All around us, we see giants like Apple announcing $1.7 Billion in European projects or closer to home in Arizona $2 Billion over 10 years on a Data Center in Mesa. Tesla is building a battery plant costing upwards of $4 Billion. I have to admit that I do salivate over working on a project for a client like Apple. Apple, you can call me anytime you want.
The $2 Billion dollar data center is said to have ~150 employees once in operation with many people driving by without any clue really what goes on inside. They are important facilities and do bring large amounts of revenue, but the impact on our immediate daily activities are directly minimal. I suppose they do help our computers and phones search quicker, but just like turning on a light bulb, most of us don’t fully understand how the electricity comes from power station to that bulb.
I have worked on projects costing many millions of $ with large multi-billion dollar companies, so I know the drill. The projects within these large facilities have a factor of speed and complexity which is very exciting. Some are hush hush while others are news worthy. But working on small projects has its complexities and gratification as well. ITS LIKE PLANTING A SEED.
The large projects are like giants taking large steps, but what about those small projects which feel immaterial.
Those small projects are for some, BABY STEPS. They can influence and have huge impacts upon its users and people who pass on by.
THAT’S ONE SMALL STEP FOR A MAN
In a smaller city, building projects may not take up an entire city block or involve Billions of dollars to complete, but those projects have a big impact because metaphorically, that ocean is much smaller and the fish appear only bigger.
Working on historical downtown revitalization projects feel like BABY STEPS. For example, adding a dozen or so trees to a main street in Buckeye feels insignificant to many, but just wait until those trees mature and provide shade and beauty to downtown. We have just planted a seed.
We have just planted another seed in Buckeye, the improvement to the facade at the Carniceria Taqueria or the landscape courtyard improvements at Millstone Cafe in Downtown Buckeye. Yes these are small moves in the overall scheme of things, but think of the influences it will have on other business owners to update their properties after they see the success it has brought. The seeds are only beginning to sprout.
Sometimes we all need to take BABY STEPS to get the momentum flowing in the right direction.
On January 1, 2014 the Town of Buckeye in Western Maricopa County became a City. Over a year has come and gone and becoming a City is a big responsibility and the residences in Buckeye are stepping up to the challenge. Late last year, the City of Buckeye provided a Grant (catalyst) to assist business owners to improve its cache of buildings to attract more business.
Buckeye is open for business
We are seeing allot of excitement coming in the near future from the recently awarded projects. We are all Chomping at the bit just like first settlers who must have watched with excitement as the waters flowed down the Buckeye Canal system in 1907.
Serbin Studio’s involvement on the Buckeye Main Street Coalition, we take pride of assisting business owners in many ways. Whether it’s educating others how important it is for your business presence to communicate to the public, whether its your web presence or physical storefront, we have been working on our design muscles.
Downtown Buckeye along Monroe has a collection of historic buildings (OK they aren’t actually on the historic register), but they do have history. Buckeye wants to preserve and improve upon what stock we have. Just like a cowboy trying to stay on the horse a little bit longer, we are all working on improving how we do things.
The Carniceria Y Taqueraa Durango resides in one building in the heart of downtown Buckeye. Located a stones throw from City Hall and Buckeye Valley Chamber, a portion of it currently sits vacant. It is begging for some TLC to inspire others to occupy and utilize it. Late December 2014, a design was proposed by Serbin Studio to the City of Buckeye Council and was approved.
Serbin Studio is currently developing the design and providing the necessary details so it is a successful build.
As Mayor Meck states, Buckeye is truly open for business.
Demolition derby is once again upon us in Buckeye, Arizona. The event is this Saturday Nov 22 at 7 pm. This event has been part of Buckeye for over the past 20+ years. As the contestants are getting their vehicles ready to mash them up and put another notch in their fan belt, members of the Buckeye Rotary and Buckeye Main Street Coalition were prettying up the beer both that resides at the Helzapoppin Rodeo Arena.
Besides sitting in the sun and painting a beer booth (The ironic thing is I don’t even drink beer) for an entire day reminiscing about Ralph Macchio in the Karate Kid, what did I gain from this experience?
