure, white stucco, dark wood trim, circular windows and columns. The museum’s design provides for a flexible photovoltaic film to be adhered to the south facing metal roofing. The solar power augmenta-

tuckercon.com As a full-service general contractor with a diverse portfolio and over three decades of experience, Tucker Construction, Inc. is a go-to builder throughout the greater South Bay Area and the Silicon Valley region. With respected owner and president Mark Tucker at the helm, the construction firm has grown at a pace of nearly 20 percent annually and shows no signs of stopping. In honing their talents and broadening their range across a variety of sectors, Tucker Construction, Inc. has a heavy hand in commercial and residential construction as well as restaurants, focusing on independent operations as opposed to large corporate chains. Additionally, the company has built lasting relationships through municipal clients and contracts, all alongside many public works programs. Tucker Construction, Inc. contracts with many municipalities in the region, including the Mineta San Jose International Airport and the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant. The company also maintains the best of relationships with local property management and development companies such as Stegner Development, Imwalle Properties and DuckettWilson Development. Tucker has also built a large reputation within the local arts community. Tucker has completed detailed fine arts installations such as the cyber cafe in the San Jose Museum of Art for the ZeroOne Festival and the children’s playground made of recycled tree parts at the San Jose Seven Trees Library and Community Center. Throughout their more than 30 years of experience, Tucker Construction, Inc. has sustained their legacy, largely through word-ofmouth marketing. Their insistence on customer satisfaction, high-quality products and a stable, secure workplace contribute to the company’s defining elements.

tion helps to lessen both the museum’s electric bill and reduce carbon emissions resulting from commercial power generation. Bamburg credits the success of his firm to the simple principles of client relations, solid architecture and repeat business; but, also said the last five decades have been a learning experience. “There’s a lot of hype in architecture and it’s something I’m not very good at and I don’t believe in getting good at it,” Bamburg said. “We provide a good solid service, good architecture, solid documents and a very good value to our clients and that’s basically our goal.” ALT September/October 2011 147


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