The give-and-take is the important part. Some clients don’t understand that the first number is just that — a first number. Much can be done to tailor and adjust the project to the budget, or re-evaluate the budget so the project makes sense. Again, this focuses on the education aspect of what the architect brings to the table. It is also dependent on having a team of contractors that also is willing to work through the iterative process, not only expect a single set of pricing drawings, but rather approaching the process with a “What if and why not?” attitude to achieve the client’s goals, and have a good time as well.
How healthy is residential architecture? Is there enough creativity? Too much?
The houses that populate the suburbs appear to have many gimmicks and gadgets, but often times are not suited to the needs of the occupants. It appears that there is a lot of “keeping up with the neighbors” going on, rather than really looking at better ways to accomplish many goals. Creativity, good use of materials and sustainability seem to be in the back seat to “build it quick and get on to the next project.” This concerns me.
I have renovation projects where the goals are to “fix” some of the evils found in these types of residential single-family structures. I believe this is a problem that needs to be addressed. It goes back to education of the public, clients, contractors, etc. I have seen some wonderful examples in the Southeast where sustainability is expected and is good; common-sense design is a delight. I look forward to the continued and expanded inclusion of the ideas for design, material use and conservation in which architects have the ability to excel at providing complete services.
How has your career advanced to this point?
I have a bachelor of design and post baccalaureate bachelor of building construction from the University of Florida, and a masters in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. My first project was a residential renovation/addition for my car insurance agent. My mentor suggested I negotiate and design the entire project, and he’d be there as my support through the entire project. This led to a few other projects, each providing me with great experience, and opening many career doors.
What are your goals as chair of AIA SPP?
Members of the AIA Small Project Practitioners (SPP) Knowledge Community (KC) cite the collegiate atmosphere and sense of camaraderie as one of the most distinguishing aspects of membership. From a personal perspective, I know firsthand that many SPPs may also be small firms; we lack the 20 other architects down the hall to ask questions of, bounce ideas off of. SPP provides this opportunity for networking and “resourceship” that I focus on. My goal as chair in 2006 is to take the information and resources available in our national community and reinforce and support activities at the local level for the SPP. We are also engaged with a few select KCs of the AIA to cross-pollinate between interest areas.