An Interview???

20 09 2011

The creative mind is a beautiful thing, I think…The creative mind is always looking for new and different ways to accomplish the varying daily tasks of its host…My mind is no different…

Therefore, today’s blog is the product of my latest thoughts into how to make a fun and readable entry without falling back on the same old technical styles that we are all so used to seeing. Today, in my mind, I am imagining a new, glossy, trendy magazine called Starving Architect interviewing a trendy, older architect (me) about what has been going on for the last several months.

It might go something like this:

Starving Architect (SA):    So, Hue, we’ve noticed that you’ve been quite, on the social networking scene, for the last three months can you give us a little insight as to what’s been happening in the world of Hue Architecture?

Hue (Hue):    Believe it or not, We’ve been busy working on three exciting projects. The first is a project that has actually been on our books for a couple of years now, it’s the remake of a portion of the 400 block of Market Street in Downtown Wilmington; the second is the interior architecture for a new jewelry store for Carl Doubét Jewelers, in Wilmington; and the third is a conversion of a property, from a commercial country club, into a private residence.

SA:    This sounds exciting, can you give us some more information on the projects; we’ve heard a little bit about the 400 Market project so let’s start there.

Hue:    Sure. As you may recall, this was a project in which our client purchased the entire east side of the 400 block of North Market Street in downtown Wilmington. The properties were the result of a major office building development on the adjacent street which only left full buildings at the block corners book-ending 15′ deep shells and empty lots in the remainder. Our goal was to design, through restoration and new construction, boutique retail and eating venues on the first level with living spaces above.

SA:  Can you share why the project has been delayed and is just now getting underway?

Hue:  Unfortunately, it’s the same story that you may be hearing from many, that of difficulties in finding the right financing package with all of the restrictions that are now being placed on projects by most lenders. All of this was in place, at one time; but, with the ever changing financial landscape, both nationally and globally, more creative approaches had to be developed and that caused more time to be needed for implementation.

SA:    Is the project the same as was originally designed or have there been changes.

Hue:    Essentially, the project is the same, with a couple of notable differences. The most obvious is that the new, infill building in the center of the block is on hold and will be redeveloped in the future, at a smaller scale; Perhaps less obvious is the demolition and reconstruction of a couple of the shells that decomposed more rapidly during the delays; and then there are the value engineering components that were necessary in order to make the budgets work within the new financial parameters.

SA:    When can we expect to see the project completed?

Hue:    The contractors and owner expect to have the project ready for occupancy around mid-spring of 2012. Over the next several months, we will be posting progress photos on our facebook page to give everyone a chance of follow the progress and comment on the executed design.

SA:  Tell us a little bit about the jewelry store project, we’ve heard of Carl Doubét Jewelers and are curious as to what they are up to.

Hue:    Carl, Frank, and Nola Hendry came to me late last year with a plan to relocate their Greenville store into a new and exciting venue that would allow them to grow and address the ever evolving fashion changes that they were also experiencing in the jewelry business. The Greenville store has since closed, they are working in temporary quarters, and construction of the new venue is starting in earnest.

SA:    What can you tell us about the new design.

Hue:    Not much, at the moment; Carl has started ad campaign in which he reveals pieces of the puzzle as we approach the opening of the new store. I can tell you that the new store will be expanded to 4,000 square feet, will offer a warm and exciting shopping experience, and will make a statement (as Carl often does). You can go to the Carl Doubét Jewelers facebook page and glean more information. I, too, will start posting some of the images on the Hue Architecture as they become public.

SA:That sounds very exciting, keep us posted on the project progress. Now, what’s this about a conversion from country club to private residence.

Hue:    This, like the other projects, is also a fun endeavor.  my clients purchased an old, delapidated country club property in the late spring of this year with the goal of reduction, restoration, modernization, and adaptation.

SA:    Now that’s a mouthful, can you elaborate?

Hue:    Sure, over time, the club had expanded the building to keep pace with the evolving private club scene, in order to offer more to their membership; and the charming, original structure had become surrounded by ill fitting additions and modifications that watered down its architectural presence to that of a typical suburban decorated shed, it had no more character or charm. My clients wanted to remove the multitude of additions to the original structure, restore its original charming facade on the golf course, give it a modern twist on the river facade, and adapt it to their desired residential vision of hearth and home.

Unfortunately, during demolition of the additions, we continued to be plagued with too many instances of structural inadequacy or damage due to weather infiltration or just poor workmanship and maintenance. As of this interview, the entire structure has been decomposed so that we can place proper foundations and a stable structural system for the home.

SA:    Is this having a significant effect on your design?

Hue:    Of course, but most of it is very positive; while I would have preferred to restore much of the existing and play off of the original architect’s design, we now have much more flexibility in how I approach  the creation of a new home. The clients and I have had many discussions regarding where the design should go, with the flexibility that has been created with the total decomposition; but, have wholeheartedly, embraced the original idea of paying homage to the existing design while putting that modern spin that will create the fun juxtaposition that we are striving for.  The design is still a work in progress so keep an eye on the Hue Architecture facebook page for updates and images.

SA:    Wow, you certainly have been busy. Of course, we still have to ask the question that all Starving Architect readers want to know; are you making any money?

Hue:    My accountant asks that same question. The answer is a little bit; I’m not setting the world on fire but I am starting to see a little bit of cash flow that is allowing me to keep my head almost above water. More importantly, I am having fun, I am working on exactly the type of projects that I identified when we started our practice that allow me to work closely with clients and place a more personal touch without getting caught in the corporate whirlwind that consumed our profession a few years ago. It’s my hope that similar opportunities continue to evolve and we all see a resurgence in the confidence that it is going to take to get all starving architects back to work.

OK, in a creative mind, such as mine, this is how the interview might have gone. It was fun trying a new approach and I hope it creates some interest. The fact is, I am enjoying my professional life, a bit more, and do see a little brightness on the horizon; stay tuned for more insights into the professional (and sometimes personal) life of this architect.

Enjoy and share!!!

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