Clarke shines a Designer Spotlight on Architect Adolfo Perez. Adolfo has won numerous awards, including a 2013 New England regional win in Sub-Zero and Wolf's Kitchen Design Contest and a First Place Contemporary win in the Clarke Kitchen Design Contest.
When did you know you wanted to be an architect?
My interest in architecture started my senior year in college. I went to a liberal arts college and got a broad education, but had always been good at drawing and visualizing things, so I took some design-related courses and really enjoyed them. That is when I truly began to understand what designers and architects did.
What are you passionate about?
As far as work goes, I‘m passionate about the craft of building well. So many people assume that architecture is just about the way a building, or project, looks. However, I like the deeper aspects of design, those aspects that involve not only artistry, but also craft. How things go together well is both an art and a craft.
What are your proudest accomplishments both inside and outside of work?
Outside work is easy; my family. I know it’s trite, but it’s also true. A lot of how I’ve set up my office has to do with a quality of life decision I made years ago. These decisions reflect my personality, as well as what I wanted professionally. My office is a mile from my home, so I’ve always been available for my kids. I drive them to school every morning, pick them up when necessary, etc.
As for work, I’m proud that I’ve been able to fashion an office that produces contemporary and modern work, something not so easy in the New England residential world.
What is your favorite material to use in kitchen design and why?
I’m partial to using rift white oak for cabinetry because I like the fact that it is a natural material. I like its consistency and the fact that the inherent quality of the grain provides the interest and beauty. It can be stained any number of tones (or colors) and works well with just about every other material.
Which Sub-Zero or Wolf appliance is your favorite and why?
Currently, I’d have to say the Sub-Zero Column Refrigerators and Freezers – they are just so simple and elegant looking. I also like the Sub-Zero PRO 48 Refrigerator.
Where do you get your inspiration when you start a project?
Tough question; it depends on a number of factors, primarily the site. If it is a large site, then I take inspiration from the locale, the views, the orientation of the sun. As far as the design, I’m inspired by the works or Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn, though I don’t think you can see their influence directly in my projects. It’s more that I admire the way they approached residential work as true architecture, worthy of serious thought.
Do you have a favorite project that you have designed? Why is it your favorite?
Well, I’d hate to have my clients think I play favorites, but one of my favorite kitchens was one that was selected for the Sub-Zero and Wolf Kitchen Design Contest a few years ago (see above and below). I favor this one because of the combination of different materials (oak, laminate and stainless steel cabinets, open steel shelves, concrete, resin and stainless steel countertops). I think I got the right balance between all of these without it seeming chaotic.
What project haven't you designed that you would love to work on?
Residentially, I’d love to work on a truly modern, abstract home. I think it would take a very confident client to know they can live comfortably in a house that is of our age. Otherwise, I’d love to work on an institutional building, maybe a library or a dorm for a small school or college. I say this because I think you need the backing of an institution to build something of quality that will last over time – something they want to live on as part of their physical legacy.
Please describe your own home in a few sentences.
I live in a modest, center-entrance colonial in a suburb of Boston. We renovated about 10 years ago, finishing the attic and basement so that the house is surprisingly large given its exterior. We also added a modern addition at the back – a breakfast room open to the kitchen which is where we “live” – with a sunlit roof monitor, allowing us to bring in light to what would otherwise be a dark, northern exposure.
Thanks to Architect Adolfo Perez for sharing his history and views with us. We look forward to seeing his next incredible project.