REAL ESTATE - INTERVIEW
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Richard M. Manion, Founder and President of Richard Manion Architecture Inc.
REAL ESTATE - INTERVIEW
by Meryem Aksoy
The houses and castles he built with toy blocks while he was a child were proof of his interest in architecture. He knew that he needs a good education to transform this interest into a profession. In 1984, Richard Manion received his architectural degree from Columbia University in New York, then his professional career began. He worked in two notable architectural firms in New York. And then, Richard decided to establish his own architectural firm in 2010. Richard Manion Architecture Inc. specializes in the design of very personal houses for the clients who would like to live in their dream houses. I asked Architect Richard M. Manion, AIA, Founder and President of Richard Manion Architecture Inc., in order to learn more about his architectural career and basics of architectural projects. Enjoy this interview.
Richard, before talking about Richard Manion Architecture, could you tell us about your educational background, career and architectural experience? Who is Richard M. Manion?
I studied architecture and architectural history at Columbia University, graduating in 1984, and began my early career work in the offices of Robert Venturi and Robert A. M. Stern in New York. Work opportunities led me to Los Angeles in 1987 and after establishing myself with a local firm, I set up a partnership in Hablinski + Manion Architecture LLP from 1995-2009 with former partner William Hablinski. In 2010, I decided to continue with my own firm and created Richard Manion Architecture Inc. to pursue my architectural goals.
Villa Montagne al Mare
Why did you decide to pursue a career in architecture? What inspired you?
I was always interested in architecture since I was a child and attribute some of it to having building toys when I was very young. I created houses, castles, forts and the like. My family spent summer vacations in Newport, Rhode Island and I became fascinated by the grand houses of the Gilded Age; which I think was a major impact upon my desire to become an architect. Studies in architecture and architectural history at college reinforced my desire to pursue an architectural career that focused upon the creation of private residences inspired by history.
How did you decide to establish your own firm? Could you tell us about the Richard Manion Architecture?
After a productive 15-year partnership, I wanted to establish a company of my own. My firm specializes in the design of very personal houses for the clientele base that I built up during my partnership with the clients that I managed and grew over the years many repeat client projects. Our work is inspired by traditional and contemporary architecture adapted to modern living that captures a sense of place, expresses an aesthetic and style that embodies our client’s aspirations, and explores our take on design themes echoed throughout history. While the majority of our projects are located in California, we typically have projects in New York and Hawaii as well as abroad in China and the Middle East. With a staff of 16, including many senior architects that have been with my firms for 15-22 years.
What are the advantages of being an Award-Winning architect?
Awards by established journals and publications are a testimony to the quality of architectural design that we create, give our past and present clients a great confidence in what we have built together, and provide exposure to new clients.
A lot of your projects have been featured in notable magazines. What do you feel when you see your artworks in magazine pages?
It is always rewarding to see a house featured in design publications because it is an acknowledgment of the importance of the design, the work that a client has entrusted in our firm, and shows what a group of highly dedicated people can achieve by working together. These houses often take many years of work by hundreds of professionals and craftspersons to realize.
What type of projects does Richard Manion Architecture specialize in? What type of services do you offer to your clients?
We specialize only in private residences including new construction and extensive remodels of houses with significant architectural character. Our firm is involved in the design of the architecture, the interior architecture, and master site planning, and we work intimately with landscape architects and interior designers to create a unified design theme for each residence.
What is your signature on your projects? What are you paying attention to make your projects unique?
We create the best version of our clients’ houses that we can envision. Our clients provide the program and inspiration and we make it art. By studying the best placement and orientation of each house, optimizing the floor plan layout and its development into the exterior design and massing, creating our take on historical and contemporary architectural details, we make our version of modern-day residences inspired by history.
All the responsibilities of millions dollar mansions are on your shoulders. You always have to adjust to a specific time schedule. How do you manage this situation?
It is always a combination of being organized as much as possible, realizing that schedules will almost always change and adjust in the residential world, and be versatile enough to adapt to whatever happens. And as with any line of work, some element of luck is always involved.
You have lots of completed and in-progress projects. Could you tell us about them? Which one is your favorite? What was the story of this project?
There would be too many to mention but some of my favorites are recent remodels of historical houses, including an Italianate 1920s California House and a Colonial Revival house with Art Deco interior influences. Perhaps my current favorite, because it was a project for a long-time client and friend as well as the result of 7 years of work, would be the renovation and additions to Kaiser House in Hawaii. The house had been in disrepair for decades and rescued by my client. With the help of a great interior designer, and in collaboration with my client’s design ideas, we made our version of a Mid-Century Modern house for Hawaii - with the architectural order and harmony of Mies van der Rohe united with fine materials and colors of the tropics.
What would you recommend to customers who want to work with an architect to build or renovate their home?
It’s important to establish as much information up front about what you want to accomplish in functional, aesthetic and budgetary terms to help an architect realize your dream.
What is the best advice you have received, and what advice would you give to young architects?
Be organized! It was the best advice given to me by mentor Robert A. M. Stern.
How can our readers follow you and your projects?
The best way is checking out our website, www.richardmanion.com, where we continually update our completed works and add renderings of projects in progress, as well as the website of Dering Hall, and our periodic magazine publications.
What is coming up next for you?
We are currently working on the next monograph of our works completed between 2010 and 2018 to be released by Images Publishing next year.
Thank you Richard for this enjoyable and informative interview.