Sunday, February 05, 2006

Narrowing the List: Two

After a whole lot of thought, a bunch of talk and a couple of meetings, we've narrowed our list of potential architects down to two.

MJ Neal is an enthusiastic, talkative and inventive soul who comes across as truly passionate. He was on our list, off our list, then back on our list again. And after talking to him and talking to others about him, I know he is a strong possibility for us.

This three-time Texas Society of Architects Design Honor Award and two-time AIA Austin citation of Honor Award winner has some exciting projects in the works.

He seems to thoroughly enjoy his job...and simply talking about architecture. Contrary to other local architects I've researched and contacted, phonecalls and emails from potential clients don't come across as a burden, but an opportunity to talk about his passions. We like that.

Rick and Cindy Black are a couple of young architects that seemed to understand our needs and aesthetic right off the bat. They are very unpretentious and personally invested in their work. They want their work to have meaning, and it shows.

When I first sent him our written program, Rick immediately responded with a simple sketch that created a whole new way of looking at our project. We like that a lot. Their work is as grounded and as unpretentious as they are.

I met with Rick and Cindy early this past Saturday morning at their East Austin studio. They let me look through some plans, eyeball a couple of models, and show them my 10 year old file of inspiring magazine photos. It was fun and exciting to think that the house project is at least at a starting place.

What really cracks me up is that, after spending literally six months researching architects, looking at their work and talking to anyone who would listen, we've narrowed it down to the two architects who were recommended by personal friends at the very start.

Just goes to show you that sometimes the answers are in your back pocket.

Until we have a better understanding of our project or find our site, I doubt we'll narrow it down to our chosen architect. The artist has to like the medium, and vice versa.


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