Community involvement is definetely a fun and awarding way to work along people in your community. Usually work meetings come and go and topics are mainly business and politics, but sharing the day with others while working on something collectively that improves your City makes you even more proud of where you live. What other City can you go to an event and Mayor Meck calls you by name.
The beer booth, an attraction for the demolition derby, known for raising College scholarship funds by the Buckeye Rotary Club by selling beer, looked like it had gone through its own derby and was in need of some TLC. Years of weathered siding was re-branded like a cow.
Did you know, the rodeo is coming back to the Helzapoppin’ Arena in January 2015 so get your irons out. We don’t want any stray cows running through downtown Buckeye, except for the Parade organized by the Buckeye Main Street Coalition on Monroe Avenue that occurs during that afternoon.
Through months of planning, working closely with the Buckye Rotary, we came up with some enhancements to make the Saloon a bit more attractive. With a reality check of budget and constructability issues, we begin our fury of work this weekend.
Beer Booth concept, now the “Saloon”
One thing we learned was that 7 gallons of paint can be your best friend, if slowly applied and well brushed. Some of us tackled the inside with new lighting and power and others tackled the outside. Thanks to a local artist, Ron Clarke, the beer booth was re-branded as a “Saloon”.
Saloon. Anyone have some horns we can mount on top? Let Lara know.
Over time we will be adding further elements to make this unique to Buckeye, Arizona. Now all of you will know where to go before and after the derby to say hello to all the Buckeye Rotarian’s serving up some nice cold ones.
After attending the event, it was an eye opener to see all that attended and to witness the activity around the Saloon. It just goes to show that clear signage is important to people know what you may be doing, which in this case was selling beer. All proceeds from this Rotary event go to a B.U.H.S. Scholarship fund. That is Buckeye Union High School Folks.
Design and construction is a lengthy process not understood by many. From my experience, the typical client wants to occupy a space faster than what is feasible. I am a realist when it comes to project schedules and typically that may not be what the client wants to hear who has an un-realistic goal. I prefer to …
This industry has many moving parts, puzzles to be solved and involves multiple people; the target ‘time’ is sometimes hard to pin down. Let me describe a typical process from 10,000 feet level.
Aerial of what City?
1) CLIENT CALLS THE ARCHITECT
No two clients, no two projects, no two buildings and no two sites are alike.
(I have had a repeat client within a repeat building with repeat city inspectors using a repeat contractor. But this is not common). Determination of time to complete a project varies.
2) ARCHITECT GATHERS A TEAM
Mechanical, Plumbing, Electrical, Structural, Civil, Interiors etc. Projects vary in building type and scale. Project schedules can be dictated by teams availability. Engineers vary in expertise. The team must be appropriate for the project. Gathering a team takes time.
Serbin Studio’s Current Office
3) EXISTING VS. NEW BUILDING
No two properties are alike. With an existing building, architects must understand what the existing conditions are and what information is available (original drawings?). Every city is unique in building codes and inspectors. When we submit drawings to the city for permitting, it is out of our control how much time is needed for a city permit review process.
4) PROPOSAL TIME
Typically with smaller and less sophisticated clients, they inquire about fees. A client is buying a service influenced by many factors, not buying a product. Teams have to be gathered based upon scope. Proposals require thought to ensure the architect has covered all services. This process takes time and it is impossible to give a quote over the phone.
5) DESIGN TIME – Let us look at a typical process at 10,000 ft level.
Phase 1 – Schematic Design
Architects are like Nancy Drew (Lara) and Shirlock Home (Jeff) to uncover all the facts. This would include time to gather information from the client, understand in-direct influences from the surrounding context, City and code constraints, the list goes on and on. The information gathered transforms into a schematic design. Good time for a cost estimate.
Phase 2 – Design Development
Once a schematic design is chosen, further development of the project includes definition of systems (structural, mechanical, electrical etc.) and building materials.
Phase 3 – Construction Documentation
Once the building systems and materials are chosen, the architect and engineers put together documents that are used for permitting and final pricing by the contractor. An architect can assist in the recommendation of a contractor. The process should take a few weeks to complete dependent on the size of the project.
Phase 4 – Construction
During construction, questions arise and the architect should be consulted. We can be your eyes to uncover un-warranted changes made by the contractor. It is common for people be stuck in their ways and build things how they have done in the past. The architect and engineer are conscious about every line, note and drawing that is on that set. A contractor should ask to deviate from the plan, not beg for mercy after the fact.
I make every attempt to follow through on promises and prefer to follow the moto ‘UNDER PROMISE, OVER DELIVER’. However the most important element is communication. No matter what field you are in, if a deadline is fast approaching and you feel that you may not be able to keep that promise, letting your client know is the best approach.
A few months ago, Serbin Studio was approached by the Buckeye Valley Historical Society with an architectural challenge. A conceptual design for the exterior of the existing ‘Buckeye Valley Museum’ so that the architecture reflects their mission, ‘To bring a better understanding and appreciation of the history and cultural significance of Buckeye Valley’.
Presentation Board Click on it for larger image
Conceptual Design of Buckeye Valley Museum
The building today lightly reflects back to the historic architecture of Buckeye Valley and through time has blended into the historic fabric in a way that the building is not apparent to the average visitor in Buckeye.
Original Museum renovation to look like Kell store
Current museum 2014 . Beige is not the new black. Consult a color specialist when you paint your building. Did I mention Lara Serbin is a color expert.
Buckeye has a long history dating back to 1885. Prior to the mid 1970’s, the main highway from Phoenix to California passed through downtown Buckeye. But just as we have seen in the ‘CARS‘ movie, the highway system was created and now by-passes historic downtown.
Since being part of a 3rd generation Arizona family and member of the Buckeye Main Street Coalition, I had a good strong foundation for understanding the Museum’s architectural significance. However with every project, further research exposed us to hidden treasures that are only talked about amongst Buckeye residents.
Some inspirations were:
Kell Store built in 1890’s
Hillbilly Hilton. If you get a chance, take a tour of this snapshot in time
Our intent was to minimally alter the interior exhibits and through the use of architectural features, contextual materials and textures enhance the exterior of the building so it clearly indicates what it is, ‘Buckeye Valley Museum’. We created a sense of arrival and a clear pathway into Buckeye’s history. The exterior is now a snapshot of the history and hidden gems within.
The museum had a re-opening on September 27, 2014 and is open Friday’s and Saturday’s from 11 am – 4 pm. The interior renovation is complete. The museum is now on a fund raising campaign to raise money and materials to complete the exterior facade upgrades. For further information, contact the Buckeye Valley Museum at 602-230-1299.
Super Bowl 2015 has created a push for restaurant design in and around Westgate City Center in Glendale, Arizona. Westgate is anchored by a 2-story AMC Theatre and University of Phoenix Stadium. We are working with J.J. Girn , an entrepreneur and franchisor of Fresh Healthy Café a new dining experience moving into the Entertainment District at Westgate. During the design phase of this project I had decided to see Malifacent the movie with my kids. To kill time we hung out in the splash pad area. As I looked to find the empty suite where Fresh was going to be located I noticed how big and bold Buffalo Wings signage was. It occurred to me that we needed to make sure the signage on Fresh was just as bright and tall.
It is important to use contrast so signage will read correctly. Look at the photo on the left above, the yellow lettering really POPS! Fresh Healthy Cafe uses bright lime green and white for their branding so the sign will be able to compete with Buffalo Wild Wings. I was against putting the signage on the gray block wall being that it would be too far back from Wings lettering. This just proves how important it is to look at your design from every angle not just as if you were standing in front of the storefront looking straight on. Or even worse never getting out to see a movie! Most people will take 6 seconds to make up their mind about the visual message of a storefront. You have to convey a positive attraction quickly or it is a design failure. Like a friendly wave saying “Come on over here, I am clean and fun inside!”
Most of the equipment to make the healthy wraps, smoothies and salads was established when we first came on board. We took the concept from Fresh Healthy Cafe and then verified clearances, finalized finishes, light fixture layout and the design of the outdoor patio eating area. We satisfied all the code requirements and worked with the building management and City of Glendale. We even helped our client select the building contractor. We spoke with the candidates past clients to ensure this build out will be complete in time for the BIG GAME!