Posts Posts by: "Sophia"

Fierce Listening?

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How are you listening? For Gist, Rebuttal, Logic, Emotions, or Point of View? The latter aims for a deep understanding the other person’s world. The listening experience becomes progressively more “fierce”, You know that you did a great job when you’re utterly exhausted after 20 minutes. At a recent client-centered workshop at…(Read More)

… should not stay in Vegas. As 2019 President of AIA Montana I had the pleasure to represent our state at our National Conference. This is a copy of my article for our latest Newsletter: Let me qualify that.  I was happy to make it  back to Montana late Saturday. Vegas is deliberately designed…(Read More)

Bridging between an innovative approach serving several market sectors, and local influence (aka neighbors) was a driving force for this feasibility study. Our initial services to our client, a developer with land holdings, included a thorough site assessment, program workshopping, and conceptual designs. Part One: included a comprehensive site review, overlaying physical, systemic, and market…(Read More)

We love a good story, and depending on whether you prefer drama, action, or romance you’ll end up with a villain or a hero. It is very tempting to think of our successes and failures in the same way, but that would be a costly mistake. In math a system of equations is considered…(Read More)

Yes! Don’t underestimate what your design team can do for you in the early early phases. Benefits for you include “pretty pictures” that can mellow those (suburban sprawly mansion residing) neighbors to your ideas, attract investors, and get the City planning department on board. We love it because it allows us to design settings…(Read More)

We love pocket neighborhoods for all ages, but recently explored more applications of them in the active adult and senior market. Baby Boomers have had their taste of Suburbia, and are more open to try a smaller footprint in a more vibrant community setting. They have a reputation to seek out adventures, whether that may…(Read More)

Site SWAT & SWAG

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Have you ever attempted to do a SWAT analysis of your site? We’re not talking about special weapons, but this is definitely entering the area of tactics: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. That same emotional excitement that drives us, can become a bias that blinds us to somewhat predictable challenges. In this post we…(Read More)

Zoning can have huge implications on your costs and the development potential of your site. You as the developer likely want to maintain decent relationships with your governing municipality, so how do you decide when to accept what’s written, and when to fight for changes? A quick overview: There are few places in which…(Read More)

Unit types and count per acre are often the first questions entering the discussion. We recommend starting with these three steps: Review comprehensive market data with your team. We recommend looking at demographics and psychographics to get the best picture of what your market looks like today, and where it might be headed.Now it…(Read More)

Spark Value #4: Learning

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Learning: This one started out under the label “Evolution”, in the sense of we learn and change based on those experiences. However I found myself explaining the learning intent behind it, versus some hardcore Darwinian approach. Learning.  From others, but most importantly from our own mistakes and missed opportunities. This is hard and can be…(Read More)

Excellence To clarify, this is not perfection. Rather the ability to synthesize many factors, finding an elegant simplicity and clarity out of complexity. An aspiration in projects. Finding Beauty by: Minimizing waste, maximizing benefit, and unearthing the most potential.. Doing more with less. Synthesize, distill, prioritize in a world of growing complexity and unlimited choices…(Read More)

Spark Value #2: Clarity

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Clarity (and what it means for Authenticity, Simplicity, and Transparency) When I first described this value it was labeled “authenticity”. But something kept nagging me, whispering “but what about clarity, isn’t it essential, and authenticity just a part of that, along with things like transparency and simplicity?”. Keeping a list to five is incredibly…(Read More)

3. Responsibility A delivery principle in projects: It is an incredible honor and responsibility to be trusted with a project, and we take that seriously. No finger pointing and blame games. Successful projects depend on a team acting as a tem, including consultants, owners, and contractors. We seek to actively resolve issues, and proactively anticipate…(Read More)

Spark Value #1: Health

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1. Health A design principle in projects. Health promoting  spaces, supporting the health of their users, their organizations, and the environment.   A driving force in our culture We expect you to take good care of your health, and offer a culture that provides space and incentives for life-work balance. And health insurance. &nbsp…(Read More)

Spark Values

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After finishing Ray Dalio’s “Principles” for the second time, I felt compelled to summarize my own principles for Spark. Call it a work in progress! Spark Values: When facing a question or decision on whom to hire (or whether to apply to work for us), how to approach a project, or what culture to…(Read More)

In Part 1 we shared why we believe that good project management is so important to good design and architecture. On to what we have come to consider Key Ingredients of Architectural Project Management. We are far from perfect, but  use every project to get better. The biggest “aha” moment for me was that, rather…(Read More)

The design process can look like a black box or a divine spark  of inspiration.  While the best projects depend on a good dose of inspiration, all projects depend on a solid process. We believe that to bring that initial enthusiasm to a successful finish, astute project management is needed. Part of the magic is…(Read More)

This Friday, 11/02/2018, it is time for Harvest Howl, our annual fundraiser for Camp Rotary. Enjoy a double header concert with Sawyer Brown and Sister Hazel, as well as great food, drinks. Sophia is an active Rotarian, and loves the impact Rotary has on a wide range of local and global initiatives. For…(Read More)

  Our new landlord Jason Madill at 410 Central graciously agreed to transform the biggest wall in our office into a 300 SF Whiteboard, and presented us with the “Biggest Whiteboard in Montana Award”. It took some experimenting with different products, and the discovery that some Whiteboard paint is marker specific (better or worse with…(Read More)

PART 3: More Hygge through Architecture: Architects like to use the phrase “Programming”: Taking a very close look at all your project must-haves, and nice-to-haves. Before we ever start designing we interview clients about all their wishes, concerns, functions, and “problems”. We test assumptions, and take new ideas for a test drive…(Read More)

Before going into some architectural ideas for your next project in Part 3, I’d like to share a few everyday things I experimented with to sample Hygge. Pick whatever sounds good, I would love to hear about your own experience! Part 2: Everyday Life Hygge: Acknowledging the realities of my current life I focused…(Read More)

Happy Thanksgiving! As we enter the Holiday Season, I would like to share a mini series about Hygge, the Danish Art of Cozyness with you. It inspired me to bring a little bit more coziness back into my life, and I hope this may do the same for you. Enjoy! When was the last time…(Read More)

Six Degrees – Headquarters for a Creative Branding Agency Location: Scottsdale, AZ Type: Tenant Improvement / Interiors Client: Six Degrees Role: Sophia as project manager and designer at Architekton (www.architekton). Copyright: Architekton Project Features: Architecture reflecting brand image Client Quote: “I want to arrive at the office and feel like entering a cool night club.”…(Read More)

Ross Farnsworth YMCA

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Location: Mesa, AZ Type: New construction on College Campus Client: Valley of the Sun YMCA Role: Sophia as project manager and architect in training at Architekton Copyright: Architekton Project Features: Amenities serving the campus and community at large, including Pools, Gym, Child watch, Climbing Wall. Discovery: Good Design can make a big difference. A few…(Read More)

The Cabin

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Life is full of change, kids grow up, and priorities evolve. With the kids out of the house, our clients were ready to sell their old A-fame cabin that had served the family for several decades. According to our client, her kids reminded her of how meaningful their family traditions and childhood memories were…(Read More)

Author

Sophia Sparklin

Growing up in a family with generations in medical practice, Sophia discovered her passion for architecture during an internship 1996. Since then Sophia received formal and informal education in Germany and the US. At Arizona State University she was honored by the Henry Adams Certificate for graduating on top of her (Master of Architecture) class in 2005.