About

A little bit about me:

I am an architect, a career designer.  I think outside the box, laterally, making all sorts of odd connections and juxtapositions.  When designing I go from the Big Picture to the details and back; I look at the forest and then count the trees.

Ultimately I am a problem-solver.  I create under pressure, art on a deadline.  I am paid to create the intangible dreams in your head.  A surrogate artist.

I design houses, office buildings, tenant build-outs, medical offices, churches, schools, hotels, airport terminals and more.  I’ve done several of each.  The project include new construction, renovations and remodels.  I can even design furniture, fixtures, lamps, and exterior environments. Any problem that needs to be solved.

I’m not just a licensed architect and interior designer, I also hold licenses as a contractor and real estate broker.  And I am a “green” architect accredited with the US Green Building Council in LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design).  My current specialty is Building Design + Construction (so technically I am a LEED AP, BD+C).  I have several successful LEED projects in my portfolio, including a silver and gold certification. I have also become a Green Globes Professional (GGP).  While they don’t provide support for single-family homes, in many cases it is a better system for multi-family and commercial projects.

Designing is like chess:  I have to think several moves ahead; picture the consequences; envision the final result; count the costs.  I like chess.

I have a Bachelor of Design, with honors, from the University of Florida as well as a Master of Architecture degree from the same fine institution.  I have been doing this for over 25 years.  During this time I worked for several architectural firms, large and small.

To do architecture today you need to know computers.  Everything is done with CADD (computer-aided design & drafting).  And there are new tools in our pouch:  BIM (Building Information Modeling) and 3D rendering.  I have a lot of experience with all of them.  During my career I worked briefly for Autodesk, the software company that makes AutoCAD and Revit, the two leading programs for CADD and BIM.  Lately I have worked a lot with SketchUp, a fast 3D modeling program that was freely available from Google and now owned by Trimble.

I have traveled widely, but my toes are firmly rooted in Florida sand.  My family has been in Florida for over 190 years.  We voted for statehood.  My grandfather built himself a Cracker house in Live Oak and I did my thesis on an updated Cracker house (modern vernacular) that won an international housing design award.

I live in Orange Park with my lovely wife.  We have been blessed with two beautiful daughters.  I love the sun, the beach, the pine flatwoods. The beach is less than an hour away and the river is right next door.  What could be better?

Lately I have become more interested in zero energy homes, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), passive solar cooling and other ideas to wean us from our petroleum dependence.  But my approach to green design is pragmatic:  gather the low-hanging fruit (lowest cost) first and focus on energy efficiency, reduction in energy demand and return on investment.

This interest in autonomous homes coincides with another interest:  small, efficient homes.  I don’t know why, but I have always been attracted to very small homes.  Perhaps it’s the challenge of simplification:  minimalism is removing all nonessential elements to get to the essence of the thing you are designing.  As Mies van der Rohe said, “Less is more.”  An easy goal to set, but difficult to achieve (“God is in the details”, also Mies).  And yet the temptation–the challenge–to achieve that goal continues and is renewed in each new project.

I may fit some of the stereotypical traits of an architect:  I straighten napkins; notice small details and miss large ones; carry a pencil everywhere; draw while I’m talking; draw while anything else is happening; tend to be introverted.

But in other ways, I am not:  I don’t wear black all the time (I favor Hawaiian shirts); don’t wear thick, round, black-rimmed glasses; am more concerned with the budget; like the construction end of the project; and don’t just hang out with other architects.

Brian Boatright