Not too long ago, an acquaintance stopped by the office to say hello. We chatted for a bit and when he asked how our workload was, we explained that it couldn’t be better and that we’ve got some exceptional jobs in the hopper. In talking shop, he mentioned the names of some very exclusive architects here in town doing extremely high-end work. We nodded politely and wrapped up the conversation (as we’ve got work to do). And then he said the strangest thing. On his way out the door he exclaimed “keep up the good work and you’ll be doing that high-end stuff someday too!”
The door shut and we all glanced at each other with that what-just-happened look and simultaneously murmured “we really hope not”.
It’s always struck us as odd that the typical path of most architects involves doing work that is increasingly more expensive and precious. There’s a disturbing expectation around architecture that the further along the professional trajectory a firm gets, the more exclusive their work should become. The fact of the matter is that it’s simply not the road we’re on; we’re blazing a different trail.
Until that moment, we hadn’t really expressed this in our office culture but felt that it was worth intentionally doing so; we truly enjoy designing and building real places for real people to live and work in. Working on architecture that is necessary and integral to the society functioning around us is important; it inspires us. We’re not excited by the endeavor of creating residential museums for society’s elite. And that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with doing so, it’s just not what gets us out of bed each morning excited to do what we do. We’re much more engaged in making simple and clean modernism for folks in our various communities who are in a similar place in life as ourselves.
Our projects typically cost between $175 and $225 per square foot, not $1000 per square foot; and we like it that way. It’s not our goal to work up to the “high-end” or exclusive work; we’re already doing exactly what we’ve been trained to do. We’re doing what we want to be doing.
To us, doing inspiring, modern work that provides high value is one of the main ingredients of a successful project. It’s not the cheapest work out there, but it’s nowhere near the most expensive. Our simple assertion is that we need to provide our client’s with top value while creating modern architecture, and this makes sense for people who live (and work) and have both feet on the ground. It brings pleasure and offers new opportunities to people who are concerned with good design. And this is precisely where we like to operate. This “middleground” is satisfying, meaningful and useful. And we’re planning on staying right here.
Cheers from team BUILD.