Building Blocks: Interview with Architect Barron Schimberg

Architect Barron Schimberg, of The Schimberg Group in Sarasota interviews with Sarasota Visual Art.

architect

What role does history play in your work?

The historical basis of architecture impacts our work from the standpoint that it is meaningful and has a reason for it’s design.  Form follows function is not just a meaningless phrase.  Design should reflect the purpose of the design decision, no matter what style.

What does it mean to you to be an architect living and working in Sarasota FL?

It means a great deal.  My family is being raised here, so for my children to witness their father working hard to run an architectural firm, in addition to watching him sketch and draw at home is a tremendous experience.  Sarasota has provided numerous opportunities for me and though I think there’s a lot of room to improve on Sarasota’s architectural design choices, this also inspires me to design well thought through and successful projects.

FROM ABOVE: WHOLE FOODS MARKET (OUT OF THE BOX AND INTO OUR NEIGHBORHOODS - OCTOBER ISSUE 2008) CANAL FRONT RESIDENCE WITH ENTRY SCULPTURE (LET IT FLOW, LET FLOW, LET IT FLOW - FEBRUARY ISSUE 2009) BUILDING FACADE DESIGN USING TRESPA PRODUCT(VARIATIONS ON A THEME - JULY ISSUE 2009)

What is it about Sarasota that is significant in comparison to other places?

Sarasota is small enough that projects and design can hold their own and make a statement.

Have you had the opportunity to collaborate with others?

I don’t think we’ve ever done a project and not collaborated with others.  We have not had many opportunities to collaborate with other architects, however, we collaborate on all projects with interior designers, contractors, engineers, subcontractors and consultants.  I enjoy the process of surrounding myself with people that have their own opinions about how things can be designed and built.  The final result is always better than if I design a building or interior on my own.  I just believe in collaboration.  That’s actually our tagline.  Collaborative Methods.  Extraordinary Results.

What is the feeling of having designs become reality? 

About as good as it gets.  That’s what we strive for.  I once heard an architect say that the best project is the unbuilt one.  He was implying that the design process is the most fun and if it doesn’t get built, it avoids him being sued.  I totally disagree.  Though I thoroughly enjoy the design process, the construction process and management of those phases is as enjoyable to me as the design.  There’s nothing like driving around with family or friends and saying, “I designed that, I designed that, I designed that one…”

A NEW BOARDWALK BUILT BY LEADERSHIP SARASOTA, CLASS OF 2011 FOR A LOCAL NON- PROFIT.

What building are you most proud of and why?

In Sarasota, there are two. One commercial and one residential.

Commercial: Cat Depot It is a one of kind, state of the art cat adoption center that we put a tremendous amount of time and effort in researching and learning about that building type. The owners deserve a ton of credit for allowing us to do what we do and inspiring us to design one of the most successful projects of that type in the country.

Residential: We designed a ‘contemporary’ house in Sarasota that is Florida Green Building Certified, has won awards, been published and is one of the more interesting designs with everything being thought about from the kitchen sink to the sculptural mailbox.

BEFORE AND AFTER OF SIESTA KEY RESIDENCE. GOLD WINNER IN MARCH 2011 SRQ MAGAZINE HOME OF THE YEAR RENOVATION CATEGORY.

What are the most important things to take into account when you’re designing a building?

The client’s desires.  The key is to listen to what they want and give them that.

What role does furniture design have in the design process of a structure?

I assume you mean furniture placement rather than design. If so, furniture placement has a huge role and it is often forgotten about. One of the reasons we provide interior design services and furniture procurement is so that when we are designing buildings, we holistically and completely are designing the spaces and what goes in them. Whether office systems or living room sofas, the building architecture will be affected. Windows, doors, lighting, volume of space, etc. are all impacted by furniture.

If you’re are asking about furniture design, it can have an interesting impact on the design. We actually have a line of furniture in the market called Linear. They are architecturally inspired and are used throughout multiple types of structures, ranging from Healthcare, Commercial, Educational and Pet Care.

IMAGES CREATED BY THE SCHIMBERG GROUP FOR A RESIDENTIAL COMPETITION.

What is the role of sustainability in design?

It should be integral in the design.  We don’t really push the whole green thing, since we do it anyway. All of our designs, from inception, integrate sustainable and responsible design techniques and decisions.

Do you think as a culture we have moved into a new mode of ornamentation?

This is an odd question, but I think society is getting simpler, at least for now.  Given the economy and even 9-11, I think people are not as interested in the glamour and foo foo we once were.  Our tastes, styles and life decisions are becoming more realistic, simpler and less ostentatious.


Barron Schimberg graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelors and Masters in Architecture. He has worked in Sarasota as an architect for over 17 years, running his own company for the past 7 years. He and his wife Patty Schimberg own The Schimberg Group, providing architectural and interior design services to clients on a national level. They have 2 boys, Sy, age 11 and Hugh, age 9.

The Schimberg Group
www.tsg-fl.com