When Indoor is Outdoor

We recently completed a restaurant project for an owner that wanted a space to function as both interior dining/bar and an exterior covered deck. How can a restaurant achieve both, one might ask? Through the use of materials suitable for exterior use like porcelain tile floors and cypress wood walls and a commercial line of outdoor furniture from a residentially known company, we achieved this duality of spaces. Glazing opens up the spaces and welcomes the outdoor environment inside. Sliding glass doors that disappear into a pocket give total flexibility to the space connecting it to an adjacent covered deck. When closed, they allow for a conditioned space, but visually allowing the patron to see outside. Large double glass doors stay open during temperate climates, but when closed, again remind diners where they are, close to the water. It is possible to achieve both types of spaces in one design.

You never would have guessed

One thing architects strive for is to create new or updated architectural features. We look for opportunities for new shapes, materials, forms or even entire systems. The challenge is often related to modern technology, modern day desires or even the architect’s or client’s wish to simply be different.  However, in a recent project, we found an ironic twist to this “new age” challenge of being beyond creative.  For the renovation of the Mar Vista restaurant, an old fishing shack turned popular Florida restaurant, we chose to match the existing weathered cypress siding rather than create some new material.  Those new features happen in the interior and in other ways throughout the exterior.  But … in the process of determining how to go about recreating weathered wood, the contractor had an extremely creative and simple solution.  Vinegar and steel wool pads.  New material … old look … way simple solution.  Sometimes, you just never would have guessed.

Repetition in Architecture

It always amazes me that some of the most interesting walls or ceilings or trellises are created by taking a simple shape or material and repeating it over and over again.  Ultimately, the end result reinvents the original piece in an abstract, but well defined, building element. The patterns become kinetic objects that a person experiences, both visually and often physically. The fact that a wall can be made of hundreds of single elements placed in a repetitive pattern and manipulated to create a three dimensional relationship rather than a single material used in its normal form is an amazing opportunity to take advantage of when one designs. The array of materials and opportunities can appeal to both artistic architects looking to create magazine inspired photos and residential feature walls for the average homeowner. The materials are endless and the patterns are infinite.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP

Variations on a Theme

From above: Proposed Trespa 3-dimensional Facade – office building; Trespa shelving system for cat pods – scheduled completion, July 2009; Proposed canopy design – underside of canopy in Trespa wood-look material.


There are many products on the market that allow architects to enhance a building’s facade.  As other projects come online with different requirements, we find the ability to use these same products, but in different applications. By thinking creatively and imaginatively, we find opportunities within a single material that provides an array of incredible solutions for multiple design challenges.

Barron Schimberg, AIA LEED AP

Let it flow…Let it flow…Let it flow

Examples of water features designed by accomplished sculptor, Eric Higgs, in collaboration with The Schimberg Group, Inc. (clockwise from above: Conceptual entry sculpture for commercial building, Florida; Entry feature at Whole Foods Market, Sarasota, Florida; Residential entry sculpture, Sarasota, Florida)


Whether residential or commercial, aesthetically integrating water into a building’s design instills calmness and tranquility to its occupants.  Water evokes emotion, whether we hear it, see it, or are sub-consciously aware of it.  By utilizing water in design, the architect can connect the building to its context, provide a visual stimulation at the entry, reflect light in unique, interesting patterns or minimize noise pollution through water’s consistent sound frequency.  The result provides a positive environmental impact on our well being and lives.

Barron Schimberg, AIA LEED AP