news - December 2019
Eric Meets Eric
An architect and technology designer realize the need to collaborate on future projects as part of a design-build team.
By Steve Panosian
Since joining Technology Designer Magazine in October, it’s both fascinating and eye-opening as I network into the various worlds involved with designing and building a home, commercial property, or a multiple-dwelling project (MDU). What started off with my asking fundamental questions about passive house designs and clean air solutions, morphed into a journey where I found myself introducing two people to each other. One an architect and the other a technology designer. Both have long careers in their respective worlds of expertise, and both had reached a point where the need to collaborate as part of a design-build team on future projects had become more apparent than ever.
Eric Davenport, AIA CPHC, LEAP Architecture Founder and Chief Architect, is based out of Manhattan, with projects spanning NYC to the lower Adirondacks. LEAP’s core projects have included commercial and residential new construction, award winning remodels, and a passionate focus on designing efficient and healthier living spaces. Eric’s wife, Claire Davenport, MD BS, Geriatrician Consultant is a Geriatrician, Researcher, Bioethicist and Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. With expertise in both home care with Hospital at Home and inpatient healthcare delivery at Mount Sinai, Claire recognizes how design directly influences the health trajectories of people in all spaces – within the clinic, the home, and the hospital. Claire has also seen the impact of design on the throughput, efficiency, education and safety of healthcare workers. Eric and Claire’s objective for designs combine healing, healthcare systems knowledge, and aesthetic sensibilities that support interconnectivity, inclusivity and wellness.
Eric Smith, Founder and President of Intech Audio Video, is based in Hicksville, NY and serves the tri-state area with most of his projects in Manhattan and Long Island. Project scopes include both residential and commercial that are supported by a full design and install staff. Eric’s technology design team comprises a Project Manager, Sales and Design Manager, and industry trained install technicians. Intech has two showrooms for entertaining clients and partners. The Hicksville, NY location is headquarters while the second location, in Water Mill, is a dedicated showroom featuring Whole Home Custom AV solutions for lighting, shades, HVAC, audio and video in addition to his exclusive HiFrame Mirror and Color Glass TV concealment designs. Intech has been recognized as a leading residential system integration firm for over a decade.
In speaking to them individually on separate topics, it became quite apparent that Eric must meet Eric, and here’s why:
LEAP Architecture: Aging in Place
Unique Design Team at LEAP Architecture includes a geriatrician!
In Eric and Claire Davenport’s case, they are pursuing the design and development of living spaces targeting the baby boomers. Their vision is based on a living-in-place design that includes technology solutions to integrate the home’s environment control along with communications for the family, the health care team, and the caregiver agency. Simplicity and integration are paramount. Davenport sees the immediate need to crack the code on Living in Place awareness, as he puts it: Educate the Tech Trades how to Market to Boomers!
Smart home technology has evolved into a rather sophisticated market, historically driven by the boomer generation. In Davenport’s mind, Boomers are life-long learners who want to know and be part of what’s happening in the world. They are active, like tech and toys, and data, but want to have control over privacy. His questions focus on the scope beyond entertainment and environment. “When I think of the technology design side”, Davenport asserts, “design must evolve to include safety and security for older adults.”
This is important because supporting health and wellness in living-in-place spaces will define a solution that must trigger personal care while simultaneously connecting to immediate families and medical agencies. Davenport recognizes this demographic’s independence and autonomy as they love being mentors. Technologists who provide a simplified smart platform would play an important part for them to share their life experiences with younger generations.
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In Eric Smith’s case, he found the need more so than ever to work with his customer’s architects and designers earlier in the planning process. The importance of the pre-wire phase and the final whole-house automation programming are best addressed through early collaboration. Intech AV has built their client list by developing a team of experts and his partnerships with leading brands of products and automated home solutions. Eric asserts, “Too many times we’ve sat with a design-build team that overlooked the necessary technology considerations and as a result it impacted the cost of a project and/or the project completion timeline.”
Eric Davenport and Eric Smith closed their first meeting with a better understanding for the need to collaborate on an upcoming project that will involve an automated home control solution that extends to integrate bio devices, lighting, shades and HVAC control, as well as room designs that will feature invisible speakers and the HiFrame mirror and colored glass product line. The HiFrame hides a TV screen when it’s not powered ON. They will be co-presenting their design visions to developers.
Eric and Eric agree that both architects and technology designers need to understand and integrate their respective processes. Their underlying learning experience from that initial meeting illustrates how many missed opportunities there are when design-build trades aren’t on the same page or are not reaching out to each other to collaborate.
My bet? This is a future best-practice case study in the making. I’ll keep you informed as to their progress.