Meet the Contributors: Design Equilibrium 2020

By Malachi Gordon, Editor

March 2, 2020

On March 16, AIA Atlanta will release the 2020 edition of Design Equilibrium, a yearly publication on all things Atlanta architecture. Physical copies are available for pre-order through Friday, March 6.

Design Equilibrium invites both architects and non-architects into timely conversations on the built environment. Inside the Life Cycle issue, engaging articles discuss adaptive reuse, sustainability, cultural preservation, new developments, and much more.

Below, meet the 2020 contributors at the center of it all.

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John Bencich, AIA

Article: “Atlanta’s Future Relies on Its Past: How Adaptive Reuse Is Saving Our City”

John is the founding principal of Square Feet Studio and an architect. His work has been recognized for design excellence by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, Urban Land Institute, International Interior Design Association, and AIA. John served as the AIA Atlanta chapter president in 2012 and is a current board member of the Architecture and Design Center.

Pete Choquette, AIA

Article: “Savanna Hall: Zoo Atlanta’s Grand New View”

Pete is principal and director of design at Epsten Group, overseeing architecture and interior design services. With expertise in sustainable design, adaptive re-use, and the design of zoological habitats, Pete is a LEED and WELL Accredited Professional who has spoken nationally on topics including energy efficiency, the built environment’s influence on human and animal wellness, and improving the performance of existing buildings.

Clayton Daspit, AIA

Article: “The Candler Hotel: An Architectural Jewel Shines Again in Atlanta’s Skyline”

As one of Beck’s design leaders, Clayton works closely with clients and project teams, guiding the exploration of ideas and revealing elegant solutions to project challenges. Clayton enjoys mentoring the architects he leads, encouraging them to challenge themselves for the best possible design solutions. His project experience spans higher education, museums, convention centers, retail and mixed-use, office, K-12, and NCAA athletics.

Matthew Finn, AIA

Article: “Cultural Preservation and Restoration”

Matt is passionate about how the built environment influences health. As an entrepreneur and architect, he founded in 2016 Cognitive Design, a consulting and design firm that works with professionals including psychologists and healthcare practitioners to help inform the design process. An Atlanta native and distinguished alumni of Kennesaw State University, Matt began his career at Perkins and Will.

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Commissioner Tim Keane

Article: “The Art of Placemaking”

Appointed Commissioner of Planning and Community Development in July 2015, Tim oversees design, permitting, zoning, preservation, housing, and transportation planning. Previously, Tim was Director of Planning, Preservation, and Sustainability for the City of Charleston for 11 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in planning and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of North Carolina.

Holden Spaht, RA

Article: “Atlanta’s Future Relies on Its Past: How Adaptive Reuse Is Saving Our City”

Holden is a registered architect and urban designer serving as creative director at Square Feet Studio. His work and interests span the disciplines of landscape, architecture, and interiors, with a special focus on adaptive reuse. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Georgia and master’s degrees in both architecture and city planning from Georgia Tech.

Shraddha Srivastav Strennen, RA

Article: “The Future of Hospitality Is Flexible Design”

Shraddha is a registered architect and project manager in the hospitality studio at Cooper Carry, a national design firm with offices in Atlanta, Washington, DC, and New York City. She is currently involved with the design of Broadwest – Conrad Hotel in Nashville and the hotel conversion of the historic Medical Arts Building in Atlanta, among other projects.

Howard Wertheimer, FAIA

Article: “Regenerative Design Confronts Higher Ed”

From 2006-2019, Howard served as Georgia Tech’s AVP for Capital Planning & Space Management and institute architect. He led the development of the Kendeda Building and its Living Building journey, anticipated to be one the most environmentally-advanced education and research buildings in the Southeast. Howard is now executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

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