There are a couple of new projects on the horizon, and although I’ve been working as a sole-practitioner the past couple of years, the new things are looking to be collaborations with other people. This is not a bad thing. Some of it is building on previous work on a project I started a couple years ago, and another is an opportunity to collaborate with another local, sole-practitioner.

Following on with the very successful addition to the Corner Brewery (and the significant energy efficiency building upgrades that were carried out) several of the people involved in that project are continuing to work together to provide consulting services for other beer-making operations. There was enough press about the project for the Corner that other breweries have called them to find out about doing similar sorts of things for their own facilities.

By way of a little backstory, one of the things I had thought about doing as a possible thesis project when I applied to grad school was something involving a brewery. The law had recently changed in Michigan at the time, and the first brew pub in Ann Arbor was getting under way. I thought that my recent interest in homebrewing might lead to working on brewpubs as a specialty, and I think I harbored some hope that I would be able to work on the first brewpub in Ann Arbor, though that didn’t happen. (I was working in a print shop before going back to grad school, and some of the early plans for Grizzly Peak came through the place while I was there. It ended up getting built while I was off at school.) Still, I continued as a homebrewer, and I really enjoyed it when the opportunity to work with the Corner Brewery came along, especially since it was a project that combined two aspects that were (and are) of particular interest to me: brewing and green building.

That whole experience had me thinking once more about working on breweries and related projects. It turns out, as I mentioned, that Jarett Diamond – the guy who served as the project manager for the entire Corner Brewery renovation project (and the storage addition I worked on was just one facet of that whole larger undertaking) – has gotten some inquiries about consulting on other projects. It’s something he wants to pursue, as well. The two of us have talked about working together on some of these things. He has gotten a lot of first hand experience with a number of the mechanical systems involved, for both the brewing process as well as building operations. He’s also gotten very familiar with the incentives and programs to encourage energy efficient building and renovation. My contributions to the team will be in providing architectural and building-related expertise, energy modeling, and other general green systems knowledge. There are a couple other people we’ll work with who have specific knowledge about brewery operations and brewing equipment (which is an order of complexity above and beyond simple homebrewing).

The other collaboration that is starting is with another local architect with a sole-practitioner practice. Maria Kook and I have a lot of parallels in our professional lives. We both came to Ann Arbor at about the same time, although neither of us attended the University of Michigan. We both worked for different firms in town, and it’s a little surprising that it took so long for us to cross paths with one another. She has been working on her own for about the same period of time as I have, and, in addition to working on AIA-related activities, we’ve been getting together periodically to stay in touch about running our respective firms.

[last paragraph removed for editing and revision; to be returned when re-written -psp]

While this blog has mostly been reposting articles I’ve written for other publications, since that has been a lot of what I have been doing, the intent in setting up the blog was to use it to talk about projects that I’m working on. There is still not much in the way of real architecture going on, but there are a couple other things I am doing these days.

First of all, I have written a LEED continuing education article for Red Vector. (I don’t think there’s any bound I am crossing by mentioning this; it’s supposed to be published eventually, and they wanted me to write it under my own name and as a practicing architect and a LEED AP.) I still haven’t heard much from them since I turned in the completed draft; and I was at first concerned that there was a problem with it. The editor there has just been busy and this has not been the most important thing on his plate. I’m not sure how it’s going to be published or when it will be available, but sooner or later it should be out there. I’ll post a link once it’s available.

I’ve also recently put together a proposal to do some LEED consulting for a manufacturing facility in New Jersey. I think I came up with a decent proposal, but they contacted me last week and indicated that their architect was now looking to work with a local consultant. That makes some sense, of course, but I still feel a little bit put out for putting together a proposal for a project that wasn’t going to be awarded to anyone. I suppose that’s the nature of the business, though.

I am doing some consulting for the State of Arkansas with a program they are administering for grants to promote energy efficiency and improvements for municipalities and counties in the state. It’s similar to the EPA consulting I did last year, but this is more practically oriented, with funds being allocated for applications instead of research and development projects. I got a box full of grant applications earlier this week, and I have to go through and read all the proposals and then score them.

Lastly, I have had a couple meetings with a local organization who are looking at moving their offices, and have asked me to help them evaluate a building they are considering. Right now, it’s just some consultation with an eye toward greening and improving the building they would potentially be moving into. But, I think there is a possibility that, if this were to go forward, I would at least have a chance to get to do some further work with them.