Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do
Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges: Boor Bridges Architecture creates and implements thoughtfully executed architectural solutions that help people live, work and learn in pleasing, sustainable places—places that scream of light-driven spatiality, a profound respect for materials, and energy-efficiency.
We seek deep but simple, artful answers to the challenges of our urban fabric and the expanses of rural landscapes. We respect the local, the authentic, the inventive, and the apparently mundane. We love intellectual dialogue and thrive on opportunities to collaborate with our clients, our project partners, and our communities.
We provide design strategies to our clients for a diverse range of projects: public and private buildings, parks, community spaces, commercial interiors, custom houses and gardens, and educational campuses.
Novedge: Partnerships are powerful. How did you two come together? What makes your collaboration successful?
Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges: Bonnie Bridges started Bridges Architecture in 1992. Seth Boor joined the firm as a junior designer about a year out of school (UT Austin) — way back in 1997. It was clear from the get-go that he was partner material: after Bonnie had her twins in November 1999, she wanted a more balanced life (which required a business partner to share the load), and seeing that every suggestion Seth made either increased our stability/profitability or elevated our design expertise, it was a no-brainer to offer him a partnership. By the way, he said no the first time she asked (he wasn’t ready), but came forward about a year later and they made a go of it.
Novedge: What is or has been the biggest influence on your work?
Bonnie Bridges: It is a mix of Swedish modernism, my family’s California heritage, and gardening/building with my mom.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges: Stripe, 24,000 HQ TI for a technology start up. One of the most fun and rewarding projects Bonnie has ever worked on. Despite all hearsay otherwise, these start up clients, while young and uber-brainy, were not entitled hipsters, just smart, eager and trusting. We transformed an 1890’ historic (and well worn) 3-story wood framed building into a gem of an office space.
Madrone – a 1,200 SF second home on 2.2 acres in Cazadero. Repeat clients (did their house in SF). . . .and more.
Novedge: You are based in San Francisco: are there challenges or advantages in being in the Bay Area?
Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges: SF has a GREAT architecture/design community and it is a fabulous place to practice: the talent pool is deep and the competition keeps us on our toes and challenges us to continually improve our work.
While it is a great place to practice, the high cost of living makes it hard on young designers starting out as the pay for architects is not on par with many other professions (especially the high tech fields). Due to the tech centric economy, we follow the financial cyclical ups and downs. Fortunately, we do a variety of types of work, and have been able to ride these waves fairly well.
Novedge: How are you involved in your local community? What have you learned from such involvement?
Bonnie Bridges: I have been involved with the SF chapter of the AIA as well as the AIACC (California Chapter). Our local chapter is amazing and does great work both for the profession and for increasing the public’s understanding of the value of design. I am also active in my local neighborhood where they are currently working with SFPUC on the Yosemite Creek Daylighting project.
Being involved is a great way to keep up with all of the things going in our the city (and there are a LOT) and to donate my time to things that matter.
Novedge: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Bonnie Bridges: “Be strong like bull” from 'Eddie B' Borysewicz – head coach of the US Cycling Team when she was bike racing in the early 1980’s.