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Q: How are the mixed-use projects changing the way you do business?

Brown Craig Turner

Bryce Turner, President and CEO: Mixed-use requires more coordination and collaboration with other consultants and building trades. As architects, we're able to provide a greater service by coordinating the different utilities and building materials, for example when there are plumbing stacks and lines that penetrate all floors in a building that includes residential and retail space. We also collaborate more frequently on projects with other architects and have added multi-family residential experience as a pre-requisite for hiring employees.


John Cole AIA, Principal: Mixed-use projects require careful master planning to accommodate separate ownership interests in the pieces (retail, housing, hotel, office). Typically, retail uses control the ground plane with parking below and other uses above. This puts retail design firms with master planning expertise in the driver's seat.

MBH Architects

John McNulty, Founding Principal: We are experiencing the opportunity for the individual studios within MBH, set up to handle specialty developments such as master planning, hotel, restaurants, large and small format retail and housing to share ideas and begin working in close connection with each other from the start to the finish of our projects.

Architects Orange

Jack Selman, Senior Partner: Architects Orange has emerged as a leader in the design of mixed-use projects. However, this has not changed our way of doing business. Traditional retail projects (neighborhood, promotional, entertainment, factory outlet and lifestyle centers) make up 70 percent of our work. Traditional retail, as well as mixed-use, Main Street, or entertainment centers all still demand a thoughtful, innovative solution that responds to the client's program.

O'Brien & Associates

Jack O'Brien, CEO: Many single use projects can be completed with phone meetings. In mixed-use projects government interest and client participation rises. Consensus building is intense. Therefore the demand on our firm rises in terms of managing the process. More charrettes and meetings are required.

BL Companies

Rainer A, Muhlbauer, Principal Architect: The increased popularity of mixed-use projects has generated greater interest in our broad-based spectrum of integrated services. As an A/E/E firm we are seeing a greater appreciation for our ability to mobilize a complete team of experts that can guide the development process and provide a continuous presence from due diligence services through planning, design, entitlement permitting and construction administration.


Stephen J. Winslow, Principal: Mixed-use and integrated multi-floor use can involve five or more building types and we sometimes collaborate with firms that have special expertise. Coordination of traffic, structure, parking, mechanical electrical equipment and elevators is critical for a successful project.


Bob Tindall, President: Mixed-use projects force us to develop strong relationships with our clients. The variables in mixed-use are considerable, and clients need a partner with deep knowledge to successfully navigate through all the issues. This encourages collaboration, as we work together on the best way to ensure a project's success by finding the right balance between all the components.


Bruce Barteldt Jr., National Retail Studio Principal: Mixed-use goes beyond retail. Since Little has deep expertise in office, civic and land planning, we have harnessed these talents to assure that the combined uses are integrated into a functional and well positioned whole. We've also focused our attention on developing residential and hospitality expertise for the same reason. The way we construct our project teams has been revamped to assure that the right talent is on these very complex projects.

JPRA Architects

James P. Ryan, Chairman: Our work in mixed-use projects is sometimes done in collaboration with other firms. When incorporated as part of the firm's work in retail and commercial projects, office and residential uses can lead to involving many experts in their given fields. As the lead architect in planning and design, and as architects of record, the process of managing the multitude of consultants requires diligent administrative efforts. This has added our ability to charge for business services, by becoming our clients' leader in the process of managing complex mixed-use projects.

MCG Architecture

Jeff Gill, Managing Principal: Retail has become a complex blend of architectural talents. Site planning expertise and understanding the complexities of multi client relationships (cities, owners, tenants) are necessary for a successful retail project and well suited to the demands placed on a mixed-use project with their mix of public and private functions. Our design teams now need to focus on how you provide dynamic public space while protecting the privacy of alternative uses.

