- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
When Jack Selman founded Architects Orange in 1970, he envisioned a company that worked closely with developers to create innovative and creative design solutions. More than 45 years later, the company employs a staff of approximately 225 people. Headquartered in Orange, California, Architects Orange completes projects throughout the state of California with additional international work in Canada, Asia and Mexico.
Over its 45-year existence, Architects Orange has maintained steady growth and has developed into one of the largest integrated design firms in California. With two distinct divisions, the company works strictly with developers in the multifamily residential and commercial sectors. Although Architects Orange employs more than 200 people, the firm is able to give clients personal attention by splitting into low-, mid- and high-density volume teams. “Each team is comprised of approximately 10 to 15 people who are experts in that department,” says Selman. “We have teams that focus on different aspects of each sector for both residential and commercial projects.”
A talented team
Architects Orange is a company that recognizes what it does well and remains a leader in its field of expertise. “We don’t try to be a jack of all trades,” says Selman. “We are very specialized in our niches.” In its commercial division, the company has a team that focuses primarily on U.S.-based retail projects. These jobs may consist of anything from a neighborhood center to a big-box retail center.
“We also have a team that focuses on national and international premium outlet projects,” he adds. “Those projects have caught on really well in Asia.”
Architects Orange also maintains a hotel team as well as a restaurant group. Within each team is a partner or principal of the company who provides leadership, allowing each client the opportunity to work directly with administrative personnel. With years of experience, each individual in a leadership position brings not only expertise in the design field, but also in the business of property development. “It’s not only about creating a pretty design, but making the structure applicable to your clients’ needs,” says Selman. “We have a very strong balance between our design and construction document departments.”
The success of each department of Architects Orange relies heavily on the expertise and experience of additional partners of the firm. Ken Smith, R.C. Alley and Darrel Hebenstreit are the heads of the high-end retail, residential and international departments, respectively. All three individuals are highly skilled professionals who bring a client-oriented approach to each project. “Their commitment to inspired design has earned Architects Orange a reputation as one of California’s leading architectural firms,” says Selman.
Architects Orange recently completed a new construction project called The Point, which is a retail destination located in El Segundo, California. The project sits at the corner of Rosecrans Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard, which is one of the busiest intersections in the region and opened in fall 2015.
“This project is very unique,” says Selman. “At the heart of the development is a plaza containing 45,000 square feet of community space, which is flexible and interactive.” The outdoor gathering spot contains an interactive fountain with fire element, green space, kiosks and outdoor seating for flanking eateries. With a large central fountain with vertical water as a focal point, the communal space is inviting to shoppers and restaurant patrons who wish to dine outside.
The Point was developed by Federal Realty Investment Trust, which partnered with Architects Orange to create a retail center where tenants are encouraged to explore the boundaries of design with the stores and restaurants.
Also opened in fall 2015, the Simi Valley Town Center is a 60,000-square-foot regional lifestyle mall located in Simi Valley. Architects Orange was involved in the revitalization of this shopping center, which included a 36,000-squarefoot Studio Movie Grill, a Buffalo Wild Wings and additional restaurants and retail shops. A new keyhole parking area was added, which required selective demolition of tenant and common-area space in an effort to enhance visibility into the theater courtyard and allow space for a pedestrian drop-off area.
“The architectural style of the revitalization is a contemporary refresh of the Mediterranean theme of the existing buildings,” says Selman. “It includes extended tenant storefront heights and facade detailing, building accent lighting, new signage and wayfinding systems, enhanced outdoor seating areas and significant landscape upgrades.
The strong portfolio of Architects Orange consistently gains recognition within the industry for its architectural achievements. Urbana Apartments, which is a mixed-used infill project in San Diego’s East Village, was recently recognized by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The project garnered a National Silver Award for Best Architectural Design for an Attached Community upon Urbana.
Building upon success
In measuring the success of Architects Orange, Selman says that the company approaches each job as an opportunity to either establish a new relationship with a client or build upon an existing one. “Customer satisfaction is the most important thing to us,” he adds. “We don’t do a lot of marketing because we feel that our work speaks for itself. With each job, we hope to gain all of that client’s repeat business and then referrals. We measure success by retaining clients on a long-term basis.”
After 45 years in business, Architects Orange shows no signs of slowing down. As the company continues its expansion overseas, Selman says the company will maintain its steady growth. “We are capable of completing any type of project anywhere in the world,” he says. “We have a great team of partners and a good handle on our place in the industry.” With its high-profile clients and innovative design solutions, Architects Orange has earned its reputation as a leading architectural firm.
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