Specialist Spotlight: Curtis Miner, AIA, NCARB
Years of experience set the stage for a role as leader and specialist
Curtis Miner, AIA, NCARB, is a Principal at Curtis Miner Architecture.
When Curtis founded Curtis Miner Architecture (CMA) in 1998, he relied on his background in residential and commercial design, built on both work experience and degrees from the University of Utah. His years of experience set the stage for his role as an exemplary leader and the firm’s commercial specialist.
While the term commercial in the architecture, engineering and construction industry can be a very broad category, for CMA, it covers office, retail, and light industrial projects. For these types of projects, an architect must work closely with the client and the approving agencies to deliver a successful project. For Curtis and his team, a successful project starts with listening. “Often, the client says they need a certain type of project. An architect may be tempted to take a project he’s designed before and rework it,” he says. “We don’t do that at CMA. We listen very carefully and ask a lot of questions. Only when we understand the design issues and opportunities for that specific client on that specific project do we begin design work.”
One of his favorite recent projects was the renovation of the 1890s Star Mill in American Fork for Skipio, a young, progressive e-commerce company. “Once we understood the client’s desire to retain the original character of the Mill but also create an active, hip work environment, we got to work!” The design included a seismic upgrade, the addition of new office space using methods and materials that matched the character of the original Mill, and the addition of some modern, new offices and furniture for contrast. “The juxtaposition of the old and new was part of the fun,” he says.
There’s also the Security Metrics project. Curtis enjoyed it for its innovative use of an open floor plan. CMA’s commercial team proposed inverting the traditional office layout by placing offices in the core and cubicles around the perimeter for better access to daylight for the whole team. This type of design is more common now, but as Curtis puts it, “when we did this it was a new way of thinking about how to make each person in that team reach their full potential.”
You may notice that Curtis never takes sole credit. He believes in teams, in assimilating input from all perspectives to create solutions. “Great commercial buildings are very rarely the result of one person’s idea. With everyone’s input we can develop a design solution that responds to all the forces and influences on a particular project, and that’s better. We have to be creative about our design decisions, understand how to really communicate with people, and exceed expectations to create great projects.”