What's A Year...

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Amidst our busy professional lives here in the studio, a year goes fast and while it’s going, it often seems as though nothing ever gets finished. Lists grow rather than shrink, books to read pile up, art exhibitions go unvisited for lack of time, lectures come and go without our attendance.

But, in retrospect—here on the dawn of the Year of the Dragon—we look back for just a minute to realize it’s been an incredibly stimulating and productive year. Projects take on a life of their own, and with the aid of all the great collaborators with whom we’re currently working, much is accomplished.

Weeks from completion is a major renovation in Pacific Palisades, turning an undistinguished 1960s house into something with character befitting its incredible site. Along the way, we deepened our understanding of Spanish mission architectural prototypes in California.

Well underway in design and construction are two new houses in Maine that have taken our practice to a new level in sustainability expertise (one of the houses, a large one, promises to score a near-zero energy footprint), while allowing us to study the line between tradition and modernity in architecture. This study—inherent to the roots of this firm—has been enlivened with the perspective of thinking about architectural details and materials as grammar in a language that conveys meaning. Our search, on every project, is to find the architectural language appropriate for this client, site, and team of collaborators.

Looking ahead in the Year of the Dragon (power, strength, good luck. . . . .), we will continue with projects mentioned; start the design of another new house using Passive House energy standards; and have been invited by the eminent Farnsworth Museum in Maine to participate in an exhibition that re-imagines the commission to design the 19th century Farnsworth House (at the heart of the museum grounds) for the same family in 2012, reflecting 21st century parameters and aspirations.

Meanwhile, back here on Rochedale Road—our home and studio—we only have to look out into our garden to see that much happens in a year, if we allow nature to take its course. . . . . .

Jenn Shore