By Tina Thorpe, marketing director, Roth Sheppard
In a recent interview, Samantha Strang, an accomplished architect at Roth Sheppard, shared her insights on renovations, focusing on two exceptional projects: The Guest and Roth Sheppard Architects’ new office space. Samantha’s trajectory into architecture began with an interest in combining creativity with functionality. Initially gravitating towards interiors, her collaboration with architects sparked a fascination for the technical aspects of the field. Soon, she pursued her licensure in architecture, with a goal to create spaces that aren’t only functional but evoke emotions and memories for those who experience them.
One of the standout projects in Samantha’s portfolio is a multi-use renovation that involved combining three distinct experiences within a unified space. Located at 1432 Market St, the building includes The Guest; a remarkable dining space encompassing an intimate and performative multi-course dining experience, The Regular; a restaurant, lounge and bar area, and a market named El Mercado. Previously, this building was a bar, which made it easy for the team to leverage existing parts of the structure in the renovation. They were able to reuse the infrastructure of the kitchen, restroom and bar locations, which helped dictate the flow of the new modern design. The market was located in areas used for open seating in the past. Creating three unique experiences in one open space was an exciting challenge and allowing the existing structure to inform the design helped it all fall into place. Additionally, Samantha and her clients adopted a collaborative approach, which allowed them to overcome limitations throughout the project.
Samantha recalls the project kickoff, “Our clients were really great at describing how people should feel while being in the space and how they should experience the project. They wanted the food and architecture to work together, creating an overall experience. They knew how the materials should feel, the comfort of the furnishings, and understood the scale of spaces to welcome people.” With a clear vision and the creative finesse to work within an existing framework, ‘The Guest’ renovation was an incredible project.
Another noteworthy endeavor on Samantha’s roster is Roth Sheppard’s office renovation. The firm’s new building, located in the Five Points Neighborhood, serves as an opportunity to establish a permanent headquarters for the firm. Samantha acknowledged the intricacy of finalizing the design, “We are starting from scratch and have endless options. But we are growing, which means we are in a very transitional period. That makes it a lot harder to know what we want that space to be and what we want it to feel like.”
The renovation has undergone multiple iterations, reflecting the team’s dedication to designing a space that authentically mirrors their culture and brand. Samantha recognizes the pressure associated with the project, emphasizing the importance of creating an inviting and functional space for clients and architects alike. Balancing the history of the building, the Five Points neighborhood, and the need for a space that genuinely embodies the firm’s brand and offers an enjoyable work environment poses a unique challenge. However, the team is on the verge of finalizing their drawings and is thrilled to be getting a new home.
In both of these renovation projects, Samantha notes that there are shared principles surrounding setting expectations for project owners. These are:
- The necessity of transparent communication regarding potential constraints and unforeseen discoveries.
- Creating a collaborative atmosphere.
- The importance of realistic budgeting to accommodate inevitable expenses during the renovation process.
- Patience. Samantha’s experience has taught her the following: “Being patient and willing to pivot, is a good thing. Things go smoothly when you are willing to roll with the punches. I’m sure there are some renovation projects where nothing goes wrong – but those project owners are very, very fortunate people!”
- Hire an architect. Having someone to guide you through the process saves time and money, especially in a renovation. An architect has the connections and can function as an advocate for the project owner. Renovations are already stressful – having a professional who makes your interest and vision for the design a priority makes a world of difference.
Samantha’s insights offer a valuable glimpse into the intricate world of architectural renovations. Her thoughtful and pragmatic approach serves as a testament to her commitment to designing incredible spaces that tell a unique story, are functional, and allow those who experience them to create memories.
Author Bio: Tina Thorpe has nearly two decades of marketing experience and serves as the marketing director at Roth Sheppard Architects. Her passion lies in crafting engaging content within the AEC industry. With a love for storytelling, she excels in creating narratives that resonate with her audience.