Is there a "style"
that architects favor?
There is no prevalent style. There are a lot of architects working who
don't know which way to go. You're not sure what to do. There isn't one
overriding line of thought. Architecture is struggling. Where do we go
with it? It's a grab bag now. You can see that schizophrenia resulting
in projects now. Overall, I think it's good there isn't one style.
Architects are trying to make statements with bigger buildings. You can
look at Boise or Seattle or Portland; they have a diversity of architecture.
They are trying to get the public interested and involved and excited
about what they do because they would like to do more of it. They are
trying to capture the public interest and grow their firms.
Is Ego important in good architecture?
You have to feel that you do it a little bit better. If you don't have
that feeling, it's hard to sit down at the table with someone and sell
them on what you are doing. You have to believe in what you do. The proof
is in the pudding in the long run. Being able to sit down at the table
and take them through the process results in a building that is accepted
by the client first of all and by the building's users too.
definitely a stereotype. You have to be confident in what you are doing
and know what you are doing but I don't think you necessarily need a huge
ego. You need the ability to stand in front of people and convince them
you are doing the best for them. If you don't have a clear idea of what
the concept is, it can quickly disintegrate.
Is there an Idaho
style that has evolved?
Mike: I don't think there is a north Idaho style. I think there
is more a mountain architecture or a style that has been generated in
other areas, Sun Valley, Vail, where heavy timber and logs and stones
are used in the design and construction of homes. When people move into
this area they want to have this feeling that they are getting back
to nature. It's natural to adopt this style they see. Around Hayden
Lake, Sandpoint, Pend Oreille -- it's heavy timber, logs, stone, high
vaulted ceilings. It's not new, however. The lodges that the railroads
used to build were built out of logs and stones in the early 1900's.
Chris: I don't
disagree with the view, but people haven't lived here that long -- in
Idaho relative to world history. A lot of things we would consider an
Idaho style, but I don't think an Idaho style has evolved yet, which is
exciting to me.
Chris: I think there
are a lot of people out there trying to figure out what that is going
to be. I think you've got a great historical basis but I don't think it's
there yet. Many cultures developed over thousands of years for very particular
reasons. You see a bit now that people are applying styles too much.
Logs are fine but I would
like to see a style evolve that is definitely of the place, definitely
of the state, of the environment but maybe there are some other considerations
with the landscape. There is a big movement with green architecture now.
What's the one
thing that an architect can bring to the table?
Architects need to get excited about a project. I don't think they can
get complacent because if you are, I don't think you are going to get
the interaction with people you need to pull off a successful project.
There's a lot of talented architects in any area, and people are going
to be drawn to architects who have a reputation or are known for high
design projects. Sometimes that might not be the kind of relationship
You have to get excited.
You are with the client for a long time. You need to stay focused and
energized. There are a lot of positives on a project, but there are a
lot of problems that can arise you need to work through. Make sure the
client understands why you are doing what you are doing.
Architecture is word
of mouth, and if you have a client who is unhappy with what you have done,
people will hear about it. A successful project is the best advertising.
On a day to day basis you have to be happy you are in the profession.
it been like working with your dad?
has been a good experience. I was always sure I was going to be an architect.
Maybe it was inevitable. We definitely look at things from a different
perspective. But we have actually been able to educate each other. I've
learned a lot from his experience, and I've been able to provide different
ways of looking at things.
reality of our relationship is that for a number of years I was the owner
of a large firm. The day to day marketing activities I had to take care
of kept me off the boards, and I was less and less involved in projects
from start to finish. In this operation, Chris is younger, more focused
on design and brings a fresh way of looking at architecture. That has
an impact on our projects. Being able to provide a fresh way to provide
architecture to our clients adds to it.
been able to do some exciting projects. Because of the desire to try to
do something special, we've been able to do some good work.
of our more recent challenges was doing this new school in Wallace. Their
entire downtown area was an historic district, and the patrons wanted
the school to be a reflection of some of the detailing of the early 1900
buildings. The building that has been designed, you can see some of the
detailing even though we had a modest budget to work with.
can architects do in a city like Coeur d'Alene, where you live?
Chris: I think
architects are going to have to step forward and start to present some
of the knowledge we have about how to plan communities, organize cities
and growth so things don't get out of control because of all these resources
we have and great settings we have. The worst thing is for architects
in a community not to help guide how these communities are going to grow
-- because they are going to grow. I think there is a real danger of losing
the reasons people live here or why people are moving here. Beyond designing
buildings I see that as almost a new role.
need to be involved in the communities they are in. Being active in the
Rotary Club, being on the design and planning committee or whatever it
is, they need to be a resource a community can look to. I've been involved
in the whole revitalization of downtown Coeur d'Alene. We are also instrumental
in working on the Centennial trail. This office is involved with seven
different building owners in downtown. It is going to have an impact.
We are going to see some real excitement in downtown Coeur d'Alene. We
are starting to see a real diverse group moving into downtown. Coeur d'Alene
is in a transition.