Serge’s practice is based in New York’s Hudson Valley and was founded in 2006. Serge thinks that good architecture has the ability to improve the quality of peoples’ lives. He believes that good architecture is achieved when all parties involved the client, architect and builder-are personally invested and have positive, honest working relationships. Serge feels strongly about maintaining an open and personal dialogue with his clients. Being a good listener, observer and communicator, Serge is able to decipher his client’s aspirations and develop fitting design solutions that are also appropriate to regional, historic, urban, and natural contexts. Serge takes pride in generating design solutions that surprise his clients and exceed their expectations.
In his work Serge strives to create spaces and places that inspire people, promote healthy living, connect people to the broader world and are sensitive to nature. Meticulously working out every detail, he aims to create elegant design solutions. The spaces people inhabit influence their moods and psychological well-being. Serge thoughtfully designs spaces with equal value placed on both the visual aesthetic and feeling of each space.
Serge likes to avoid buzz words like Sustainable or Green because he feels these terms are often abused and used for marketing purposes. Serge thinks that sustainable principles should inherently be part of good architecture and his training and personal ethics guide him to solutions that are Green in principle. Some of the simple, thoughtful principles he likes to employ include creating natural ventilation and strategic day-lighting. These design features are not seen but rather felt by people and often have little or no impact on budget.
Serge is a proponent of integrating sustainable technologies such as active and passive solar systems, geothermal heating and others into building design. Integrating these systems must be a shared vision with the client because they have direct budgetary impacts. Serge likes to specify materials from sustainable sources and construction systems that maximize energy efficiency. He also feels strongly about designing durable buildings with spirited spaces. If a building is thoughtfully designed, energy efficient, beautiful, durable and has great spaces it is likely to stand the test of time requiring minimal maintenance. These traits make a building sustainable because future resources will be conserved.
Loving the Hudson Valley:
Serge grew up in the Hudson Valley and currently lives and works in Beacon, New York. He loves the beauty of the local landscape and the region’s culture. Living near a large body of water is a prerequisite for Serge and the majestic Hudson River satisfies this need. Serge enjoys walking in the Hudson Highlands and Catskill Mountains and driving through the rural countryside. The region provides great cultural outlets. Beacon is home to many art galleries and the Dia Art Foundation. Many of the other towns and cities throughout the Hudson Valley have wonderful cultural offerings as well. There is a great repository of buildings to study ranging from the many vernacular forms to Frank Gehry’s Fisher Center at Bard College. Serge feels strongly about knowing the environment for which he is designing. Having lived in the region most of his life, he feels very comfortable working in the area and understands the local construction industry. Serge has spent his life studying the landscape and architecture in the Hudson Valley and they continue to influence and inspire his design sensibility.
All architects have been influenced by the work of other architects. Serge is a proponent for American architecture and is inspired by the great American Architects of the past. He is a big fan of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and E. Fay Jones and their magnificent contributions to architecture and the American landscape. Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright and E. Fay Jones were considered Organic Architects. They promoted architecture that seeks harmony between human habitation and the natural world. Integrating buildings to their sites was a common theme in their work. In many ways these architects were the first Green Architects because they were concerned with the impact their building projects had on the natural world. It is the sensibility of harmonizing buildings with their sites that Serge finds so compelling and he works hard to incorporate this in his work. He is always thinking of views, daylight and the impact of seasons on buildings.
Passionate About Architecture:
Architecture is not about a job for Serge. It’s a way of life. He is constantly studying architectural theory, building design and construction. From a very young age he became fascinated with construction. As a kindergartner he occasionally convinced his father, a carpenter, to take him out of school and to his job sites instead. During the summers through high school and college, Serge worked in construction. Serge’s passion for architecture has always extended beyond the classroom. He has travelled the country just to look at buildings. One of the highlights of Serge’s architectural studies included attending a week-long residency program at Fallingwater, the house built over a waterfall, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. During the program Serge was able to study Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece in depth.
Serge invests himself wholly into every project regardless of the scope. He continuously thinks about his projects, ever contemplating optimal design strategies and refinements. Many of the projects Serge works on are additions and renovations. He takes pride in the fact that he has worked on numerous projects in which a dilapidated, uninhabitable building was transformed and given new life. Serge believes everyone deserves good architecture and he thinks just as hard about projects with small budgets as he does for those with large.
Serge has a very strong technical background. This affords Serge the ability to generate beautiful designs and prepare the type of documentation required to turn the designs into reality. He has been involved with construction his entire life and is a competent woodworker. As a hobbyist, Serge has designed and built furniture and custom millwork for his own house. This hands-on experience helps him understand what builders need to execute a project. In his own practice and as a project architect for the well-known and established firms Crisp Architects and Ralph R. Mackin, Jr. Architects, Serge has gained extensive experience in residential architecture and small-scale commercial projects. When needed, Serge looks to trusted consultants he has worked with over the years to help him resolve technical problems.