Design Matters: HTK Architects
TK: What architecture and architects have inspired you?
SMITH: There are so many examples of inspirational architecture that influence each and every human being that interacts with them. I consider myself an eclectic and am inspired by a very broad range of architectural styles and buildings. From the very technical and artistic, such as the Milwaukee Museum of Art Quadracci Pavilion, by Santiago Calatrava, to the very strictly ordered and formal of ancient Greek and Early Christian buildings and their influence on many historic and civic buildings and architecture in general. I also appreciate great examples of modern and post-modern architecture.
In the end, each and every building or place one experiences, shapes and influences ones subconscious understanding of sense of place and inspires, whether consciously or subconsciously.
TK: What trends are you seeing in architectural design?
SMITH: Trends are cycles of time and often influenced by what is published or advertised, and not necessarily on great merit. This cycle is inevitable considering the notion everyone is ultimately inspired by their past experiences. I believe open collaborative spaces, energy conservation, environmental awareness, daylighting and sustainable ideology are all positive trends I hope to see continue. I also feel that good Architecture avoids “trends” focusing on timeless sustainable ideology.
TK: What is topping the “must-have” list?
SMITH: Staff access to daylight and views, access to integrated working environments (physically and technological), and fresh open collaborative environments. The key is to not oversell toward “trend” and focus on sustainable, functional and flexible environments. Architects have been trying to perfect this for centuries.
TK: What are the biggest mistakes business owners make when it comes to architectural design of their business?
SMITH: Thinking they can design (and/or build) it themselves for less. This goes hand in hand with the idea of over pinching the penny. In the end, they may have saved a few dollars, but fractional in grand costs and in doing so gave up so much. Think of it like a car, many of us can maintain a car and complete small repairs, but very few can completely renovate and customize a car, nor design a new car. We simply don’t have the time to devote to it, a deep understanding of process, technical expertise, and simply the years of experience and lessons learned.
TK: Are projects incorporating “green” design?
SMITH: The default answer is yes. That is because many products and systems are simply only manufactured “green”. So at a baseline, all projects are green whether conscious or not. Going green considers the impact on the natural environment and the impact on human interaction with the building environment. It can get pretty philosophical quickly. A few easy considerations to begin your “green” project:
REUSE existing building stock. Can you renovate and existing building vs. building new?
REUSE existing building sites. Can you reuse an abandoned old building or developed site?
REUSE materials. Can you reuse and recycle materials in your existing building or from salvaged materials?
Conserve vs. making energy. You can conserve more energy, more cost effectively than you can micro-site generate energy. With that said, if you are in a business where recapturing spent energy is easily achieved, do it.
Daylight vs. artificial light when possible.
Be careful of “TRENDS”.
We benefit from a lesser impact on the environment and possibly reduced operational costs.
TK: What project really has your creative juices flowing?
SMITH: WOW…there are so many very satisfying projects it is hard to name just “a” project. However, I would be remise if I didn’t name our office, HTK Architects, at 900 S. Kansas Ave, Ste 200, and invite everyone to come check it out. It embodies the eclectic attitude I spoke of and a strong understanding of truly sustainable design. Imagine designing your own space with 18 other architects and interior designers weighing in, it was challenging at times, but also a learning experience. At the end of the day, the collaborative input that is so important from the client/user impacted the design in a very positive way.