Year in Review

By January 5, 2012Building Our Practice

As we’re gearing up for 2012 and making plans, we can’t help but look back at the past year, reflect, and note a few milestones:

1.  The year 2011 marked a time of working with existing space: every project completed during the past year was either a renovation or addition to an existing building or house. This may be a commentary on the recession and financing crunch of 2009-2010 where existing building projects had more luck finding financing than new construction. Or it may have just been the chance we had to work in some of Salt Lake’s more interesting historic neighborhoods and old buildings.

On Edison Avenue,  one of downtown Salt Lake’s re-emerging mid-block streets, we had fun working on the adaptive reuse of an old warehouse space for the wildly creative Super Top Secret, an interactive ad agency based here in Salt Lake City.  It’s not every office renovation program that includes a skateboard ramp and elevated work lounge…

In December we wrapped up work on the Keyser Building, a warehouse building in the Granary district that is the new home for a dynamic growing business relocating to Salt Lake City, the US Translation Company. The 24,000 s.f. three-story building is both a historic renovation and a sustainable re-use of an existing concrete frame and brick structure.  I noted in an article published last fall on USGBC’s website: “Truly the greenest building is one that has already been built…. This building has a great history and we can return it to its original roots while adding all the amenities of a modern office space without the impact of constructing a whole new structure.”

2. Lloyd Architects headed to Seattle for its first ever full office retreat in April. For the Lloyd Architect team, this was more than a chance to see some buildings and catch a Mariners game. Aaron, Justin and Tom each selected a notable building type which we sketched, photographed or analyzed, (and we did spend a chilly evening at Safeco field).We also had a great visit with Bob Hull and David Miller at the office of Miller/Hull, where I worked while attending graduate school at the UW (now over 20 years ago). Their sustained passion for the power of architecture to communicate ideas and seeing the consistency of the tectonic quality of their work were inspiring. I was also reminded by Bob about their practice of more than 30 years of weekly scheduled design reviews within their office. I recommitted to  make that happen at Lloyd Architects.

I also re-connected with my friend and mentor Tom Bosworth, who continues to guide the architecture studio Bosworth Hoedemaker, and remains a steady influence in the design dialog of residential architecture in the Pacific Northwest.

We did have our own design charette for a high bank waterfront patio  with our hosts out at Richmond Beach. Many thanks to Rick & Julie Stevenson!

3. In May we headed to New Orleans and the National AIA Convention, where we reconnected with friends and colleagues of CRAN, the Custom Residential Architects Network, comparing notes on emerging practices of building information modelling (BIM) and design build practices…

and where Jennie & I logged a number of miles walking the city, noting neighborhood patterns and streetscapes of the Garden District. In December we were in Phoenix at Reinvention, Residential Architect Magazine’s annual conference. Visting and discussing design ideas with the best practicing residential architects was an encouraging reminder that the distressed US housing market remains a poignant backdrop for some very interesting design transformations taking place in cities and neighborhoods throughout the West and beyond.

Reviewing the extent and diversity of our experiences and projects as well as looking at what we have “on the boards” are cause enough for me to keep, if not starry eyed optimism, at least a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to be an architect and work with great clients, bright young architects in training, and contribute in some way to the quality of the built environment of the Wasatch Front and beyond.