Oppenheim Architecture + Design
- Written by: Tom Faunce
- Produced by: Brandon Bagley
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Since 1999, Oppenheim Architecture + Design has offered a robust slate of architecture, interior design and planning services. With offices in Miami, New York and Switzerland, the business has established itself in markets across the globe with a portfolio of highly complex projects including large-scale urban architecture, hotels and resorts, as well as highly specialized custom residential, interiors and furnishings endeavors.
Over the last 17 years, Oppenheim Architecture has collected more than 70 career distinctions, including more than 45 American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards. This leading industry organization has repeatedly recognized the firm’s dedication to evocative design inspired by both the spiritual and physical context of each project. Harmony is key to the success of each design and Oppenheim Architects strikes a distinct balance between man and nature.
Chad Oppenheim, founder of Oppenheim Architecture, is a Cornell University graduate and AIA Fellow. While his interest in design began at an early age, Oppenheim has solidified his dedication to the industry through organizational involvement and as a lecturer at events and institutions of higher education throughout the country, including Harvard University’s prestigious Graduate School of Design.
“When I was 7 years old my parents built their house and that got me interested in architecture,” recalls Oppenheim. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel, work and live all around the world with my career.”
A future of primitive techniques
The approach that Oppenheim and his company take to design is one that implements strategies that are more primitive than modern techniques. Oppenheim Architecture utilizes materials within a building’s surroundings in order to generate harmony with its surroundings. “That’s really what interests us as a firm,” says Oppenheim. “It’s not just about chasing LEED credits. What we really try to do is make the setting of our buildings better than they were before.”
With sustainability efforts in mind, Oppenheim views his company’s technique as a way of designing a structure that “disappears” within its surroundings. “We want the architecture to amplify and be a part of nature while never hurting it,” Oppenheim elaborates. “We have one strategy: to enhance life. We are always discovering new ways to be more sustainable and utilize the environment to assist our work and facility.”
From its three locations, Oppenheim Architecture completes work all over the world. In 2014, Wadi Rum Resort was built in Jordan with Oppenheim Architecture providing an ecologically sensitive design solution. The design set forth a futuristic primitive experience with 47 desert lodges taking full advantage of the mystical valley where desert sand meets desert stone.
With the Wadi Rum project, Oppenheim Architecture utilized 80,000 square feet with two stories above ground, one story below ground and three stories carved into the natural landscape. “The conceptual point of departure has its roots in the tectonic and geological histories of the region,” Oppenheim explains. “Through an engagement of the existing natural faults and fissures, the architecture is inserted in the landscape with nominal impact and primal elegance that synchronizes with the topography.”
More than just design
One of the challenges that Oppenheim Architecture faces as an architectural firm is after the design, ensuring that projects are built and constructed in the way that the firm envisions them. With so many aspects that go into the construction of a building including zoning, local governments and professional relationships, Oppenheim notes how rewarding it is to see a finished product. “Even though it is often out of our control once our job is finished, it is very important to us to see these projects completed,” he says.
As a company that focuses on green building and sustainability, Oppenheim Architecture incorporates other techniques into its operation outside of design aspects. With two locations in the U.S. and one overseas, the company utilizes web-conferencing, which helps to cut down on carbon emissions due to travel. “From a sustainable perspective web-conferencing has really been one of the most important innovations that we have implemented over the past eight years,” says Oppenheim. “Instead of meeting around the world, we’re able to just take a few minutes and catch up, brush up on details and call it a day.”
At the end of the day, Oppenheim Architecture remains a leading innovator in the synchronization of man and nature through integrative design. While completing work all over the world the company is conscious to include local craftsmen in all projects whenever they can. As the firm continues to serve hospitality, commercial mixed use, retail and residential sectors, every project with the Oppenheim Architecture + Design name on it will be built on both physical and contextual sensitivity, supported by evocative and economic design solutions that all serve to enhance quality of life.
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