Launch Slideshow

Tysen/Hunter Residences, Brisbane, Calif., by Arkin Tilt Architects

word on the street, redux

last year's "lowdown on the downturn" firms revisited.

word on the street, redux

last year's "lowdown on the downturn" firms revisited.

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Lake Holiday House, Cross Junction, Va., by Reader & Swartz Architects

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    Lake Holiday House, Cross Junction, Va., by Reader & Swartz Architects

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    Reader & Swartz Architects

    Lake Holiday House, Cross Junction, Va., by Reader & Swartz Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Lake Holiday House, Cross Junction, Va., by Reader & Swartz Architects

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    Lake Holiday House, Cross Junction, Va., by Reader & Swartz Architects

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    Reader & Swartz Architects

    Lake Holiday House, Cross Junction, Va., by Reader & Swartz Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Diversion Lake Camp, Medina, Texas, by Michael G. Imber Architects

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    Diversion Lake Camp, Medina, Texas, by Michael G. Imber Architects

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    Michael G. Imber Architects

    Diversion Lake Camp, Medina, Texas, by Michael G. Imber Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Turnberry Way Library, San Antonio, by Michael G. Imber Architects

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    Turnberry Way Library, San Antonio, by Michael G. Imber Architects

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    Michael G. Imber Architects

    Turnberry Way Library, San Antonio, by Michael G. Imber Architects
  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Vermont Cabin, Jamaica, Vt., by Resolution: 4 Architecture

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    Vermont Cabin, Jamaica, Vt., by Resolution: 4 Architecture

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    Resolution: 4 Architecture

    Vermont Cabin, Jamaica, Vt., by Resolution: 4 Architecture

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Long Beach Cottage, Long Beach, N.Y., by Resolution: 4 Architecture

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    Long Beach Cottage, Long Beach, N.Y., by Resolution: 4 Architecture

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    Resolution: 4 Architecture

    Long Beach Cottage, Long Beach, N.Y., by Resolution: 4 Architecture

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Barboro Flats, Memphis, Tenn., by Looney Ricks Kiss

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    Barboro Flats, Memphis, Tenn., by Looney Ricks Kiss

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    Looney Ricks Kiss Architects

    Barboro Flats, Memphis, Tenn., by Looney Ricks Kiss Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Lugar Tower Apartments, Indianapolis, by Looney Ricks Kiss

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    Lugar Tower Apartments, Indianapolis, by Looney Ricks Kiss

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    Looney Ricks Kiss Architects

    Lugar Tower Apartments, Indianapolis, by Looney Ricks Kiss Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Private Residence, Grand Rapids, Mich., by Albertsson Hansen Architecture

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    Private Residence, Grand Rapids, Mich., by Albertsson Hansen Architecture

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    Albertsson Hansen Architecture

    Private Residence, Grand Rapids, Mich., by Albertsson Hansen Architecture

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Guest Cabin, Michigan, by Albertsson Hansen Architecture

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    Guest Cabin, Michigan, by Albertsson Hansen Architecture

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    Albertsson Hansen Architecture

    Guest Cabin, Michigan, by Albertsson Hansen Architecture

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    UC Davis West Village Square Mixed-Use, Davis, Calif., by Studio E Architects

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    UC Davis West Village Square Mixed-Use, Davis, Calif., by Studio E Architects

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    Studio E Architects

    UC Davis West Village Square Mixed-Use, Davis, Calif., by Studio E Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    90 Archer Affordable Housing, San Jose, Calif, by Studio E Architects

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    90 Archer Affordable Housing, San Jose, Calif, by Studio E Architects

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    Studio E Architects

    90 Archer Affordable Housing, San Jose, Calif., by Studio E Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    South Lincoln/10th and Osage Redevelopment, Denver, by Mithun

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    South Lincoln/10th and Osage Redevelopment, Denver, by Mithun

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    Mithun

    South Lincoln/10th and Osage Redevelopment, Denver, by Mithun

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Cabaña at Roanti Orchards and Vineyards, Glen Ellen, Calif., by Arkin Tilt Architects

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    Cabaña at Roanti Orchards and Vineyards, Glen Ellen, Calif., by Arkin Tilt Architects

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    Edward Caldwell Photography

    Cabaña at Roanti Orchards and Vineyards, Glen Ellen, Calif., by Arkin Tilt Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Tysen/Hunter Residences, Brisbane, Calif., by Arkin Tilt Architects

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    Tysen/Hunter Residences, Brisbane, Calif., by Arkin Tilt Architects

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    Arkin Tilt Architects

    Tysen/Hunter Residences, Brisbane, Calif., by Arkin Tilt Architects

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    South Gilpin Townhomes, Denver, by Sprocket Design-Build

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    South Gilpin Townhomes, Denver, by Sprocket Design-Build

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    Portal Imageworks

    South Gilpin Townhomes, Denver, by Sprocket Design-Build

  • "Word on the Street" Architects' Recent Work

    Single-Family Residence, Chicago

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    Single-Family Residence, Chicago

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    Studio Dwell Architects

    Single-Family Residence, Chicago, by Studio Dwell Architects

  • David Arkin, AIA, LEED AP, and Anni Tilt, AIA, principals of Arkin Tilt Architects

    Credit: Ed Caldwell

    David Arkin, AIA, LEED AP, and Anni Tilt, AIA, principals of Arkin Tilt Architects

david arkin, aia, leed ap, and anni tilt, aia
arkin tilt architects, berkeley, calif.


www.arkintilt.com

age of firm: 12 years
firm specialty: Energy- and resource-efficient architecture; public, commercial, and residential (new homes and remodels)
staff: 7 (2005); 8 (2008); 8 (2009); 9 (2010, projected)
total revenue: $574,000 (2005); $778,000 (2008); $700,000 (2009); $700,000 (2010 projected)
completed projects: 6 (2005); 4 (2008); 7 (2009); 7 (2010 projected)

Early in 2008, principal David Arkin, AIA, LEED AP, saw the economic crash coming and did the prudent thing. As the year progressed he signed far more contracts than the firm could handle, anticipating half would go on hold, and they did. “We fared reasonably well in 2009,” he says. Anni Tilt, his wife and business partner, agrees. “We definitely had some dead weeks trying to keep everyone busy. But on balance we’re doing well—gratefully well. No employees were laid off, and we hired a temporary employee for six months.”

While most commercial projects are postponed, a school and a park building are going out to bid. A broad range of residential projects also is in progress, along with a sizable winery renovation. “We had to shrink the project scope, but it got better as a result, as projects often do,” Arkin says. Pro bono work has always been part of Arkin Tilt’s company culture, and the lighter workload frees up time for such projects. The biofuel station the architects worked on last year is open, and a building for Heifer International (a world hunger organization) is under construction.

Meanwhile, planning codes and project budgets are on a collision course. Tilt laments that California’s fire rules, in particular, are getting more restrictive, and smaller budgets make it harder to meet code in an elegant way. The couple’s founding principle of designing buildings that approach carbon neutrality also is being severely tested these days. “Net-zero energy use is an important factor, but it’s not free,” Arkin says. “It’s harder to achieve when budgets are tight.” Though the center holds, Arkin and Tilt describe themselves as in survival mode. “Last month work picked up a bit, so that’s encouraging,” Arkin says. “But there are no guarantees it will continue.