SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Graham Downes Architecture Inc. and Architectural Concepts Inc. (ACI) have announced the formal integration of their talents and resources. The collaboration will fall under the Graham Downes Architecture brand. Graham Downes Architecture has a unique portfolio of progressive and contemporary projects. ACI brings to the table luxury lifestyle resort projects, vacation ownership, spas and multi-family and senior housing.
For two decades, Graham Downes, AIA, and Margit Whitlock, AIA, in photo, have been friendly peers and competitors. Downes established a reputation as a tastemaker for lifestyle projects by creating dynamic gathering places from hotels, restaurants and retail, to mixed-use and other commercially-driven urban environments. Whitlock’s designs are driven by context as the basis to develop the perfect story whereby a theme is the over-reaching thread to bring the project back in union with the core concepts. Downes delivers it “hot” while Whitlock delivers it “sweet.”
Over the years they have spent convivial hours discussing the business of architecture and the design industry; watching each other’s growth and admiring each other’s successes. During an economy when many firms are finding it difficult to survive, the time was perfect for this integration that will add diversity to the ‘powerhaus’ of the Graham Downes Architecture brand and the umbrella banner “Blokhaus."
“After 18 years of private practice as Architectural Concepts, it was time to evolve,” Whitlock said. “Graham has this incredible talent and drive that is motivating. We have immense experience between us; there is truly nothing our collective companies have not engaged in within the design industry.”
“Margit is well-educated and very savvy business operator,” Downes said. “She is also a highly respected design professional, particularly in her specialized niche. Her professional involvement will immediately bring greater diversity to the studio’s experience and capacity for new ventures, increasing our uniqueness and furthering the effective value we can extend to all clients.”
Among recent design hotel commissions for Graham Downes Architecture are the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego and The Padre Hotel (Bakersfield, Calif.). The firm is also designed award-wining Tower 23 Hotel also in San Diego. Whitlock’s ACI was the architectural designer of Cibola Vista Resort & Spa (Peoria, Ariz.), the Island Empress (Pensacola Beach, Fla.) and The Bond (Las Vegas, Nev.). Whitlock is a licensed architect in Florida, California, Arizona and Missouri.
Graham Downes Architecture, Inc. was founded by international architect Graham Downes in 1994. The cutting-edge architectural design firm is known for providing creative solutions for retail, hospitality, entertainment, and multi-family residential projects. The firm’s recent focus is on projects that drive relevant, contemporary lifestyles, including boutique hotels and mixed-use, urban infill projects. The firm consists of a total team of 20 designers and support personnel, at its office headquarters at 1600 National Ave. in downtown San Diego, and its Las Vegas and Phoenix offices. More information about the firm is available online at www.grahamdownes.com.