Green concepts drive Sky

Modern architecture is about more than creating contemporary designs, Sky Modern President Doug Hildinger says. It is about embracing everything associated with the modern lifestyle and incorporating it into the design of the home. The company embraces everything modern, and has found success creating single-family homes, retail and hospitality projects designed to fit this lifestyle.


Based in Dallas, the company was founded in 2005 by Hildinger, a modernist architect by trade, and Matt Holley, a real estate developer. The two realized there were few builders creating high-end, modern spec homes in the area and decided to fill the gap in the market by putting their skills to good use.

At the time, Holley was developing the Kessler Woods community in Dallas. The community was designed to feature contemporary homes similar to the work Hildinger was designing. "We came together and realized the strengths we would be able to offer if we performed architecture and homebuilding under one roof," Hildinger says.

The team's first venture together was to design and build a home in Kessler Woods. "It was a very well-done project, and we started to understand the benefits of working together on these types of projects," Hildinger explains. "We are combining not just standard builder'sarchitecture, but high-quality, award-winning architecture, along with a construction firm that specializes in the modern niche. There isno other builder in the area that can offer those capabilities in-house."

Today, Sky Modern is still active in the Kessler Woods development, where it is constructing not only single-family homes, but also town homes, garden homes and stacked loft buildings. All units are designed and constructed by Sky Modern. Several homes are custom-built, but many others are spec homes. "Our spec homes are usually sold by thetime construction is about halfway finished," Hildinger notes.

One of Sky Modern's primary goals as a corporation is to create homes with a "strong connection to nature," he asserts. "We look for properties with many trees or natural amenities such as scenic views and creeks. These are not cookie-cutter plans that we pull out of a box; every house is developed for its own particular site."

Its designs emphasize open floor plans, floor-to-ceiling glass andextended porches and terraces. Its homes are efficiently designed toprovide the illusion of more square footage.

"The trend lately has been for homes with less square footage, butmore open space," Hildinger says.

The company also incorporates sustainable design in all its projects by using the land and natural resources to its advantage. "We lay out homes according to true north/south/east/west access," Hildinger says. "The sunrise side of the home is different from the sunset sideof it. We're very attuned to the environment."

Green strategies are at the forefront of every design. Although itimplements the typical green techniques such as low-VOC paint, foam insulation and sealed concrete floors, it takes sustainable design a step further to the final layout of the home.

The company is also building single-family homes in Dallas' Montgomery Farm community. The groundbreaking community is designed to be entirely energy-efficient and sustainable. The farm seeks to preserve its natural resources, and Sky Modern's homes will contribute to these goals.

It will build eight high-end single-family homes at price points starting at $1 million. However, it has been enlisted to construct 18 to 24 additional homes at less expensive price points on Montgomery Farm.

This 3,000-acre estate includes both residential and retail elements, and also maintains a substantial amount of open space. "The development has won [many] national awards for urban planning and sustainable thinking," Hildinger asserts.

Overcoming Obstacles

Its portfolio of unique projects attracts talented employees.

"Even though it might sometimes be difficult to find good people, we're providing such a unique product that builders and non-builders alike are interested in us," he explains.

The company employs a staff of eight architects, and is never in short supply of potential candidates.

"If you're an architect just coming out of a good school, modern architecture always seems to attract young, talented people," Hildinger notes.

Working with a talented and skilled staff is especially important in modern architecture, where drawings must be highly detailed. Thereis much less room for error in modernist drawings, due to the uniquecomplexities of each project. "Because of that, it's often more difficult to build on the construction side," he says. "We have to have good project managers who can understand complicated structural and architectural drawings."

Hildinger predicts modern architecture is the wave of the future. With the rise of green building in recent years, modern designs will become even more prevalent. "Modern design is directly associated with green concepts, and will keep growing in the future."


Headquarters: Dallas

Employees: 18

Services: Architecture, interior design and construction

Doug Hildinger, president: "We are a modern development/construction company driven by architecture and style."