HKW Architects

Fred Keith, President: Mixed-use projects give designers the opportunity to close the gap with regard to creating a complete environment for living, working and shopping. Until recently designers only got these opportunities in dense, urban areas. Now projects with office over retail and residential over retail are becoming commonplace in less dense areas as well as the suburbs. But mixing uses is no guarantee of success. The fundamental needs of retail, residential and office development must be met.

DFD Cornoyer Hedrick

Leo Mendez, Director of Retail Design: The mixed-use projects on the boards have enabled us to maximize our own internal strengths through collaborative design efforts assembled all under one roof. The byproduct of this design effort not only serves our clients in a financially responsible manner, but also facilitates the total integration of sound design solutions addressing each of the complex requirements required within mixed-use projects. DFDCH recognizes that first and foremost the success of each project lies in the retail solution and the environment's ability to provide for a lasting and thriving retail experience.

Mulvanny G2 Architecture

Cho Suzumura, Principal: The very nature of mixed-use development creates significant financial concerns for developers. As designers, we must understand and stay abreast of leading-edge construction methods and sustainable design, the ever-changing cost of materials and how to ensure that the materials used are the correct ones to meet the developer's standards. Armed with this knowledge, we are able to offer our clients more than just architectural services. We can be a more integral part of the client's design team. We call this “designing smart,” and by doing so, we help developers and merchandisers create lively environments that become long-term, financially successful projects.

Beame Architectural Partnership

David Hebert, Principal: Mixed-use developments are the majority of our work and have been for some years. A specialized understanding of each of the uses, their physical needs and their business model is essential to create a successful project. Each use requires separate identities and often separate services. Multiple owners may have to be considered. Many municipalities don't recognize mixed-use in their zoning codes so close coordination with the city is required. To meet the challenge, we brought together a multi-disciplinary staff with specialized experience in each building type that we create.

Perkowitz & Ruth Architects

Sy Perkowitz, President and CEO: Due to the rising demand of mixed-use projects, we have had to enhance our residential capabilities by hiring and training strong architects in this arena. We are now more willing and more interested to take on residential projects as part of these mixed-use developments — project types that we had not considered in the past. We also look at projects from a different point of view, which has provided us a number of exciting opportunities. Creating these synergies has complimented our strength in the retail and entertainment sectors.

Dorsky Hodgson Parrish Yue

David O. Parrish, Partner: Mixed-use projects demand a special kind of design and planning expertise. Architectural firms must possess solid commercial and residential credentials and they need the experience and know-how necessary to integrate these elements seamlessly into a functional and relevant built environment. Even elements such as senior living communities, libraries and police and fire stations, once thought separate from commercial developments, are increasingly finding their way into mixed-use projects. For us, mixed-use design represents the perfect evolutionary route moving forward, since clients with these types of project needs find the requisite diversity of expertise with one accountable source.

ka architecture

Ken Sizemore, Studio Leader/Design Architect: Mixed-use projects always have a higher degree of risk and complexity as compared to earlier retail models. The investment dollars are typically higher and often associated with longer project durations. Mixed-use also involves serving community interest. All of these factors affect the owner and our business as well. As a result we have to structure our approach and services to meet the increased project demands and anticipate project needs.

CMH Architects

Everett Hatcher, Executive Vice President: Probably the biggest challenge to realizing a successful mixed-use development is that not all three major uses — retail, office and residential — are “hot” at the same time. It is hard to develop mixed-use when one or more of the components are not viable. We are now addressing the issues that are presented by mixed-use by making detailed analyses of cost implications, studying successful projects (both recent as well as older projects), partnering with other professionals and providing master planning that defines the many options available to our clients.

KKE Architects

Brian Arial, Managing Principal: A single person cannot be an expert in retail and housing and office. Individuals are often experienced in one discipline and not as strong in the others. It is important to team with the leaders in the specific fields under the common umbrella of one office and one company. This coordination happens internally and is seamless to clients. This studio's approach has been very successful and allows us to truly do successful mixed-use projects.

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