History and Experience
Harboe Architects, PC was started in March 2006 by T. Gunny Harboe, FAIA. Previous to starting his own firm, Mr. Harboe spent over seventeen years at McClier (which became Austin/AECOM) where he gained a national reputation for his dedication to preservation ideals along with his ability to find appropriate solutions to design and technical challenges related to preserving our cultural heritage. Key Harboe Architects staff members Mark Kasprzyk and Elizabeth Trail worked with Mr. Harboe for a number of years before joining him in the new firm. Our restoration work has been recognized with over two dozen awards, including several awards from the National AIA, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We have completed significant restoration projects on over a half dozen National Historic Landmarks as well as numerous other local landmarks and National Register Properties.
Whether a historic resource requires preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or adaptive reuse, we approach the problem with the highest level of appreciation for the historic resource and the needs of the building owner to attain a renewed usefulness of the structure. Our ability to balance what is significant about a historic building with the need to use it to its full potential has brought us recognition from the profession and loyalty from our clients.
Preservation Design Philosophy
It is our belief that design is a creative process. It takes input from many different sources and generates an output of a unique solution that is functional, beautiful and sustainable. Our designs are generated through the vision of our clients. By cultivating an understanding of our clients’ mission, principals and ethics we are better able to respond to their physical needs. We strive to incorporate their cultural and aesthetic values and create an architectural statement reflective of each client’s unique image and perspective. The goal is to provide them with an environment that is not only completely comfortable and pleasurable for the users, but one that positively projects who they are to the public they engage.
When a project involves a structure that is historically or architecturally significant, we begin with the premise that the preservation of our cultural heritage is not a luxury, but a vital aspect of our society. We are committed to the idea that being good stewards of our cultural heritage will provide great benefit to present and future generations. We live in a continuum of time where it is important to be able to place ourselves in the present in context with the past and the future. Preservation of the built environment helps to accomplish that.
In the execution of preservation projects we strive to use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as guidance whether they are required or not. We combine our historically tempered aesthetic judgments with our technical expertise to solve difficult design problems. Typically great focus is given to restoring the original integrity of a building’s exterior and significant features of the interior, while incorporating the needed improvements that allow it to function comfortably and safely for the users. The solutions often result in an environment enhanced by complex layers of beauty and meaning.
We are also firmly committed to the idea of creating a sustainable society and using our work as a means to help achieve it. Sustainability means more than using florescent light bulbs, recycled materials, or even improving overall energy efficiency in a building. Although these things have a place and are important, we believe that a sustainable society must also take into account its past to better understand its present and make the most of its future. By retaining and reusing physical reminders of our past, such as historic structures, we help to make this happen.