House architecture is about people—about understanding how people live and interact with each other and their surroundings. Our opportunities to interact with our clients, our teams, and our own families shape our work and enable us to provide homes suited to the unique individual.
For Troy Howe, a project manager at our Kirkland architect firm, those relational opportunities often begin with adventure.
Hiking the Sierras
Troy recently returned from a five day, four night hike in the Sierra Nevada, beginning near Lake Tahoe.
“Getting out into the natural world is heaven for me,” he explains. “It’s a total respite, a chance to get away from the daily activities of life. I go into total peace mode, awe-inspired by the natural world.”
As it is with many of the team members in our Kirkland architect firm, the journey into nature is more than a simple escape. It’s integral to his work in home design.
“I’m always inspired when I go out. Our work is all about connecting with the natural environment we build in. When I’m in the mountains where there is no built form, I’m inspired, disconnected from all other distractions.”
Hiking is a means of inspiring his work in home designs. “Working with the house architecture that we create, we give immense consideration to each site, endeavoring to understand the natural environment and fit each home within that environment. The home and landscape should support each other, and the homeowners should feel connected to the outdoors. This is what backpacking helps me realize. I want to help our clients see that same natural beauty in the homes they inhabit.”
While Troy has hiked in the Sierras before, this journey was particularly special: he introduced his sons to the compelling beauty of this region. He shares that his family relationships help form how he approaches the distinct needs of Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl’s clients.
“I find it fascinating to watch my kids travel their own unique paths, to see their personalities and interests emerge and evolve. I get to watch them develop. Similarly, I’m beginning to look at everyone I interact with in that way. Everyone’s on their own unique path and has their own unique way of living. To discover their paths and see where they’re going is exciting. Taking that understanding and translating that into the place they call home is a special calling.”
That calling, that desire to create a sense of “home” for each client we work with, is one of the greatest inspirations for our team’s work. Troy explains, “Ever since I began in architecture, I’ve been focused on residential projects because they’re some of the most important design work. It’s creating the spaces that we live in. It’s the spaces we rejuvenate in, where we’re protected from all the noise out in the world. It’s a place to rest and retreat every night and every day. It’s so important. Now as I get older, this notion of understanding people and their unique ways and trying to translate that into the architecture of their home is a special thing. It’s a core part of our process. We ask questions then we sit back and listen to discover who each client is and what their needs are.”
Ultimately, our work is the extraordinary adventure of learning from and investing in relationships. And like all healthy relationships, our priority is the best interests of those we serve.