Shoptalk - Taylor Callaway AIA, LEED AP

How did studying abroad influence your viewpoint on design?

I spent a summer studying Architecture in Vicenza, Italy, when I was 22 years old. It had a tremendous influence on my trajectory as an Architect. There is so much care and craft to designing buildings that last for hundreds of years, not to mention the history, culture and mythology that went into their conception. Seeing how buildings, music, art, and food impacts their culture also changed my perspective.

What was a “lightbulb” moment for you in expanding First Lamp’s commitment to high performance architecture and environmental responsibility?

My business partner Kevin and I were always interested in building resilient and sustainable buildings, but when we first started our company it was not necessarily our top priority. About halfway through our first project, we went to a seminar about how buildings failed and created an unhealthy environment for the folks living in them. That got us into the concept of “Building Science” and how to build homes that would last multiple lifetimes while also being warm and healthy for the people living in them.

Your work has garnered numerous awards including AIA Home of Distinction, what are some awards you are most proud of?

One of our projects was recently awarded a Zero Energy Ready Home Housing Innovation Award by the Department of Energy. That was a national award recognizing great design that generates as much energy as it uses.

How do you stay inspired?

My clients. Being a residential architect affords me the ability to get close to the people I work with. A custom home is extremely personal, and each one is unique. Every home I design is special to that family, and a new journey, which you never know where it might lead.

Favorite architectural detail of your childhood home?

Our house had a mezzanine that was open to both sides that me and my two brothers used to climb on and jump from. It probably looked cool to the adults, but to us it was just fun. It’s also a reminder not to take everything we do too seriously since some kid will probably just treat our design like their own playground.

If you were magically given three more hours per day, what would you do with them?

I love playing music. I grew up playing the piano and have recently started playing the guitar as well. It is my stress relief and accesses a different part of my psyche which gives me both inspiration and balance.

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