A love of drawing and problem solving drove Ron Martinez into the field of architecture, and he began practicing in 1988. After working in large and small architecture firms for about nine years, Martinez came together with Barry Scairono to form Scairono Martinez Architects in 1996. The small firm includes a staff of seven, but he said they have still been able to take on some larger projects. Martinez plays an active role in the industry and currently serves as president of the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
What are some of the current projects you are working on? What type of projects do you like to take on?
We often work with out-of-state firms cheap jerseys that are doing local projects. We recently completed the renovation of the Hyatt Hotel and the Hotel Indigo with Hogan Campis Architects of Atlanta, and we are currently working on two large renovation projects for the Recovery School District with Mahlum, an architectural firm based in Seattle. We like doing those joint ventures, and lately we have been joining forces with contractors to provide design-build construction services, which we like very much.
Talk a little about your time as president of the AIA. What have you learned and what have you been able to do?
As president of AIA New Orleans, I have encouraged every member to get involved in the community, and I’ve also been spreading the word that architects are valuable members on any board, council or committee. Architects have the ability to bring Styli together various viewpoints, differing opinions, conflicting requirements, and onerous restrictions to narrow in on an issue and accomplish a task. That task can To be designing a building or conducting a capital campaign. It might be developing a workshop for future architects or tackling a major issue such as the deplorable condition of roads in our city. As architects, we’re uniquely suited to take the lead, focus a group and Know get a job done. I quickly learned that the architects in the city didn’t need encouragement from me or from anyone else. Architects are already in leadership roles at all levels of our community. We serve on school boards and the boards world! of various neighborhood associations and nonprofits, and are even in charge of several city departments and agencies.
What are the easiest and hardest things about doing architecture in the city of New Orleans?
I think the easiest thing about being an architect in New Orleans is finding creative inspiration. It’s everywhere and in everything. Our food, music, art and architecture are unique and wonderful. I once spent a few hours walking around the Garden District photographing walls and fences for inspiration for a project. The funny thing is, I wasn’t the only person taking pictures of fences. Even our fences are photogenic. I love New Orleans. How many places can claim their own unique culture?
In some ways, that unique culture can also be the most difficult thing about practicing architecture in New cheap jerseys Orleans. New Orleanians are passionate about everything and fiercely protective of the status quo. We have to learn to be less threatened by growth and innovation. I personally struggle with that, and I think that we all should understand that accepting new ideas doesn’t mean that we have abandoned the past.
There seems to be a growing discussion about how the building boom of the last eight years is changing the cityscape of New Orleans. Are architects striking the right balance of designing for the current times while respecting the historic context of the city?
Yes. All architects want each building to fit into its environment, but that doesn’t mean mimicking the next door neighbor or recreating a building that was designed 150 years ago. A modern and distinctive building that is the proper scale and proportion can be built with today’s energy efficient materials, using current technology, and live comfortably between two historic structures. We have many examples of exactly that in New Orleans. We have done a great job of defining historic districts in New Orleans to protect the unique, historic architecture of our city. Those districts are threatened by developers who demolish without proper approval and building owners who are guilty of demolition by neglect, but not by architects. There is a lot of oversight and review during the planning phase of projects in historic districts, but we need to allocate sufficient funds to improve code enforcement at existing buildings.
Is it too early to say what the post-Hurricane Katrina building boom will do to the overall cityscape?
No, it’s not too early. A quick ride around the city will wholesale jerseys China show you that many improvements have already been realized and many more are shaping up. The most obvious change in the cityscape is the new biomedical district, but there are improvements and growth in all parts of the city, including the lakefront, Central City, Bywater, the Central Business District and new access to the riverfront. One vast improvement that is a little more subtle is the improved bike access in every part of the city.