Name: Patrick Ahearn FAIA
Company: Patrick Ahearn Architect LLC
Position within company: Principal
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc.)
I graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
For over 43 years, i have specialized in historically motivated architecture and interior design. With the majority of my projects located on historic Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and the Wellesley/Weston area of Massachusetts, these environments provide a rich and fertile background for the creation of classical timeless architecture, appropriate and in scale to each locale.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
I specialize in historically motivated architecture and interior design. I restore/renovate historical homes to adapt to the way families live today, yet maintain the original spirit of the age. I design newly constructed homes based on historical precedents to evoke an earlier era. Whether the home is newly constructed or a historical restoration, the home is rooted in its site, in scale with its surroundings, and looks and feels as though it has stood for a long time.
This is made possible through the art of “scripting” a storyline that invents the “implied history” of the home including how it may have grown over time or what may have caused the particular style of the house to be created. The concept of “scripting” allows one the opportunity to embrace the client’s more utilitarian program with a sense of history or timelessness that results in houses that look as natural and authentic as possible. If I am successful, at the end of the day you never really knew I was there.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
My work is inspired by the history of the past, while looking to the future and how people want to live today. I am also inspired by the energy created between the spaces and the buildings ultimately establishing a character and theme that is all based on human scale.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Recently, there has been a dramatic shift from formal to casual living, even in the luxury market. Historically, homes were frequently designed with the formal entertaining spaces at the heart of the home and the service areas, significantly smaller in size, located at the far end of the home operated by the hired help. Today, a home is rarely staffed, resulting in the service areas more commonly used by the homeowners. Kitchens have dramatically increased in size and are now considered the new heart of the home. No longer tucked away and closed off, the kitchen often opens out to the family room and dining area resulting in an open floor plan. The placement of these connected spaces encourages social interaction while fostering multiple activities and maximizes space. Formal living and dining rooms are slowly disappearing because they are no longer viewed as the center of family life or only used on special occasions.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2016 and beyond.
1. Surrounding Environment – The house should feel rooted in its site and be in scale with its surroundings.
2. Historical Influences
3. Clients’ Needs & Desires – How the client wants to live i.e. breakfast room to enjoy a small breakfast and coffee while reading the newspaper before starting the day.
4. Current Technology
5. Protection from Common Natural Disasters – flooding, hurricanes, erosion, etc.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design schemes, what would it be?
It is important to be cognisant of the scale of a space when choosing furniture, artwork, and accessories to avoid over embellishing the architecture that has already been established.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
The ID&A awards are important because they represent architects and architecture all over the world including a myriad of architectural styles based on historical influences, culture, local resources, variances in climates, modern technology, and how people want to live today.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a total of 65 projects. A significant amount of our projects are in the familiar Wellesley, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod area (Chatham in particular) however, we are also working in the Bahamas, Ohio, Michigan, and potentially Brisbane, Australia. One of our projects in Michigan includes a restoration of an old manor home in Grosse Pointe as well as the creation of new villas and carriage houses, in condominium form, to complement the original manor.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
My main goal for 2016 is to continue to develop the high quality of architecture and sense of place that my projects are known for, however in a greater market place. The international recognition from the International Design and Architecture Awards is important to accomplishing this goal.
Anything else interesting?
I grew up aspiring to be either an architect or a car designer. Car design and architecture are both art forms that balance line and form, character and scale, and appropriateness. Comparing the design process of both industries, results in astoundingly similar parallels including the physical creation of models and CAD drawings to the impact of market conditions on codes and safety requirements. The process of editing all of the information and still creating a unique product is very similar in both.
Similar to architecture, there is a secret about car design that correlates to the culture of the world at the time they were created. For example, in the 1950s, the flamboyant colours that were often found in architecture and furniture were also transposed into the design of cars. Some of my architecture is influenced by my hobby for studying and collecting classic cars. I feel fortunate to be able to incorporate both of my childhood dreams into what I do today and will continue to do.