journal

Urban Commons: Low Impact...High Design

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NIMMO has begun developing concepts for residences at Urban Commons....

From www.urbancommons.live :

At some point, you choose. How you want to be. How you want to live. How you want each moment to unfold before it slips away.
What choices feed your bottom line? A commitment to live each possible moment out of doors? A desire to own a minimal, modern home that exists in harmony with our environment? A determination to spend time enjoying experiences and people instead of things?
We know. Welcome to Urban Commons.

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Excerpt from Dallas News article NEW NORTHEAST DALLAS NEIGHBORHOOD:

And so it begins. Already people are embracing the affordable architect-designed homes with houses facing one of 10 pocket parks. It’s the dream of developer Diane Cheatham, to bring the essence of Urban Reserve to people who desire low investment property.

Read the article written by Steve Brown, Real Estate Editor for the Dallas News here

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Blankenship Residence: Treading Lightly

Woven into a dense cluster of Live Oaks; NIMMO pulled this house off the ground to reduce the impact on the existing root system.  Connection to the outdoors was the highest priority for the home owners.  Privacy was maintained with an enclosed front courtyard.

Hocker Design Group worked closely with NIMMO to integrate the landscape and architecture

A sophisticated interior palette was created by William Nash Blankenship.  

Locally renowned general contractor Steve McCombs has begun construction... stay tuned.

Selecting A General Contractor?

by Kristin Walsh

 

As architects, we are often asked by clients to refer a contractor for their project. While we are happy to recommend contractors that we have had great experiences working with, it’s important for clients to engage in the process by taking the following actions:

 

ASK TO SEE THEIR WORK IN PERSON This does two things: it gives you a chance to view the quality of their work and just as important, it indicates that the contractor is on good terms with (at least) one of their clients. 

 

COMPARE PROPOSALS When comparing proposals and contracts, make sure you’re able to do so apples to apples. Compare the scope of work included in the base fee; some contractors prefer to offer a higher, all-inclusive fee while others offer a lower base fee with additional expenses. These are both legitimate business models for a typical contractor but it can make for a challenging comparison between the fee proposals. To help streamline the process, ask your contractors to use industry standard contracts such as those published by the American Institute of Architects and carefully review what is included in each part of the bid.

 

While it may seem like a great deal, always be wary of a low bid. Value and price comparison is important, but if one contractor comes in with a bid substantially below the others it often means that they are either cutting corners with quality or that they don’t fully understand the scope of the work and will come back later to ask for additional money. Have a detailed conversation with a low-bid contractor to fully understand how and where they plan to save money.

 

Diligence in reviewing the bids and contracts is important for the owner but working with a reputable, trustworthy contractor who takes the time to discuss the scope of work and your expectations for quality and timeline is far more important. Your contractor should be available to review their bid with you and clarify any questions you may have.

 

GET REFERENCES ...and actually make those calls to the prospective contractors' clients; don't just cross your fingers!  You are going to be spending a lot of time with your contractor. You don’t just want a great value, you also need to consider factors like their personality, their other project work load and commitments, and their communication skills.  When contacting references, ask questions like:  Was the contractor able to maintain your schedule?  Were they good stewards of your money? Were there any unexpected costs? How did you primarily communicate with your contractor; email, phone, text, meetings? Would you hire them to do your next project?

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Building a home is an investment of time and money that can be stressful as well as rewarding. Putting together a team of professionals that work together to understand and achieve your goals is the first step to completing a project you are proud to call home. As your architects, we take your interests seriously and want to ensure you have the best home building experience possible. Take your time, ask questions, and let us know how we can best support you throughout the process.  

Rock Cliff Addition: A Quiet Approach

Given the challenge of adding to this significant home originally designed by Harwood K. Smith, founder of HKS, Inc., NIMMO choose to quietly tap into the corner of the existing structure with a light and airy extension.  While creating a subtle identity for the new, details such as the tapered rafters were inspired by the original.

Exposing the continuation of the roof rafters to the interior helped strengthen the outdoor connection to the interiors.

NIMMO Recieves 2016 AIA Honor for Design

The Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects honors NIMMO with 2016 Unbuilt Design Award for Hillen Residence (scheduled to break ground June of 2016).

The Hillen Residence connects the family to their natural surroundings by weaving into the landscape and graciously opening toward expansive views of native Texan flora. A site specific project the form, both in plan and volume, is driven by natural connections stitching together with the facets of the family’s daily life. The jurors commended the project’s ability to manifest a complex plan and idea into a simple gesture that allows the homeowner to experience the architecture and natural surrounding from every vantage point.

