Thad Reeves

The Bley Sleeping House in San Marcos. Photo: Craig Kuhner

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here).

Thad Reeves, AIA, is a co-founder of A.GRUPPO Architects, an office positioned as a vehicle for collaboration between themselves and other designers, architects, fabricators, and most importantly, clients.

He received his Masters of Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997. During this time, he studied in Spain and traveled widely in Europe. His interest in the influence of historic European architecture on contemporary design has led him on numerous architectural pilgrimages throughout Western and Central Europe, Australia, and the U.S.

Thad Reeves, AIA

Thad Reeves

After graduating, Reeves began his career with RTKL Associates in Dallas, where he was part of both local and international award-winning projects. He later worked with Oglesby Greene Architects, where he honed his skills on well-crafted, smaller-scale projects.

In 2003, Reeves went entrepreneurial, helping to form the offices of Thomas Krahenbuhl and Truett Roberts Architects, continuing to work on commercial and residential projects at all phases of the design process.

It was in 2005 that Reeves began teaching at his alma mater, UT Arlington, where he taught for ten years (he is currently taking a break, as his business has really taken off). This was also when he co-founded A. GRUPPO.

CandysDirt: You have an interest in the influence of European architecture on contemporary design. How do you see that happening—or not—in Dallas?

Thad Reeves: My interest in European architecture, both historic and contemporary, has to do more with ideas and where they come from. In Europe, they’ve been dealing with buildings in the urban context for far longer than we have. I think there is a lot to learn from how the Europeans approach issues of density, transportation, and public space.

I’ve realized that I’m not as excited about a lot of new buildings. Many are very nicely done, but lack something that I haven’t quit identified yet. A few years ago in New York, I realized there were a lot more things to learn from how someone (probably not an architect) resolved a gate or connection between two buildings rather pragmatically than something considered “high design.” Ideas are all around us, so it’s fun to catalog those and see where they will pop up in our work.

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Robert Raymond

Photo: Michael Palumbo

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here).

Robert Raymond

Robert Raymond

Robert W. Raymond, AIA, moved to Dallas in 1981 after completing his Masters in Architecture at the University of Michigan. He has never lived more than a few blocks from White Rock Lake in East Dallas, where he built his family’s home and made the transition to residential architecture in 2000.

“The house turned out great and my wife and daughters are still speaking to me,” he said.

With his firm, Raymond Design, he has built houses in neighborhoods ranging from Preston Hollow and the Peninsula, to Richardson and Southlake.

He was named Young Architect of the Year in 1989 by the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, served on the board of trustees of the Dallas Architectural Foundation from 2004 to 2006, and has served on the board of trustees of the White Rock Lake Conservancy from 2008 to present.

CandysDirt: You spent 20 years working on big buildings, like hotels and hospitals, moving into residential design in 2000 by designing and building your family house. What appeals to you about residential architecture?

Rob Raymond: There are two main reasons. First, the ability to work from beginning to end on a project, from the initial concept to final construction.

Second, and most rewarding, is working so closely with the client on projects that are near and dear to them. With corporate clients building hotels or hospitals, it’s a business transaction and commercial architecture, in a big firm, is more specialized and compartmentalized. You rarely get the chance to go from inception of idea to ribbon cutting.

With residential architecture, I’m usually working with couples and I joke that it’s part residential architecture and part marriage counseling. It’s fun to get to know people, understand them, and connect with them.

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The Legacy West development in Frisco, designed by Ross Conway and his team at Gensler. All photos and renderings: Ross Conway

The Legacy West development in Frisco, designed by Ross Conway and his team at Gensler. All photos and renderings: Ross Conway

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the last one here).

Ross Conway

Ross Conway

Ross Conway, AIA, LEED AP, is Senior Associate and Design Director in the Lifestyle Studio at Gensler’s Dallas offices, where he has worked for almost 14 years.

His portfolio includes big names like the Dallas Cowboys Headquarters (The Star) in Frisco, the Legacy West addition in Frisco, Preston Hollow Village, The Shops at Park Lane, The Gate in Frisco, The Music Factory in Irving, and the Brazos Riverfront in Waco.

