This Week: Travis R. Bartlett: Principal at MAHG Architecture of Fort Smith.
Travis R. Bartlett is president of the Arkansas chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
How did you get involved in this field? As a child I really enjoyed drawing and building things. As a teen I had the opportunity during the summer to work for a friend's father, a homebuilder, which really allowed me to understand how a set of drawings becomes a building. Being an architect just seemed like a natural fit. When I started my first semester at the Fay Jones School of Architecture & Design, I knew I had chosen the right field of study and in the long run a profession that has allowed me to carry on drawing and building.
MAHG Architecture is among the oldest architecture companies in Arkansas. Does a long company history create any advantages for a company? Disadvantages? We draw from our history and experiences. It is commonplace for MAHG to be selected for a renovation or addition to a building that our firm had originally designed. We feel like we have an opportunity to inject new life into these older buildings and allow them to continue serving the public. It gives me a sense of pride to see our firm's name on an old building. I actually don't see any disadvantages to being one of the oldest architecture firms in Arkansas--we express it as a positive. We have the long-standing experience as our foundation united with a forward-thinking design approach. The result is a collaborative process that is creative, inclusive and data-driven.
What's the role of sustainable design in architecture these days? Has it just become integral to any design project? We made a decision as an architecture firm a number of years ago to integrate sustainable design principles into every project MAHG designs. It really has become a part of our design DNA--it's who we are. We embrace the process and advocate that good design and sustainability go hand-in-hand. We strive to be practical and design in a way that is energy-efficient and cost-effective for our clients.
How has technology changed the architect's role? Technology has most definitely changed the way we do our work. The technology we use today to design and produce drawings for construction is vastly different than 10 years ago. We essentially design and build a building in a virtual environment. We convey the design to our clients three-dimensionally and are able to produce two-dimension drawings for contractors to do the actual construction. While technology is key to our everyday process, nothing can replace a simple roll of tracing paper and a pen. That is where multiple ideas and iterations are produced and is still where the big idea to the simplest detail can come to life.
What's your favorite architect-designed building? That's a tough list to narrow down to one. There are so many well-designed buildings just in Arkansas. If I had to narrow it down to one though, I would have to go with Thorncrown Chapel by Fay Jones. It truly is an iconic piece of architecture.
Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.