We are falling into the same abyss

We are falling into the same abyss this industry fell into in 2009 and 2010. Laborers are taking on jobs out of fear. Architects aren’t saying “no” and instead are agreeing to any project that comes across their desk. Developers are building too many of what they think is necessary and not what is necessary.

Step back, please … Remember that saying no and focusing on doing a good job rather than increasing productivity and earnings ultimately … increases productivity and earnings. Quality is king and, in the end, doing a good job for the right price on schedule is remembered years from now. Taking the money now and running without quality gets forgotten and ends up looking for another career.

A Reflective Nature

In the Jewish religion, it is the New Year.  Based on the Gregorian calendar, the year starts over around this time, providing Jews (and anyone else for that matter) to reflect over the last year or even one’s entire life, and to think about that past, but also look to the future.

It has been almost two years since I wrote my last blog post, so here we are, starting new.  Architecture, by nature, is repetitive, cyclical, even sometimes dictated. Rarely does an architect have the opportunity to design something totally fresh and new. Rather, architects are reflective. We reinvent forms and styles and proportion, already given to us by history or nature into new ideas, reflecting our concepts, our design or our aesthetic desires.

Look around, and notice the reflective nature of buildings, not literally, but notice how the built environment reflects on forms or shapes or materials, often created within the architectural designs surrounding us.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Restaurant Design in Vacation Areas

When designing a restaurant in areas where tourists vacation, consider the following ideas:

  • Tourists like to buy stuff. Design retail for display between 2’-5’ above the floor.
  • Tourists are typically families, so flexibility for large parties and the ability to put multiple tables together is important.
  • When booths are back to back, extend the back a little higher to keep those rambunctious kids from bothering the adjacent table.
  • Maintenance-free washable fabric is a must.
  • Locals like familiarity, especially when they are surrounded by tourists. Use local materials and if a renovation, relate the design back to its original in a new, fresher way.
  • Maximize the location, which is exactly why both tourists and locals visit. If on the beach, make sure the water is always visible when dining. On a mountain, use lots of glass.

There’s nothing like eating in a great restaurant with great food in a great location. What makes it truly special is a great interior and atmosphere.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Sandbar Restaurant, Anna Maria, FL – A Schimberg Group renovation

Top 10 must-haves for a remodeled grocery store

  1. A good refrigeration engineer with grocery store experience
  2. A good MEP engineer with grocery store experience
  3. As-builts of the existing conditions
  4. A good concrete saw with expensive diamond blades
  5. Preparation for lighting replacement throughout
  6. A good stainless steel vendor for hiding those things you just can’t fix
  7. A contractor that understands how to work during open hours and/or after hours
  8. A good equipment buyer to make sure new cases or fixtures are delivered on time
  9. A creative architect
  10. Patient customers

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Top 10 must-haves for a newly-designed grocery store

1)   Consistent bulbs throughout to minimize maintenance issues

2)   Proper lighting over specific foods such as meat, seafood, produce, etc.

3)   Smooth flooring on the sales floor

4)   MMA or Epoxy in the back of house

5)   6’-0” minimum aisle width

6)   Thoughtful location of check-out counters for easy circulation

7)   Well designed and aesthetically clean restrooms

8)   Perimeter cases with grocery in the center of the store

9)   Appealing and interesting soffit signage and décor to attract customers and create a comfortable atmosphere

10)   Easily accessible customer service desk

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Whole Foods Naples, a Schimberg Group project.

Repetition in Architecture

It always amazes me that some of the most interesting walls or ceilings or trellises are created by taking a simple shape or material and repeating it over and over again.  Ultimately, the end result reinvents the original piece in an abstract, but well defined, building element. The patterns become kinetic objects that a person experiences, both visually and often physically. The fact that a wall can be made of hundreds of single elements placed in a repetitive pattern and manipulated to create a three dimensional relationship rather than a single material used in its normal form is an amazing opportunity to take advantage of when one designs. The array of materials and opportunities can appeal to both artistic architects looking to create magazine inspired photos and residential feature walls for the average homeowner. The materials are endless and the patterns are infinite.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Is it worth hiring an architect?

“I don’t need an architect. You’re too expensive and I personally love design. Also, I’ve got a builder that says he can handle it and has a draftsman he uses. It’s included in his price.”

News flash: 1. You get what you pay for. 2. Builders build. Architects design. 3. Architects have degrees in architecture, laboriously sweated through years of schooling and do this for a living. And 4. You’re still paying for something, whether upfront or during construction.

So is it worth hiring an architect? If you answer yes to any of the following, then yes, it is worth hiring an architect.

  • Do you want exactly what you want without compromise?
  • Do you prefer a design that is true to the chosen aesthetic, proportionate and to scale?
  • Do you prefer a modern or contemporary design?
  • Do you prefer a level of quality, design and attention to detail that is above average?

Don’t let our fees scare you. The value of our talent well outweighs the cost and if we are hired throughout construction, we will save you money by minimizing change orders and representing you, the owner. Let builders do what they are good at, building. Let us do what we are good at, designing.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Ben Parker Had It Right

Some people use the word “green.” Some professionals use the word sustainable. We find a more appropriate approach to architecture and interiors is about responsibility. Last time I checked, green is just a color. Sustainability pertains to the future. But responsibility … represents the here and now and most importantly, requires the architect to take ownership of decisions made for our environment, our lifestyles, our buildings and the spaces we occupy.

Responsibility is thinking about site orientation for maximizing sunlight and passive cooling.

Responsibility is selecting materials that can be easily maintained and possibly recycled.

Responsibility is working within a budget and communicating on a regular basis to keep the project moving forward efficiently. (See … it’s not just about design.)

It is an architect’s responsibility to design projects in the best interest of their client’s wallet, their client’s schedule and the environment that we live in. As Spider-Man’s uncle said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” The power to shape the built environment warrants an architect’s great responsibility to do it properly.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP


Large Bodies of Water

When flying over large bodies of water, I can’t help myself to just find that school of sharks or whales or anything swimming in the water. It’s about connection, grounding and familiarity. Flying over water in every direction creates a feeling of endlessness. We can relate to earth and ground or buildings, because we can walk on them. We want and need to place our feet on something solid. It is human nature to feel more comfortable flying over mountains or fields or cities. We need buildings and land and rivers and ball fields to connect us back to reality. However, I have to admit that it is sometimes nice to escape and just look for Atlantis.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Housing Developments

We often talk about community. I have attended entire conferences dedicated to that word. What is a community? What makes a community? How does one navigate through a community? As I continue this series on flying, I often see these ‘communities’ set within the environment. Tracts of green or brown land and then gradually, tens, sometimes hundreds of homes, built in some pattern, interconnected by roads and all approximately the same size.The roofs are typically the same color, and from an airplane, the houses all seem white for some reason. Did the developer think about how this ‘community’ would appear from a plane? Though I personally believe communities are created at a pedestrian level, when looking down on a housing development from above, one cannot ignore the impact that all of the roofs and winding roads and spattering of pools has on the definition of community. It’s the 30,000 foot perspective of not living alone.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP