Interview with Architect David Schultz, USA
How did you get your start in the business?
From an early age I knew that architecture and design would be my life’s career. I enjoy the blending of art and business that is embodied in the creative process of designing buildings and spaces. I attended Syracuse University School of Architecture and then worked for a few firms to learn the trade, but always knew that I wanted to own my own firm. After passing the State and Federal licensure exams and feeling confident that I had the necessary experience to start my own firm I did. With one client and a small loft office in Old City, my partner Susan Davidson and I started DAS Architects and built our company one project at a time. We have become specialists in the hospitality and residential markets with over 500 projects completed to date from Rhode Island to Florida and California. We offer architecture, interior design, branding, and procurement services, and have retained a boutique firm approach so we can be more responsive to our clients.
How is green technology impacting your sector?
I think incorporating a green design approach is critical today. I am happy to say that among many clients it has become the standard. The benefits to preserving the planet go without saying, but the added benefits to a green building are lower operating costs and practical efficiencies. I am also happy to say the building industry has embraced development of green technologies by providing a large array of sustainable products and improved building systems technologies that save energy and improve interior lighting and air quality. We think the hospitality industry in particular has been a leader in promoting green design. Almost all hotels today are being built with sustainability in mind and many are LEED certified. Hotel guests appreciate sustainable design and seem more willing to patronize these properties.
What challenges, and what rewards, have you experienced with such projects?
I believe that important historic buildings should be protected and saved from demolition. In older cities in the Northeast such as Philadelphia, the historic structures that remain cannot be replaced. They provide a rich cultural window to our history and help give Philadelphia a unique charm and ambience. We have been involved in many historic renovations and adaptive re-use projects including several historic tax credit renovations. The Historic tax credit helps make historic renovations economically viable and should be utilized by more owners seeking an economic boost for their projects. Here in the Northeast, we have a tremendous inventory of older buildings suitable for renovation and adaptive re-use that could utilize this tax credit. As urban areas continue to be redeveloped, I believe the interest in re-purposing and modernizing older structures will continue to grow.
There are always challenges working with older buildings. However, they are often well built structures providing unique character that cannot be recreated today. Implementing new code requirements into older buildings is often complex; however, in some cases historic buildings are given special relief by code officials in order to save buildings from demolition.
The reward in renovating an historic structure is in giving it new life for the foreseeable future and in preserving our history. From a design point of view, I am always excited to work on historic projects where we can compliment and contrast today’s styles with those of the past.