If you read my blog regularly you know that I love modern architecture. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Brandon Olin, Architect with Olin Architecture, to learn more about him and his business. Brandon has returned to Bend after working in Seattle for a number of years and he couldn’t be more excited. He didn’t waste any time jumping into the market and recently designed a house in River’s Edge Village that was built by Bright Oak Homes. You can view photos HERE. It was a spec home listed at $369,000 and is already under contract.
What type of projects do you work on?
Most of my work is residential, from new homes to remodels and additions. I have also worked on custom commercial and adaptive re-use projects, including cafes and breweries, tenant improvements, and youth facilities. Every project has unique challenges and opportunities; my job isn’t to design a house or building that looks creative- rather it is to be creative in delivering a project that works great while meeting the needs of my clients. The best projects result when I get to work with the great enthusiasm, ideas, and commitment my clients bring to the table.
Why should someone work with an architect?
An architect serves as the owner’s representative throughout a project- from schematic design through permitting and construction, and works with all of the different tradespeople it takes to make a successful project. Architectural fees, depending on the scope and the architect’s involvement in a project, can be a significant piece of the budget, so you should be convinced that the money you spend on an architect will directly translate into the value of your project over time – both monetarily and personally. I do this by working to design your home or building specifically for you and for your site, finding synthesis between the many factors that influence a design, from the needs and desires of the client to the specific challenges and opportunities of the site. Additionally, your project will need to meet specific building codes and respond to the challenges of budget, materials, construction techniques, etc. Working with an architect offers you the tactical and logistical horsepower to not only deliver a design, but to steward your project from conception to completion.
What style do you typically work in?
While my work is definitely modern or contemporary in nature, I’ll reemphasize what I explained above- I approach each project uniquely and work to deliver a solution that works great for both my clients and their site; the result may be contemporary or it may be more traditional, but ultimately it is about them and their site. I approach design more from how a building works than how it looks, in how it performs rather than how it is viewed, and first solve questions of light, views, access, privacy, community, buildability, maintenance, and so forth. The synthesis and execution of all of these factors will ultimately determine the quality and performance of the building; this is why contemporary buildings look different- because they perform differently. Architecture is described as an art because it is analogous to cooking, painting, theater, music, film, and fashion- ultimately it resonates when the idea is good and the execution of that idea makes you see things differently or feel something new. You should be able to feel what your home is doing and use it as an integral part of your life.
What are your thoughts on green and sustainable design?
This is a great question and a hot topic amongst architects, clients, and the public alike. The green design movement has trended toward a focus on market-based solutions which presents “green” as something that can be applied – products or materials that we can use to green our lives. Which is fine, but in my view that puts the cart before the horse. In architecture, green and sustainable design can be an integral quality of building, allowing a building to do more with less. Buildings that work better and last longer take advantage of light and sun for passive heating and cooling, organize openings for natural cross-ventilation, utilize space efficiently so buildings can be smaller, and work within their context, contributing to their community and creating an opportunity for long-term care and investment. Once these qualities are explored and prioritized, I’ll then treat the more market-oriented aspects of green design – solar panels, geothermals, water retention and collection, recycled materials, etc.- as they might work best for the house, budget, and client.
What do you love about living and working here in Bend?
Bend is a fun place to live and work because there is a real and palpable sense of communal energy, excitement, and passion for this town and our spectacular surroundings. Having grown up here, I can say that while Bend has changed a lot, it is still very much a small town, where life and work can and do happen simultaneously. This makes it fun as an architect because my clients want their homes to work harmoniously with the way they live here, and to take advantage of their place in the landscape. And because Bend is a community built on relationships, where friends become clients and clients become friends, life and work become both congruous and fulfilling.
To learn more about Brandon Olin and see his portfolio, visit his website: Olin Architecture