Our Blog: The "why" behind the "what", and what we think is really important . . .

Elementary School (Design) Memories . . .

The debate over the demolition of Hopi Elementary School in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix got me thinking about the history of the "finger-plan" school here in Arizona, the history of the design concept in general, and why these things are worth considering as we try to determine what constitutes "progress" in the modern context. My first experience of the classic Arizona finger plan school came in 4th grade, at Wrightstown Elementary School in Tucson. My family had relocated the summer before from Illinois, and I attended with my younger sister for two years. What I remember most about Wrightstown were the windows - one entire side of the classroom was steel sash window (perhaps aluminum, but that sash style window in any event), from 3 feet off the floor, to what seemed like 10 or 11 feet at the roofline. Coming from Illinois, we had windows of course, but I ... Read more

On the Fate of the Jokake Inn

On October 4th 2017, the Phoenix City Council voted 7-2 to approve the Planned Use Development (PUD) for the further development of the Phoenician Resort. The approval will allow the previously entitled 321 "residential units" to be constructed, as well as an additional 37 "residential units", not previously entitled. I attended the hearing, and spoke in favor of the City moving to officially protect the Jokake Inn, as part of the agreement with the Owner that the PUD represents. Three other people stood up to speak on behalf of the Jokake Inn - a total of four people, in a city of four and a half million people. While I don't expect that many people would be able to take the afternoon off from work to sit through a 2 hour City Council meeting, I'm surprised that none of the "official preservation people" in the city or state spoke, ... Read more

Can An Architect Appreciate Project Runway?

Outside of my immediate family (who are also fans), my interest in (and enjoyment of) Project Runway isn't something I talk about much, but I thought it might make for an interesting blog post. I started watching midway through the eighth season of the show, which has just started its sixteenth season on Lifetime. My wife and daughter had started watching the show together a few years prior; I’d generally be practicing guitar in my office, occasionally traversing the family room to get a cup of coffee. I soon realized that, with increasing frequency, I was stopping to watch for a few minutes here and there, especially towards the end of the show. Now, the more cynical among you might be tempted to be a bit suspicious of my motives, but allow me to explain a bit further . . . Much of the first half of each PR episode is filled ... Read more

Do Architects Need To Be Involved During Construction? (A Word About Service)

[Editor's note: We had this statement on our "Service" page; we've redesigned that to be less "wordy", but we did want to retain its sentiment on the site.] We believe that the quality of service provided by an architect helps to define the quality of an Owner's experience throughout the life of a project. We've been fortunate to have been involved in projects which are defined by wonderful and sublime design. But underpinning that design, and insuring that the overall project experience was (on most days!) a smooth one, was a well-defined and executed plan for serving the project on a daily basis. A smooth-running project is important not only for inspiring confidence in both the owner and the project team, but also because it allows the Owner and the project team to continue to refine and develop the project beyond the construction documents phase of the work. Once construction ... Read more
Home Designed by Robert T. Evans Architect

2017 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards!

Our submittal is in - wish us luck! The Awards Luncheon is Friday, June 16th at the Hilton El Conquistador down in Oro Valley, so it's fingers crossed. In other news, we've received our actual timeslot for our presentation at the conference - project owner John Pappas and I will be presenting at 9:50AM, in the prestigious "Presidio 2" conference room. Note #1: Do you think they knew "presidio" means "jail" when they named the room? OK - it can also mean "military post" or "fortified garrison" - but those always had jails in them, so there you go! Note #2: The photograph featured in the posting was discovered by John way down in the ASU online archives just a few weeks ago. While we wish we would have had it when we started the design, we're actually really pleased with how well our renovation matches this photo, which taken shortly ... Read more

Our 1931 Adobe Gets Ready For Its Second Debut

We've been working with our owner, John Pappas, on our project's submittal to the 2017 Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Awards, and it's been a great opportunity to look back on the project, recall what we've been through collectively to achieve John's goals, and also look forward in terms of how we can tell and teach people about it, and share what we view as the amazing story (stories?) behind a beautiful project. As part of the Awards submittal process, we had to create a short project narrative to describe the project, and "make the case" as to why the project should receive a Governor's Award. We've been working on the narrative this week, and thought it would be nice to share it here, where we can indulge in a fuller history and description than on our "portfolio page" for the project: The 6330 E. McDonald Residence (Louise E. Glaus House), thoughtfully restored over the course ... Read more

Spiral Presents At 2017 AZ Historic Preservation Conference!

We're very excited about our upcoming presentation of our 1931 Paradise Valley adobe restoration project at the 15th Annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference, which will be held in the Town of Oro Valley in Pima County, June 14th-16th, 2017. The presentation (for which we'll team up with owner John Pappas) is entitled "Case Study in Preservation: Robert T. Evans/Louise E. Glaus Residence", and will be a discussion of the house, its origins, history, and our architectural journey assisting John in his mission to bring the house back to its former glory, while adapting it to his own use, while ensuring it will endure for many years to come. Spiral Architects is also pleased to be a "General Preservation Supporter" of this year's conference! Note: For the curious, here are a few newspaper articles that ran locally while the house was for sale in 2008, and another that ran in 2009, after ... Read more