Architectural Customization


I recently visited the Barrett Jackson Automobile Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona to witness the old vs. new, the factory vs. custom, the ordinary vs. unique, items costing a few dollars to ones that will empty your wallet.  Its all about DESIGN.

1920's Ford Model A (barn find)

1920′s Ford Model A (barn find)

Just like architecture, historic vs. new, tract vs. custom, ordinary vs. unique, one can really gain an appreciation and inspiration from other forms of design.  For some, design may come from fashion, looking at silhouettes, fabrics, colors and textures of clothing on a supermodel.

Others may get inspiration from nature, looking at the forms of plants or animals or shapes of minerals formed by thousands of years of pressure.  For others, it’s the fashion of the automobile with its silhouettes, materials, colors and textures of a supercar.

As an architect, I am not customizing something on 4 wheels, but sitting on a concrete foundation.  Just like a car with a destination in mind, sometimes with a focus of Horse Power or driving in style from point A to point B, architecture serves a purpose for creating a space to get work done in a quick and efficient manner or to live in luxury or style.  And just like a car, buildings do need restoration, from structural frame up restoration or rotisserie restorations.  Say that really fast about 10 times and you can be an auctioneer at the Barrett Jackson.

Space prior to restoration

Space prior to restoration

Space after restoration

Space after restoration

As an architect and working on tenant improvements, I feel like the early coach builders from the 1900′s or the custom car designers of today.  The idea of taking an old building designed for a particular past use, cutting and chopping, moving elements, creating new spaces, changing finishes, selecting fabrics for the furniture is all part of the customization of architecture.  It takes a bit of time and imagination to transform something from old to mimic designs of the past or create new concepts.

Space before tenant improvement

Space before tenant improvement

Space after restoration

Space after restoration

All you need is an architect who specializes in customization of the built environment.  One who understands and cares about the users and visitors, how they plan to use the space and the setting in which they want to work.  One who looks in the past and towards the future.  So the next time you are looking to design something new and exciting or retain something of old, look for ways to get inspired.

Jeff Serbin

Jeff Serbin

Jeff Serbin is Vice President of Serbin Studio. His responsibilities include architectural design and project management. He coordinates the work of consultants and design team members, and is involved in design from concept through construction.

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