29 June 2015

2015 AIA Design Awards

OAD is proud to have been honored with the highest awards in both the Un-built and Built categories at the 2015 AIA Jacksonville Design Awards Gala. We received the Award of Honor in the Un-Built category for our re-design of the Jacksonville Landing: The Landing Commons. In addition, we received the Award of Merit in the Built category for Alewife Craft Beer Bottle Shop and Tasting Room.

The Landing Commons:

Alewife Craft Beer Bottle Shop and Tasting Room:

Huge thanks to our staff and our clients Kelly and Jamie! Congratulations to all the other winners!

07 April 2015

why do I need an architect?

We often receive calls from folks who have been told "you need an architect." This directive may come from a building contractor, a friend, or a city official but the question "why" may simply go unanswered.  The least interesting answer is that its usually required by a governing authority. But this is not a very compelling reason.  OK,  as architects we probably are biased but I honestly believe architects can help with just about any endeavor to make something.  Here are a few reasons why:

Architects are time-travelers. It is our job to go into the future, before a shovel has been lifted and often before land has even been purchased, to imagine a building and plan for its eventual creation in the real world.  That building may only be the vague inkling of a CEO who knows his company is growing. Or it may be very thoroughly visualized home for a retiring couple who knows what they want, just not how to make it happen.  In any case, the virtual creation of a building on paper is a full dress rehearsal.  To the extent that we can explore what fits, research the challenges of the site or property,  and visualize the impact and impression the design will create BEFORE construction starts; we can make the actual execution of the structure go more smoothly.

The nice thing about drawings is that it's easy (and often free!) to make changes.  Moving a wall on paper can be done in minutes.  Doing so on site, could cost thousands and involve weeks of delays. This is why we ask our clients to really develop a relationship with the drawings and put themselves in the spaces we have worked with them to design.  Some people can do this naturally, with only a floor plan to look at, but others are just not visual people. We try to provide more descriptive drawings, even movies, for clients who need help wrapping their head around the design. It is very important that the Client understands what is proposed in the drawings, when things are still flexible, so the team can proceed with confidence. No one wants to discover that they don't like the placement of a wall once it has already been built.

So the drawings help the team to plan and the Client to visualize.  But another value in having drawings lies in maintaining a good and financially predictable relationship with your contractor.  We often say that drawings are like a visual legal document.  Your contractor agrees to build and furnish what is shown on the drawings for a contracted price.  Similarly, the client agrees not to ask the contractor to build something that is NOT on the drawings.  You can both point to a drawing sheet with your finger and say "this is what we are doing... this is what we agreed to."  This means that, barring unforeseen site conditions or changes to the design directed by the client, you should reach the end of a project in receipt of a project that matches the drawings for the price you knew was coming.  Without drawings, this whole relationship is up in the air.  Unclear agreements and expectations lead to sour relationships.  The whole process goes better with drawing to work with. You may even come away from a project considering your contractor a new and valued friend.

Finally, and most importantly, architects are not just concerned with getting a job done, they are concerned with getting a job done well.  If all we did was put up roofs to keep people's things out of the rain, we really would be setting a low bar for the profession.  Frankly, we'd be doing our clients a disservice.  Architects should be able to do everything I've already talked about AND improve the quality of the lives and interactions of the people using our buildings. There is so much more to a building than the functional requirements that make it stand up and make the lights work when you flip a switch.  Buildings frame the activities and experiences of our lives.  They should celebrate and augment the things we do, making them more enjoyable, meaningful, even efficient.  It is an architect's job to spend the time considering those activities and how the building will support and enrich them.

18 March 2015

best of houzz award

OAD is excited to receive the Best Of Houzz Award 2015 for Jacksonville, FL!

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

Jacksonville, FL, March 18, 2015 – The Office of Architecture and Design has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The architecture firm whose focus is on quality, regardless of scale, budget, or style was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize The Office of Architecture and Design among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow Office Architecture and Design on Houzz.

About OAD
The Office of Architecture and Design, Inc. is a group of LEED credentialed Jacksonville Architects specializing in commercial, residential, and institutional work.

We are an architecture firm whose focus is on quality, regardless of scale, budget, or style. OAD uses the design process to arrive at well-considered solutions that address project demands, meet client needs, and create beautiful spaces on time and on budget.

Every project is different. We have worked on every scale of building from bathroom renovations to luxury high-rises. Some schedules demand a sense of urgency while others require careful consideration and an exploration of alternatives. We listen closely to our clients to identify a response that moves projects forward in the appropriate direction at the appropriate pace.

We also understand that design is a collaborative effort. Though our clients range from construction veterans to first-time owners, we are not afraid to ask questions and insure that the team understands one another. A clear understanding of the team's objectives and strategies is key to not only a project's success, but to the success of the collaborative relationship.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish - online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit www.houzz.com

13 January 2015

the elks building

Designed by Roy A. Benjamin in 1926, the Elks Building on the corner of Laura and Adams is one of Downtown's most distinctive buildings. Once a headquarters for the local chapter of the Elks, the building has seen multiple tenants over the last couple of years. Nestled in the back corner of the building is a voluminous space with original exposed brick walls and a clear view of the massive roof trusses above, some 25'+ off the finished floor. OAD was commissioned to design a space that captured the unique qualities of the space while maximizing the available square footage.

OAD's strategy was to leverage the vertical nature of the space into a design component that opened the roof, drenching the office in light and orienting the program around a central feature. Take a look at the conceptual images!

23 October 2014


With a budget of $1000 here is our recent competition entry for an underutilized park plaza.

The clothesline is a ubiquitous yet un-designed element within the city. A purely functional result of the need for cleanliness and clothing, it nonetheless straddles the public and private realm, often displaying some of our most intimate garments for all the world to see. It also serves to decorate, however haphazardly, our often drab building and spaces. 

Our proposal seeks to redeploy the humble clothesline as a design element with intention and grace. Grafting onto existing structures, foliage, and surfaces, this clothesline weaves color and life through the neglected  pedestrian plaza. Re-purposed billboard vinyl stands in for actual clothing, creating a resilient and vibrant material that can, once dismantled, find a third life as wallets, bags, place mats, or hats in the hands of neighborhood craftspeople. 

14 October 2014

on the boards

We've added a new "on the boards" tab to our website. Here is a look at a couple of projects we are currently working on...

Empire Avenue Residence
A complete renovation of a split level mid century modern house in the Arlington neighborhood of Empire Point. Here's a look at the master bathroom:

Fontana Lake Cottage
Nestled on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee this woodsy retreat offers expansive views and amble natural light for a newly retired couple.  Overlooking the beautiful lake Fontana in the Smokey Mountains, the program includes a large great room, master bedroom, sleeping loft and large detached garage / studio space.

Southside Cardiology Office
Opening a new office in the South Point Office area, these clients came to us looking for a clean modern space with just a "bunch" of color! Take a look at their lobby:


12 September 2014

alewife: craft beer bottle shop and tasting room

Very excited about our latest project! Props to Kelly and Jamie for not only being awesome clients with a clear vision but also wonderful people!!! Alewife will be a great addition to the Five Points area.