Like most Architects I started with the dream of designing and drawing at a young age, in my case 8.
1987 BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
I then worked for three architectural firms whose work was exclusively commercial and industrial. In this role, the customer relied on the Architect to design and prepare very detailed construction drawings and specifications of their project; then review contractor submittals and observe contractor’s work for conformance with the detailed drawings and specifications. Projects included schools, additions to and new office buildings, a nationally registered historic building renovation, recreational center, retail buildings, auto dealership, banks, industrial buildings and a small satellite jail. The experience included bringing artful design from concept to completion while gaining technical confidence with a great variety of building materials and methods. While with the last of these three firms, I designed a chair for my wife which was published in ‘Architecture’ magazine as the only ‘object’ designed by an Illinoisan.
1989 ALA MEMBER
1992 ILLINOIS LICENSED ARCHITECT – 001.013660
I then worked for a municipality as a building plans examiner where I learned much about commercial/industrial/multiple family building, accessibility, HVAC, energy conservation and other codes. It was not artful work, but I became proficient at the application of the spider web of codes. I also learned of a great variety of buildings and their builders, designers and owners.
I then, for the same municipality, acted as the owner’s project representative for a 2300 seat nationally registered historic theater renovation. This taught me the owner’s point of view. I worked with the architectural firm, the municipality, a private fund raising organization, a general contractor, several specialty contractors and was responsible for all of the owner direct purchase fixtures and equipment (including designing some of them) – all while keeping an eye on the purse strings.
2002 INTERNATIONAL CODE COUNCIL – CERTIFIED BUILDING OFFICIAL
After a brief return to plans examination, I went to work for a smaller architectural firm where approximately eighty percent of their customers were high end, large residences of traditional styles. Here I learned the craft of traditional design and construction methods. One of the residences I designed was over 11,000 square feet. Because of my prior experience, I was assigned essentially all of the firm’s commercial and industrial work during my time there. I was now mentoring other less experienced employees on how to translate design concepts into detailed buildable construction drawings.
2004 WISCONSIN REGISTERED ARCHITECT – 9495-005
While with this firm I began the design and construction of my own home on the site of a fallen barn with nothing remaining but two silos, a bit of crumbling stone, concrete and block foundation, and remnants of concrete slab that required removal. I was Architect, contractor, hands on builder and owner all in one. Because of my broad prior experience and the desire for artful and better ways, the design and construction is unique and not typical for residences – at least not in the United States. The residence received a national award and has appeared on national television. I now am now pursuing the restoration of the 1.2 acre rural property’s land to, in part, what it was before it was a working dairy farm.
Approximately ½ way through the construction of my rural home, I went to work for a Park District as their Capital Asset Management Program manager. The District had prior created a very extensive list of repair, replacement, and new project database that was originally to be spread over a 10 year period. This database was reviewed and modified annually to match the Capital Planning Department budget in concert with the many needs of District facilities. Much of this was a spread sheet and numbers game, but what I enjoyed was designing first then managing select projects that required the knowledge/experience of an Architect. The most gratifying was the renovation of a portion of the District’s headquarters, a 1930’s classical post office, from a TV station office/studio to a portion of relocated staff offices and its Board room. I was given opportunity to design some special custom furniture for the board room and building lobby.
As soon as the rural home was complete enough to occupy and ‘turn the heat on’ for visits on weekends, my wife and I began the renovation/adaptive reuse of a small 1930’s gasoline station and bumper repair shop into our home, office and studio. This, unlike the rural home from barn ruins, was a renovation project funded by my wife. I was able to transition from my full time employment with the Park District to part time and eventually architectural consulting basis. This allowed me to complete more hands on design and work with the freedom of only myself and wife as customer.
Staying current with what I expect will be the future of building design in the next decade or two, I chose to become a Certified Passive House Consultant. Passive House is an energy framework that results in the lowest building energy demand of any standard on Earth. Following this standard not only results in immediate and permanent operating cost reduction, it results the most comfortable and durable buildings. With tens of thousands of Passive House buildings throughout the world, it has been proven the reduced operating cost through permanent energy demand minimization, provides the lowest lifetime cost of ownership. I believe it is the norm of the future.
2011 PASSIVE HOUSE INSTITUTE US – CERTIFIED PASSIVE HOUSE CONSULTANT #1303
Since 2006 I have been a sole proprietor Architect combining architecture for custom residential and small commercial building projects with furniture design and commercial/building code consultation for colleagues and building owners. My experience is broad and from many perspectives. Combining all that experience into artful, purposeful and technically ‘better’ buildings and furniture is what I offer my customers.