9 Key Architecture Terms to Know

The process of building a custom structure can be overwhelming on many levels, and some might even find it intimidating. If you have never been through the process before, it could elicit a little bit of fear and get you out of your comfort zone.

One of the ways to alleviate any anxiety you might have is to do your research, especially when it comes to the lingo used in the industry. To help guide you through this process, below is a list of architectural terms and some basic definitions you should familiarize yourself with prior to starting the journey of your build:

ARCHITECTURE
The art of designing a building that is to be constructed.

ARCHITECTURAL SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION (ASI)
These are additional instructions or interpretations added to architecture plans.

BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING (BMI)
The digital modeling of a building or structure, usually done on a computer. This model often gives you a 3D rendering of the project.

EGRESS
A pathway to exit a building. These are emergency escape routes from the inside of the building to the outside.

FAÇADE
The face or outside of a building. It could be used to describe all sides, but in some cases only refers to the side that faces the street.

OCCUPANCY
How the building is intended to be used once complete.

PIER
The upright support of a structure.

TIME AND MATERIALS
Time and Materials (T&M) contracts are drawn up to outline the project when it comes to pricing and timeline.

VENEER
A thin sheet of material that is added to the exterior of a building. This is often wood, metal, stucco, brick, or even plastic.

Making Your Custom Home Sustainable

One of the biggest misconceptions about those who are looking to build their dream home is that they have money to waste. They can obviously afford to build a custom home, so money is definitely not a concern, right? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are custom home buyers often working on a tight budget, but many of them are very conscious about waste and its effect on the environment.

For the custom home buyers who are keeping an eye on their expenses, it is usually advantageous to incur upfront costs on sustainable features in order to save more money down the road. The most glaring example is the addition of solar panels, but there are a number of other ways that you can optimize your home to be efficient, both financially and environmentally.

TANKLESS WATER HEATERS

The number of benefits of installing a tankless water heater far outweighs the initial cost of the product. They are much more energy efficient than traditional water heaters and it will drastically cut down on your water usage as you won’t have to wait as long for hot water. They also last about twice as long as traditional water heaters and they take up much less space.

DUAL FLUSH TOILETS

With more than 80% of the toilets that are sold in North American being dual flush, it is safe to say they are no longer the future, but more the present. These toilets save almost two gallons per flush, accounting for literally trillions of gallons saved since their inception. They cut down on your water bill, and if you live in places like California or Arizona, where there’s a water supply crisis, they are a must-have to do your part in conservation.

NATURAL LIGHTING

The design of your custom home, in itself, is another way to save money and energy.  Adding additional windows to allow for more natural light can considerably cut down on your monthly electric bill. The evolution of modern architecture has made way for concepts like full-glass facades and storefront glass systems to provide natural daylighting in buildings. These features can be complemented by automated shades that limit the amount of natural light and cut down on energy costs for buildings that get direct sunlight.

Things to Know When Building a Custom Home

Starting the process of building your dream custom home can be both an exciting and daunting experience, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Aside from the necessary hoops you need to jump through to secure the needed financing for the project, there are still a number of additional steps that can become frustrating if you have not done your research.

The construction of any building is a very involved process, so the more you know about each step can help you avoid any pitfalls along the way. Those pitfalls usually translate to higher costs, and the more custom you look to make your home, the more you can expect costs to start piling up if you haven’t done your homework.

SOURCE LOCAL BUILDING MATERIALS

One of the ways future custom homeowners drive up the price of their builds is by choosing materials that need to be sourced overseas. With the recent backlog in the supply chain, you could be waiting on materials quite some time. Not only will this add to the timeline of your project, but shipping costs have skyrocketed over the past two years. Securing materials from outside of the United States will weigh heavily on your bottom line.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT GOING IN

To put it simply, do your research. Understand what you want going into the process and make sure that you can not only afford it, but that it is a decision with which you are comfortable. Last-minute changes at any step of the project can be costly on a number of levels. Design or material changes, as well as additions can cause significant delays, and therefor drive up the cost considerably.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BUILDER

Making the commitment to building your dream home should be reciprocated by a builder that is committed to doing it right. Not only that, but you want to make sure whatever construction firm you choose, they have experience in the residential sector. Since this home was originally your vision, you will have to work hand-in-hand with this general contractor, so it may be a good idea to choose one that has an in-house architecture department. This will ensure the process is not only streamlined, but done in a seamless way where the architect and general contractor are always on the same page.

Commercial Interior Design: The Shift to Minimalism

Most people have heard the term “minimalism” and are very familiar with at least a basic understanding of it. The term is very popular in the world of interior design where it refers to a prominent style for furnishing commercial spaces like hotels, restaurants, and offices. What many do not know, however, is that another concept exists called “maximalism”, and while it was once the more prevalent, its popularity has waned.

It is no secret that minimalism has become the more dominant of the two, especially over the last couple of decades. A majority of hotels, restaurants, and offices have made the shift to minimalist interior designs, and it is even evident in the rebranding of their logos. The 21st Century has brought with it the need to be more sleek and polished.  

Put simply, minimalism is done with purpose through clean lines and open spaces, while maximalism can often give the impression of clutter through the use of space for decorative elements. Evidence of the shift from maximalism to minimalism can be seen in the following areas:

HOTELS

It doesn’t take long to notice the minimalist décor of a hotel, in fact, the moment one enters the lobby, it’s evident all around them. Without stripping the necessary amenities, hotels have taken their lobbies and created open spaces that serve as communal areas. Inside the guest rooms, there are simple color schemes between the different elements of the room. The patterned wallpaper and carpeting have either been replaced with a single color, or the patterns are much more simple. The same applies to the bedspreads and curtains. The furniture often has a smaller footprint, and it is purely there for functional purposes or not at all. Take for example the nightstand. What was once a full piece of furniture has been replaced by sometimes just a single drawer that is attached to the wall.

RESTAURANTS

The food service industry is, perhaps, where one can see the most drastic shift when it comes to interior design. During the 1980’s, it became very popular for restaurants to fill almost every inch of their walls with décor. Even hospitality concepts like T.G.I. Friday’s have exchanged their trademark flair for a more smart look. From high-end dining to fast food, there have been almost no exceptions for this shift to minimalism. Restauranteurs have even scaled back on the amount of tables and chairs to create a more open, breathable atmosphere – a strong testament to the idea that less is, in fact, more. 

OFFICES

Team morale and productivity are certainly two of the most important factors to consider when designing an office. Fortunately, the concept of minimalism lends itself to both. Because of this, many businesses have adopted an open floor plan to increase the amount of collaboration and general interaction between team members. The simplistic, no frills approach also conveys an air of professionalism and efficiency, which is another reason for the shift to a more minimalist office theme.

A Brief Forecast of the Construction Industry Q2 2022

The construction industry in the Southwest continues to follow a positive trajectory. Growth is occurring across almost every commercial construction sector, namely industrial, office, mixed-use, retail/hospitality, healthcare, and adaptive re-use/tenant improvement. While both the office and retail sector were hit hard by the pandemic, they have both since recovered.

Confidence has returned to the construction industry and the growth is forecasted to continue, but not without its fair share of obstacles:

CONSTRUCTION LABOR
When COVID hit and the shutdown took place, many of the older workers used it as an opportunity to enter early retirement. Without having enough younger workers to replace them, especially in the more skilled construction trades, many general contractors are placing more emphasis on training and mentorship to fill that gap.

SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES
Even though demand for construction projects remains high across the United States, the challenge of sourcing building materials continues to linger. Every sector continues to be affected by these supply chain issues, and the newly-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will compound these issues for nongovernment construction projects.

COST OF BUILDING MATERIALS
Inflation and other factors have continued to drive up the costs on all building materials. Over this past year, we have seen a 20 percent increase in the overall cost of these materials. Skyrocketing gas prices have also contributed to the cost of doing business. As the ongoing war in the Ukraine continues to unfold, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that this problem will be alleviated any time soon. Not only have general contractors been forced to find creative solutions to sourcing their construction materials, but they also need to find alternative ways to ship them.

Mixed-Use Project Looking to Add Life to Downtown Gilbert

The already vibrant downtown area of Gilbert, Ariz., will soon get another injection of excitement with the highly anticipated arrival of Heritage Park. LGE Design Build is planning to construct this massive mixed-use project on 10 acres of prime real estate in the popular Heritage District for the Phoenix-based developer, Creation

After serving as the general contractor for a number of other buildings (see below) in Downtown Gilbert, LGE will be constructing five stories of office space, totaling 150,000 square feet, along with 30,000 square feet of retail. This is all in addition to a residential structure that will include approximately 290 units, as well as a five-story hotel. 

“This is the largest contiguous property in that area,” said David Sellers, Creation Co-Founder and LGE President/CEO. “What we’ve tried to do is create an extension of the Heritage District.”

The name of the project, Heritage Park, is derived from the open greenspace that will be centrally located within the mixed-use site. This park area will include a structure that looks like the top of the landmark Gilbert water tower, which sits just to the south of the property. This structure, along with the other mixed-use buildings, will be a nod to Gilbert’s historic past with a modern twist and will be consistent with the existing properties in the district.

The speed limit on Gilbert Road, which runs down the center of the Heritage District, is 25 miles per hour and provides great visibility for the businesses located there. Because most of the already-existing patio areas are facing the street, the energy of the district is more than evident, and LGE’s upcoming, mixed-use construction project will only enhance that lively feel. 

“Really, at the end of the day, we want it be a true mixed-use environment,” said Sellers. “We want it to be where people live, where they work, where they visit, with the hotel. There’s going to be amazing restaurants, vibrant patios – a mix of uses, a mix of retailers.”

This project, which has been a few years in the making, immediately saw delays during the approval process due to the pandemic. The developer, Creation, and LGE Design Build worked hand-in-hand with the Town of Gilbert to push the project through. 

“I think the involvement we had with the town yielded a better plan than we started out with,” said Sellers. “You would think going into it, on Day One we got it right, but there was a lot of good input from the Town and from their staff, and what we have today is a phenomenal plan. And a lot of kudos go to the Town and their staff.”

With the delays now behind them, a groundbreaking on Heritage Park is expected to be taking place very soon. LGE Design Build is looking forward to constructing this new piece of Gilbert’s bright future while also tipping a hat to their historic past. 

Check out some of our other buildings we built in the Heritage District: Dierks Bentley Whiskey Row, The Porch, Postino East, Snooze, Oregano’s, Zinburger, Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles, Pomo Pizzeria, Level 1 Arcade Bar, Clever Koi, and The Collab (mixed-use office building). 

Defining Modern Architecture

The word “modern” has been used as an adjective for many things throughout history. The word is derived from Latin and dates back to the 16th century. This means that for five centuries, people have been describing new concepts as “modern.”

There’s been phrases like “modern music,” “modern art,” and “modern style” thrown around since the inception of this word. So, how do we define things that are “modern” and when does something stop being “modern”? Perhaps, that is why one may think there is not a consensus on what “modern architecture” truly consists of.

With time, what we consider “modern” often changes. What was considered “modern architecture” in the 20th century is a far cry from what is considered “modern architecture” in the 21st century. Much of the architecture in the 20th century, which was often an homage to past styles, has been rejected by modern architects, who set out to forge their own path for design. This begs the question, now, in 2022: What defines “modern architecture?”

MODERN BUILDING MATERIALS
When taking into account what has changed in architecture over the years, one of the most obvious answers is building materials. The advent of manufactured steel and durable glass has revolutionized how structures are built and look. One has to look no further than a skyscraper to see an example of how drastically different buildings look from a century ago. While steel was originally used to establish the internal structure, it has become more evident in exteriors with exposed steel-framed buildings, and thus a newer element of modern architecture. Glass, which was first used just for windows, now makes up the entire façade in many modern buildings and allows for another element of modern design, which is natural light.

