Few of us know what we want to be when we grow up. But every once in a while, something will strike a chord within.
I knew by the time I was a freshman in high school that I wanted to be an architect, Stroh said. As a child, he played with Lincoln Logs and Legos, which helped him realize that designing buildings was what he wanted to do with his life.
Started in 1987 and based in Prescott, Arizona since 1992, Stroh Architecture, Inc. has been at the forefront of many projects over the years that include hundreds of municipal and Native American government buildings.
Stroh has been an architect since 1975 when he graduated from the University of Nebraska. He designs commercial, industrial and public sector buildings. I have also done some historical preservation projects, he said.
Stroh is moving part of his architectural firm to Mancos in partnership with Jim Cody, who has already overseen, and been involved with, much of the construction on Strohs designs. Weve worked together for a while, and when I saw that they were taking bids for the housing in Towaoc, I called him!, said Cody. He is in the middle of designing housing for the Ute Mountain Ute tribe in Towaoc.
While Stroh doesnt have a particular style, like some architects do, he is very particular about making sure the buildings he designs are ecologically sustainable and that they stay within the customers budget. The houses I design will use 50 percent less energy and many have passive solar designs in them as well, Stroh said. He also uses many maintenance-free materials in his buildings, which helps keep the operating costs down.
Each one is a challenge, said Stroh. Each project has its positive aspects. I really like designing for the public sector.
On the public sector projects, Stroh said, there are anywhere from 10 to 15 people that you have to work with. There will be three or four design meetings to hash out what the people want, and many times the board, or committee that hes working with has to come to an agreement on what they want.
On private residences, however, there are only one or two people - the owners. Its important that we listen to what the customer wants, said Cody. Each of the projects is specific to the owner and we want to make sure we listen to their needs and desires. They each have their own lifestyle.
Stroh likes not having a specialty when it comes to his designs. I have a clean palate every time I start a project. Each one is custom-designed for the board or individual that I design it for, he said. He particularly likes to pay attention to what each customer wants and make the design specifically for them.
Stroh has seen a few changes in architecture since he started out in 1975, he said. The biggest change is in the sustainability of the materials, he said, which are slowly redeveloping. Cody also said that there have been changes in the ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliance and access with all of the buildings. They have been good changes for the people who need them, but, as builders and designers, we have to make compromises, too. Also, said Cody, the lighting has changed, too. With the outdoor lighting, we cant have the sky pollution, and so its not as bright as it used to be, he said.
Another big change to the architecture business, said Stroh, is the computer software he uses that enables his customers to see what a building, a room or even a view will look like before the building is constructed. Its a fun tool, to be able to show people what something will look like, even from a window, said Stroh. It gives the customer a look at more of what they want.
Since bringing his business to Mancos in January, Stroh has been in Mancos two or three times a month, he said, or as much as he is needed. I plan to be either here or in Prescott, he said. Most of Strohs designs are for buildings and homes in Arizona and Nevada, but he hopes to design more buildings in this area.
Stroh can be reached by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Codys office at 970-533-1185.