Interview with Seattle's own Vandervort Architects

Interview with Seattle's own Vandervort Architects

by Hina, Aki & Yuki of KMEW Japan


While in the Seattle area, CERACLAD had the opportunity to conduct a brief interview with our client, Vandervort Architects. They shared with us their year-long discussion about incorporating CERACLAD panels into their projects and how they finally implemented our products in their current project. Through this interview, we gained insights into CERACLAD's impressions and market trends from the perspective of an American architect. The interviewers, Yuki, Hina, and Aki from our KMEW headquarters in Japan, bring several years of experience in development work. We aim to incorporate their insights into our development efforts in Japan.


Q: How do you come up with the design for the exterior of your building?

Mark: We do a lot of multifamily in Seattle. Brian and I do this kind of thing, like what we call ground-related. Like townhomes and row houses, and we do some apartment buildings. A lot of form decisions are limited by the zoning codes, so it depends on what you can build on that site. Beyond that, I think that a lot of times with our building forms, with townhouses and row houses, it's about expressing individual dwelling units. So that's a big part of our form decision process. I think also taking some cues from the neighborhood in terms of like, if you're trying to work with a form that's more sympathetic at older neighborhood that maybe has cables, or maybe a more contemporary, sleek form that's in a more modern part of the city. And then, of course, it might be driven by the owners, what the owners like to see and reflecting what the owners want to do with the project.

Brian:  yeah, I’d like to say constraints and density. So people want to be really aggressive, they had a density target, and that kind of drives a lot of stuff. Because once you hit a certain density, you kind of gotta go “wall to wall”. A lot of times views in our city will dictate, because you'll have some nice views out to the lake from homes, so that might drive a form decision as well.


2. What are some of the popular architectural design trends you’re observing in today’s society?

Mark: I think people like contemporary design, but I think there's been a little more of a turn towards making the forms a little more traditional, like so there's more of a dialogue between something that's modern, contemporary and sort of tying it back with historical forms.

Dave Sommer: organic type materials? Are you seeing more of a trend towards that?

Mark: Custom clients would probably say yes. Typically, our developers are looking for something “Affordable and maintainable.”

Dave: but doesn’t look cheap

Mark: yeah, so we are seeing things like this - with the wood grain happening in fiber cement. We are seeing that used sometimes, probably not our first choice but I think that just goes towards people’s wanting to see more texture and a natural material.


3. What kind of exterior material do you prefer to use?

Mark: Oh it would totally depend on the project. I don't really have a lot of limits on that. I can see brick. Stripe design projects with brick, with wood, metal. I think it really depends on what you're trying to do at the site and at the project.

Brian: The type of project- What Dave and them might do on a custom is very different from what we do on a multifamily which is driven by the ownership.


We thank Mark, Brian and Dave for letting us ask our questions and taking us their time. We really enjoyed listening to your experience and getting your thoughts on our product.

~ Yuki, Hina & Aki

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