Ten Minutes with Bob Faesy
Where did you train?
I graduated from the Yale School of Architecture, and worked for Eero Saarinen in New Haven on the St. Louis arch, IBM World’s Fair building, and the CBS Black Rock building. Back then, you had to complete a three-year apprenticeship before getting your license.
What shaped your design philosophy?
Paul Rudolph, one of my professors at Yale said, “The first thing you do when you get a job is throw out the owners’ requirements; the next is to tear down the building in your way.” I thought about this, and decided I should be doing exactly the opposite. We make an effort to insure our client’s house works for their needs and reflects their individuality.
The starting point for a residential project?
We consider site orientation—the terrain, does it offer views, where is the sun—and the client’s interests and how they want to live in their house. It always helps when a client has a real interest in design and some idea about what they’d like. Then we work together; good design is an evolution of thinking together.
What about budget?
We like to start as close to reality as possible. It’s very hard to work on a project without knowing the budget.
What kind of projects have you done?
Our office has designed hundreds of individual houses in Wilton and throughout New England, a housing complex in Norwalk, a project at the Dakota Building in New York, and an off-grid house in Maine. We avoid McMansions like the plague. I think they take away from the spirit of individuality and detract from the character of the town. You’ve done a lot of historic preservation. After starting our firm, I got a call from Morris Earle, a Wilton Historical Society trustee, asking for help with the site planning for Lambert Corners. In total, we’ve moved 17 antique buildings for the Historical Society to preserve the character of the town.
What about green architecture?
Many of us live in houses that are far too big and wasteful. We encourage green design and systems. Unfortunately, this part of the country has been slow to adopt energy-efficient solutions.
One of your favorite projects? One of our clients was a Maine lobster fisherman who had seasonal affective disorder. The house we designed is flooded with light and completely changed his life.