It started with a lunch. A series of lunches, that is, during which southern Florida architects Sebastian Eilert, AIA, who hails from Germany, and Jane Decker, AIA, talked shop. When one conversation turned to Eilert’s opportunity to host a radio show for the Miami-area market, it didn’t take long to draw up plans.
“We said why not,” Eilert told residential architect by phone in June. “We did some research and found that there were no other architecture-focused programs out there. You had a lot of designers, interior decorators, real estate people, but nothing that focused on the profession of architecture.”
The result: an hour-long program co-hosted weekly by Decker and Eilert and broadcast throughout southern Florida. The pair wanted the program to be a forum for discussing the area’s stringent building codes, its wealthy and diverse population, and the localized effects of the economic downturn among an audience that mixed architects, students, developers, preservationists, and even homeowners. “The idea was to find a balance between talking to the profession and talking to those interested in the profession,” Eilert says.
Eilert and Decker, both University of Miami grads, are young by industry standards, but have sizable portfolios of local single- and multifamily work (see slideshow). Eilert runs his own practice in Miami and Boston, and Decker is a project architect and associate at Gail Byron Baldwin Architect in Coconut Grove, Fla.
Already two episodes into their second season (their 13-program inaugural run finished earlier this month), they’ve managed to check off a slew of topics: residential renovations, architectural education, hospitality, commercial architecture, and trade associations, while splicing in some notable guest stars—architect Hilario Candela, Doug Patt of How to Architect fame, World Architecture News editor-in-chief Michael Hammond, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. (Listen to the show online)
What’s next? The hosts say they’ll continue to stress the value of an architect to a project (even in a down market), while also putting the onus on the profession to sharpen their knowledge of the financial side of their work. That, they hope, will keep clients realistic and avoid overindulging their architect listeners. “We have to get the audience away from thinking that Extreme Home Makeover happens in seven days,” Decker says. Instead, architects should pay attention to the finer points of their practice—melding observance of local codes and regulations with the bottom-line cost—particularly in a market as highly regulated as southern Florida.
“From the residential client who may have never had an experience with an architect … to the developer who works with architects on a daily basis,” Decker says, “how can we change that landscape and promote dialogue so that everybody is on the same page?”