More at...

 

Contributed By Michael Frieble From AIA Dallas

Dialogue. Ideas. Opportunities.

“As public discourse in Dallas becomes increasingly vital to understanding where we are as a city, and where we want to be, AIA Dallas seeks to enable continuing dialogue on important issues between the profession and the community. As part of our charge, the evolution of the Unbuilt Design Awards into an interactive event for the community continues the AIA Dallas mission to provoke new ideas by featuring the future from the architect’s perspective.”

One year ago we posted the statement above marking a transition in the Unbuilt Design Awards program. The outcome was exciting, to say the least, with a participation that was able to reach not only the chapter, but organizations and the community at large. This year we intend to further that dialogue through an evening of discussion and celebration of the ideas that continue to provoke design further throughout Dallas and beyond.

This year’s program will be held on April 28th at 816 Montgomery in the Cedars neighborhood located in south Dallas. Projects will be featured once again in a gallery format with a presentation by the jurors as well as the announcement of the winning entries. Press and People’s Choice will also be awarded at the end of the night.

Having and Being a Mentor

by Kristin Walsh

 

When I decided to begin a contributing to this blog, my first move (if you don't count the standard move of every Millennial to first "Google" it) was to email a long time mentor and ask for advice. I hit send and within minutes my phone buzzed. I jumped to get it, assuming the answer on the other end would ease all of my anxiety. Instead of a response, it was a text from a college student that I mentor asking me for advice on a letter she was sending to a prospective employee. I paused momentarily to consider the situation and shifted seamlessly from a girl full of her own insecurities and anxieties to a woman with years of experience and an easy flow of advice. In a way, that phone call did ease my anxiety and remind me of my own value. 

Being a mentor is as important as having a mentor and the happy ground of being somewhere in the middle.

On having a mentor

I once heard someone say, "The person I am today is a reflection of all the people who have made the decision to mentor me throughout my life." This is profoundly true of us all. We are the product not only of our professional mentors but of our families, teachers, friends, coworkers, and role models. We spend our lives learning through the emulation of others and choosing to focus on developing the traits we value in those people. And when it comes to our careers, it's important to keep that diversity in your mentor mix. You never know where the best advice and inspiration will come from. 

Having professional mentors throughout my career has had some quantifiable benefits. I can list the times my colleagues from firms I interned at have given me advice on everything from finding the right jobs to apply for to negotiating raises and finding my work/life balance. They have made calls on my behalf to introduce me to industry leaders, they have reviewed my portfolios and resumes, they have recommended books/blogs/speakers and other events to help continue my growth and education, they have invited me to networking events across the state, and they have graciously acted as my references each time I apply for a new position. All of that has been career making but what my mentors have done for me goes much deeper than professional advice and references. Less quantifiable but of much more value, their support and genuine interest in my growth has instilled in me a confidence that I would have spent most of my life trying to find on my own.

Choosing to transition to Nimmo wasn’t a difficult decision for me. When Josh and I first discussed the possibility of my joining the firm, he laid out the things that I had at my current corporate job that a boutique firm couldn’t offer: high tech office, a company softball team, water cooler talk, etc. He then told me what he could offer was mentorship. For me, career satisfaction isn’t based on the office or the short-term benefits. I place value in the opportunities that I have to grow in my position and pursue my passions. That is exactly what I have at Nimmo, an opportunity to learn not only about design but also about running a firm, marketing, client relationship, and so much more. While learning all of this, I also have the chance to influence the development of the firm and take on a leadership role far sooner than I would have at a large firm. Getting into a great design firm when it’s still small gives you a real chance to grow in your firm and having someone there who is excited about taking you on as their mentee is priceless.  When someone offers to go all in on me, I go all in on them and that makes the difference between a job and a career.   

On being a mentor

The reasons I love architecture transcend my own firm. My passions for sustainable design, urban development, and the effect of our built environment on our culture are values that I want to continue to explore with my mentors as well as my mentees. These relationships with professionals outside of my own firm help me to contribute to a global conversation about the value of our profession. In this field of work, when I take the time to invest in future leaders, I am investing in my community and the world in which I will live.

