Our staff highlight blog series focuses on our staff’s design abilities that extend past Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Engineering, and Planning. We are diving into their individual creative process and projects. This series will showcase “maker”-based crafts, classic medium (drawing, painting, photography, multimedia, etc), or digital design work. Stayed tuned to meet more of our staff, as for this week:
Meet Eric Whiting!
Not only one of our architects and lead designers, his architectural illustrations have become the “look” of Saratoga Associates’ graphics. Beyond the office, Eric is passionate about his family (kids and dogs alike), bike riding, exploring nature, and capturing life’s subtleties in photographs. Learn more about Eric below!
What is your title and role in the firm?
Project Architect, Lead Designer
Growing up, what was your dream job?
Artist or Architect (or clubhouse builder)
What are your favorite hobbies?
Mountain and road biking, home renovation, photography, art, camping
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, Creative, Curious
Would you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert?
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m inspired at every turn by art, nature, and other artists especially.
What’s your creative process?
I try and resist the urge to sketch anything until I’ve had a chance to absorb the program, understand the context and let it all marinate. Sometimes an early intuitive insight can have power that carries all the way through the process, but placing too much importance on whimsical impulses can sometimes pull the project in a direction that does not serve the owner, public or budget. I also try my best to check my ego before putting on my design cap as a happy client is the one true goalpost of a successful career.
Tell me about the projects you’re most proud of and why. What was your role?
I’m most proud of the projects where I was able to make a lasting impression that went beyond what was expected. The two that stand out to me were design challenges, but do not fall into the traditional architectural category: The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge and my design / build recumbent bike project. Although the projects are at opposite ends of the spectrum scale-wise, they are similar in that both overcame challenges not attempted previously. It is very satisfying to create something that becomes a catalyst for growth and a better quality of life for thousands of people. And when a concept can survive the journey from big idea to reality, and still maintain it’s initial inspiration – that is the ultimate peak of a successful design process.
What software do you use?
Everything I can. My design life began when there was no software, but I’m thankful that as my career has developed, I have been able to take advantage of many digital tools as well as the hand-crafted ones. Sketchup has been a lifesaver for the design process, and my current favorite digital tool is Lumion, which allows photo-real, 3-dimensional studies, and video.
Is there any project type or medium that you would like to do more of or learn more about?
I’ve always wanted to design spaces to house art; combining art and architecture would be my ultimate project type.