One of his current tasks is the $100-million Bishop Arts redevelopment in North Oak Cliff, an enterprise he calls “a once-in-a-career project for me.”

Conway grew up in Arlington and earned a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. He and his wife recently built a house in Urban Reserve, a Lake Highlands neighborhood of 50 modern, single-family homes, designed by a select group of regionally and nationally recognized architects, including Evan Beattie, the first person we interviewed for this series. He’s also on the architectural review committee there.

CandysDirt: Where are you with the Bishop Arts redevelopment?

Ross Conway: We will finish the design in next few months, and [developer] Exxir Capital wants to start construction in August for phase one. We want to gradually grow it over a two-year process, getting it built out to let people get used to it, and to take into consideration people’s concerns.

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Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch’s E. Lake Highlands Drive home featured in next weekend’s tenth annual White Rock Home Tour. Photos of house: Eric Homes

In our ongoing series, Interview with an Architect, we speak with leading voices in the North Texas architecture community and learn about their work, development issues in our community, and good design practices and principals (you can read the first one here and the second one here).

Cliff Welch

Photo: Cliff Welch

Cliff Welch, AIA, is a Dallas-based architect who champions modern architecture and designs with inspiration drawn from modern architecture of the last century.

His background includes working with the late Dallas modernist Bud Oglesby, later becoming a principal at Design International before starting his own firm, Welch Architecture, in January 2000.

One of his designs, located on East Lake Highlands Drive, is featured on the 10th annual White Rock Home Tour April 25-26. When the tour started in 2005, it showcased midcentury modern homes in the White Rock area; it has now expanded to include new construction, as well.

Welch earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington. His work has received multiple Merit and Citation Awards from the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as well as their coveted Young Architect of the Year award. He has also earned honors from Preservation Dallas, the Texas Society of Architects, D Home magazine, and the AIA.

Welch is the past president of the Dallas Architectural Foundation and taught graduate-level architecture classes at UT Arlington. He is a past executive board member of the Dallas Chapter AIA, also serving two years as their Commissioner of Design, and has chaired multiple chapter events, including various home tours. He also served as a design awards juror for other chapters around the state.

Welch’s White Rock Home Tour house’s elegant simplicity and open spaces incorporate modern design to create an exception environment.

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Two families in my neighborhood, Casa View Haven, recently announced that they’d be selling their modest post war-traditional homes and heading for the ‘burbs. Sure, that’s an option, but sometimes families choose to invest in an addition to accommodate growing families rather than packing up and moving.

Of course, there are pros and cons for both choices. Sometimes the investment in building onto a home isn’t recouped. And sometimes you can’t sell your existing home in time and end up carrying two mortgage payments. And sometimes, too, Homeowners Associations and deed restrictions can keep you from adding more space.

Michael Staten, a Dallas architect and senior project manager at CBRE, considered adding on to his Lake Highlands home. Instead, Staten and his family of four moved to Richardson. Why?

“The price per square foot ended up being more than we thought the neighborhood supported,” Staten said, adding that he and his wife realized the size of the yard, which was petite for a family with two active children, “was not something that we could fix.”

Of course, adding on to a home presents other unique challenges, Staten said. Temporary housing is one. While some families choose to live in a construction zone, others decide to find short-term digs.

“This was also a problem for us since we would have been displaced for 3 months or more,” State said. “This added a significant dollar amount to the project.”

Budgets will also dictate other issues, such as size and finish-out, Staten offered, but will you be able to sell your home after you finish the remodel? “It is easy to create your dream house and then realize no one else will buy it,” he said.

Thinking of building an addition, Staten offered homeowners these tips to make sure they don’t make a big mistake:

1. Hire an architect.  There are too many contractors who offer design services who are only recreating the last project and not helping you to create what you want.

2. Try to reign in emotions.  Remodels become like children and homeowners will make emotional decisions and not think of about the long-term impact of the decisions.  That could be layout, cost, or resale.

3. Stay away from trendy.  Think about the home and how you will need it in the future, not just today.  Ask the hard questions now. In 15 years will I be able to use the 2nd floor? How long will my kids be able to share a room? How long until I want my kids far away from me and not in the next room? Etc.

Do you agree? What are some other tips homeowners should consider before building an addition?