Although I am new to the mentoring side of the relationship, there are plenty of things I have come to value about it. The first is that mentoring has kept me learning. My mentee has plenty of typical questions that I can see coming from miles away. I'm just not that far removed from my own graduation and immersion into the working world. But she has other questions for me that have caught me off guard and in doing so begun a great dialogue between us. Sometimes I know the answer but mostly I have been challenged to think for the first time about a question and develop my own ideas in order to answer her. This not only has taught me about myself, it has taught me about the values, concerns, and interests of students’ graduating today.

Staying up to date on the perspectives of someone younger than you puts you in position to become a stronger leader and gives insight into developing your firm culture. Although we are still a small firm, working with mentees outside of the office gives us insight into the interests of the upcoming generation and helps us to find, understand, and acquire new talent.  As we grow, we hope that building relationships based on commitment to investing in each other will be the foundation of our design, client relationships, and firm culture. It’s two sided. Mentoring takes time but when we consider that time to be an investment, we believe it is the beginning of a long term approach that will lead to lasting relationships and continued intellectual growth for our firm. That is something we see as a win/win.

The happy ground of being in the middle

I believe it will always be important to be both a mentor and a mentee. There was a time for most of us as children when we thought adults knew everything. For years I waited anxiously for that moment of clarity when I became an adult and had all the answers. Instead, much like everyone else, I slowly came to the understanding that being an adult is less about being “all knowing” and more about having the experience, resources, and support to be able to figure things out the best you can.

At Nimmo, we understand the importance of mentoring young associates and provide an exceptional amount of education and transparency in regards to our operations. It is our goal to teach the fundamentals that will serve as a strong foundation for a career in architecture. This level of mentorship not only helps young associates to grow in their career, it also builds personal relationships that serve as the foundation of our firm culture.

We also understand the importance having mentors ourselves; to always be learning, growing, and stretching our comfort zone through relationships with the people we aspire to emulate while doing the same by coming to understand ourselves and the needs of our firm through our relationships with each other.  After all, you can acquire years of experience and knowledge and even become an expert in your field, but having a mentor isn’t something that you grow out of. For every stage of your life, finding people who share your passion, are interested in growing with you, and are there to share in your successes can make all the difference. 

Mentorship is the one of the foundations that we are growing the firm on. If you are interested in joining Nimmo, we are currently hiring! Please send your portfolio and resume to applications@nimmo.am. Do you want to know more about us? I’m happy to share my experiences at Nimmo, you can email me directly at kwalsh@nimmo.am.

 

Kristin Walsh is an associate at Nimmo Architecture as well as a regular contributor to the Nimmo Journal and News@Nimmo

kwalsh@nimmo.am

nimmo Collaborates With Smitharc

Nimmo is wrapping up recent collaboration with Smitharc.  It was a great experience working through a design project with their group and are excited to see the efforts take shape.  Ground breaking soon; we'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, we are excited to begin our next chapter.  Construction for the Blankenship Residence has begun, the Hillen Residence is nearing completion, and we have exciting new projects such as Urban Commons on the boards.  Stay tuned... Back to www.nimmo.am

Nimmo Welcomes Kristin Walsh LEED AP+

Kristin Walsh is the latest addition to the Nimmo team, joining the firm in early 2016. Kristin earned a BA in Architectural Studies from Connecticut College and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. She has studied art and architecture around the world and credits her extensive travel experiences to igniting her passion for vernacular design. She believes in architecture of a place and finds her roots in sustainability come from designing site-specific works. Prior to joining Nimmo, Kristin specialized in sustainable design at Lake|Flato Architects and HKS Inc and worked as a Project Designer at Laguarda Low Architects. She is an accredited professional in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington. Kristin will be a regular contributor to our blog, Nimmo Features.  Stay up to date on the firm by following us at nimmo.am.

Kristin Walsh is the latest addition to the Nimmo team, joining the firm in early 2016. Kristin earned a BA in Architectural Studies from Connecticut College and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. She has studied art and architecture around the world and credits her extensive travel experiences to igniting her passion for vernacular design. She believes in architecture of a place and finds her roots in sustainability come from designing site-specific works.

Prior to joining Nimmo, Kristin specialized in sustainable design at Lake|Flato Architects and HKS Inc and worked as a Project Designer at Laguarda Low Architects. She is an accredited professional in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington. Kristin will be a regular contributor to our blog, Nimmo Features.  Stay up to date on the firm by following us at nimmo.am.

Under Construction: Grotto VC

The corner version [VC] of the original Grotto urban infill prototype is set to break ground in Dallas, Texas in May of 2016.  Developer Garrett Ratner of Ripple D+B has his sites set on creating a residential product of unprecedented quality and integrated technology.