making it public

When they open satellite offices, architects are careful to send the right message to prospective clients. After he branched out from Martha's Vineyard to Falmouth, Mass., Mark Hutker, AIA, was concerned that the Vineyard community might think he was phasing out his presence. So he sent out 3,000 postcards letting people know that the firm would be catering to both locations. “If you're the village architect, as we like to think of ourselves, you've got to make sure people don't get the sense that you're moving on,” Hutker says. “Communities feel a sense of ownership, and when they know you're doing work elsewhere, there's some sense of being jaded.”

By contrast, when the Washington, D.C.-based Russell Versaci, AIA, and David E. Neumann, AIA, opened a duplicate office in Middleburg, Va., in 1989, they were just getting established and wanted to avoid the perception of being a local firm. So their announcement made it clear that the principal office was in D.C. “Implicit in being located in D.C. and on Main Street in Middleburg was that we would seek to do work regionally, rather than simply looking for whatever was immediately available in our backyard,” Neumann says. Today, he adds, there would be less reason to make that distinction.