Wow! It’s been forty years since Sarah Susanka and I started this venture we now call SALA. What began then with our team of two, was a modest home design for Bruce and Sharmain Johanson. The link between the Johansons, Sarah and I, was our common interest in the theories and ideas in the text, A Pattern Language.
Thanks to Sarah’s instincts for public media, and my access to exceptional student talent, our client list and staff size grew quickly. Yet we never could have imagined that forty years later we would have served over 6,000 clients and over 250 staff have at one time called this firm their professional home.
Numbers are a very limited description for the rich history of SALA. What’s truly amazing is the breadth and diversity of the clients we’ve served. They’ve asked for small additions, remote cabins and large estate homes.
They’ve come with aesthetic proclivities, environmental concerns and lifestyle inventiveness.
They’ve brought us to sites throughout the metropolis, across the Midwest, from Atlantic to Pacific, and even to the Dordogne in France, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Chedabucto Bay, Nova Scotia. Staff have enriched us with their talent, whether it was watercolors, technical inquisitiveness, team leadership, or brilliant writing.
They’ve joined us in the search for beauty, taught us to step lightly on the earth, and brought honor to the great crafts people who build our clients dreams. They’ve anchored our softball team, connected us to the American Institute of Architects and the Timber Framer’s Guild, and occasionally left us to form our friendly competition.
We didn’t of course invent this gig of residential architecture here in the Twin Cities. Edwin Lundie, Elizabeth Close, and many more went before us. And certainly, great talent is there to follow. But in the forty years which mark our beginning, we’ve managed to add to the genre, create some award winning beauties and most importantly make people’s lives a little bit better.
Much more is in the works, with youthful enthusiasm, advancing technology, and increased efforts toward sustainability. Onward, to the next forty!!