OPEN SPACE
Anyone who has ever stayed in an old hotel or watched a game in an old stadium can tell you that modern architecture embraces the idea of open space as opposed to the buildings of the past. Functionality and efficiency still play large roles in the designs of modern buildings, however, many architects now allow for expansive open areas. This trend is most evident in office buildings, where open floor plans have become the preferred layout. 

MINIMALIST DESIGN
The level of detail in modern design is incredibly simple compared to almost every other era of architecture. Whether it be the Romans, Greeks, or even 20th Century American architecture, intricate designs dominated not only the exteriors of buildings, but the interiors as well. The adverse is true for modern architecture which boasts simple designs of both. 

CLEAN LINES
Bold and simplistic geometric shapes have become the calling card of modern architecture, especially for the exteriors of modern buildings. These buildings feature obvious inspiration from the Art Deco movement which began in the mid-1920’s. Basic flat roofs and clean angles are drawn from classic mid-century modern looks made famous by architects like Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright. 

Cost of Construction Materials to Remain High

The good news for the construction industry is that the market is beginning to have some semblance of what it looked like prior to the pandemic. Most of the halted projects during 2020 have either been built or are in the process of construction right now. On the surface, it appears as if the construction industry has returned to normal, with the exception of one thing – cost.

RISING COSTS OF BUILDING MATERIALS
Across the board, the prices of building materials have increased – some much more than others. General contractors could only watch on as the price of materials rose nearly 20% in 2021. From this past November through March, we witnessed a massive increase of 10.6 percent in that short span.

THE CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AFFECTED THE MOST
Inflation is a constant, no matter what industry you are in, but the unprecedented levels in the construction industry has general contractors rethinking not only how they source their materials, but how they build their projects. The cost of certain building materials has risen exponentially compared to others. Atop the list is steel pipe and tube, which has increased nearly 60% from one year ago. Copper and lumber aren’t very far behind at nearly 50 percent, with metal bar joists just over 40%. 

OTHER ISSUES AFFECTING SOURCING FOR GENERAL CONTRACTORS
Just as signs of recovery from the pandemic began to show, another global issue took hold of the construction industry. The ongoing war in the Ukraine has created yet another hurdle for general contractors when it comes to the cost of building materials. The rising cost of fuel has translated to higher shipping costs and delivery delays. When you add in recent natural disasters and the various supply chain issues, the construction industry has seen a “perfect storm” when it comes to material costs. 

Multi-Building Development in Haltom City, Texas, Complete

Dallas (August 19, 2021) – LGE Design Build, a full-service commercial general contractor with an in-house architecture firm, recently completed construction on 820 Exchange in Haltom City, Texas. 

820 Exchange is a four-building development that is made up of nearly 1 million square feet of industrial distribution space and features clean-cut modern design, state-of-the-art industrial amenities and first-rate access to key transportation routes. 

Aerial footage of 820 Exchange.

This best-in-class, multi-building development has top-of-the-line industrial amenities. It has best-of-market clear height and loading area dimensions, complete with contemporary finishes. The office entrances on each building are clad in a Texas limestone, adding a raw aesthetic to the structure. The limestone bricks used in the construction were sourced from local quarries.

Watch 820 Exchange being tilted.

“I am proud of our construction team for completing this massive project on time, in spite of many challenges,” said Grant Blunt, Vice President of Construction for LGE Design Build. “Not only did we complete this project during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we also had to endure the Texas power crisis and corresponding freeze in February and develop creative solutions to stay on track after numerous rain delays. We would not have been able to shift and adapt to these challenges without the collaboration we saw from our construction teams, subcontractors and the City of Haltom.”

Located between Beach St. and Haltom Road, just south of Interstate 820, the business park has near immediate highway accessibility and is only four miles north of Fort Worth’s bustling downtown. Haltom City has been named as one of the fastest growing and fourth largest metro areas in the U.S. 

LGE Design Build served as the general contractor on this project. LGE Design Group was the architect.