Boush Street Offices

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Painting the Town Green

We are beginning to paint the town green. Okay, not literally but figuratively we have been getting more and more interest by our clients to pursue LEED recognition in some of our small projects. The term "GREEN" has been used so abundant lately and I mean that in a bad way.  Everyone is trying to get in on the economic-environmental-recycling-earth day bandwagon that it is getting obnoxious. More and more vendors are sharing their "new" line of green products with us during product demonstrations. We have heard people going and getting their accreditation for LEED.  Marketing people, sales people, realtors and so forth just to add some letters behind their name and using every opportunity to add some money to their pocket. 

band·wag·on/ˈbandˌwagən/Noun1. A wagon used for carrying a band in a parade or procession.
2. A particular activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable or popular.

Now don't get me wrong.  I think that this new found interest in environmentally responsible design has created a renewed interest in creating just good plain old fashion well designed buildings. A fact and process that has been forgotten by many architects and developers over the last 50 years. We used to consider how the building was placed on the site, where the windows were, overhangs on the windows, plantings around the building, watershed, insulating materials...natural ones, and so much more.  Over the last 50 years our involvement in much of our architecture by many of us (self included) has been pushed into....."how cheap can we build it". Now, the developers would never use the word cheap when retelling this story to whom ever they are selling or leasing the structures.  It is always a top quality product. Yep, top-quality product built by the lowest bid with multiple product substitutions along the construction process designed by "I-cant-go-any-lower-on-my-fees-and-still-feed-my-family-architects". We have all had to do what we needed to do to make a living. And we all will continue to do it. Nothing wrong with providing for our families.

Sorry, I think I got on my soap box a little bit there.


1. A box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker.
2. A thing that provides an opportunity for someone to air their views publicly.

What I am talking about is all of us continuing to use good sound design principles in our architecture. We don't have to be building government meccas or financial moguls institutions to incorporate these ideas.  Let's face it, most of us architects just try to design and build great looking, efficient functioning and affordable everyday architecture from retail shops, restaurants, office buildings, medical facilities, churches etc. We just want to build our designs. Howard Roark said it best in the Ann Rand novel Fountainhead, "I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build!" We love our architecture.  We love our profession.

So fellow architects, let us build our modest little structures and do it with pride.  LEED or not, we can and should build a better box. Our first LEED project has gotten underway.  It is a small retail structure of 9000 square feet with three tenants.  We are only seeking a Certified level but it will be the first Retail structure in the Tidewater area to have achieved this claim. Four Square Retail has taken some time to get to the table but we look forward to its progress in the upcoming months.

Another client has approached us with the possibility of converting an existing restaurant into retail/office space incorporating an additional 9000 square feet to its already 6000 square feet.  I cannot disclose the location or client at the time of this blog posting due to a confidentiality agreement but it appears promising that we can also make a strong case for this one to achieve the same LEED Certified level.  We will keep you posted as progress continues.

We have recently completed the construction documentation for a new office building located near towncenter for Phillip Russo.  The 9500 square foot structure will house his new 3000 square practice in one end while the remainder is open for lease.  While the structure isn't LEED, we took every opportunity to use some sound design principles within the design.  Tall windows along light to filter deep into the space, reflecting sunscreens along the 'bounce' of that light, reclaimed barn wood, indirect lighting, etc.  We believe that if built as designed, the city of Virginia Beach will have another award winning structure to it's towncenter neighborhood.

In addition to these projects, we have recently be awarded the new Virginia Beach Autoplex and Elite Motors headquarters to also have a few of the same characteristics. The beginning steps are just now being taken to see where the design will take us.

These and several others are on the board for recognition as we continue to educate our clients in the sound principles and value of good architecture.  Doesn't have to be expensive to be good. Doesn't have to be LEED to be efficient. Doesn't have to be for for the elite.  It can be for the everyday developer as well. All clients deserve good architecture.

Okay, so I guess I am on the bandwagon as well as my soapbox. Maybe we can reclaim the wood from both and construct a building from them? lol. We look forward to seeing the progress of these small rewarding projects as well as others.  Let Ionic DeZign Studios help you find a solution to your development.

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