For Architect Ken Pursley, Collaboration Is Key to SuccessA day with the Charlotte, North Carolina–based creative means juggling connections for well-rounded projects
Before founding his own firm in 2005, architect Ken Pursley cut his teeth working for Bobby McAlpine, who became not only a mentor but also a close friend. In 2012, Purlsey named his friend and fellow Auburn University alumnus Craig Dixon a partner and Pursley Architecture became Pursley Dixon Architecture. It's no coincidence that so much of Pursley's career has involved strong alliances: The multitalented creative regularly collaborates with the best in the business and readily acknowledges the benefits of running ideas by a fellow creative mind. When your firm, as Pursley says, is "founded on the simple thought that beauty matters," there's no room for competition—all the focus is on creating the most beautiful possible space. Shadowing Pursley for a day, AD PRO finds out how he marries his own talents with that of his peers to create thoughtful—and, of course, beautiful—spaces across the country.
I wake up—thanks to the Java Chip Frappuccino I had at the airport yesterday. I got in late from a project site visit in Boca Grande, Florida, with the homeowner and the project architect, Mark Kline. Excited to be working on the project with interior designer Suzanne Kasler and landscape architect Laurie Durden. The Frappuccino seemed like a good idea at the time, but I am now wired. I think to myself, "Maybe I should exercise," but then remember I don’t like exercising—especially at four in the morning. So, I decide to get up and sketch. There's a nice spot by the fireplace in our den. After some brainstorming on one of our new projects, I fall back asleep.
My alarm goes off. I hit snooze.
It seems snooze didn’t take, but the extra rest was nice.
I make a banana smoothie and green tea while looking over the newspaper. I like a physical paper so I cannot be reached by the digital world. Being disconnected is a safe place for me to reflect on current events, the latest decisions by the Carolina Panthers, and my daily horoscope. I have four stars today!
I get to the office and review the progress on a landscape project we're working on. The forms are set and ready to pour! I check in with Polly Finn, one of our project architects, to make sure landscape installments are ready for next week.
I get the chance to draw this morning, which seems like a luxury these days. I was able to solve a particularly nagging guest room problem, which is hopefully to the satisfaction of the client.
Review my proposed guest room solution with my business partner, Craig, who always offers a nice perspective and is able to catch my blind spots.
Meet with Aaron Cote, another project architect, to review construction documents for a townhome project we are working on in Charlotte. So often our work is featured behind gates, so it is nice to have a project that will contribute to the community fabric. The meeting takes longer than expected so I order in one of my favorite lunches, a taco salad from Sabor Latin Street Grill.
Conference call with my PR firm in New York to review the status of where our unpublished projects stand with various magazines and discuss the upcoming projects to pitch. If only we could read the minds of editors!
Meeting with my business and marketing manager, Day Palmer, to discuss the game plan for an architect who is flying in tomorrow to interview at PDA. (Spoiler alert: He lands the job.)
Meeting at a recently completed project to do a walk-through with my business manager, lead interior designer Bronwyn Ford, and photographer Chris Edwards to discuss angles and details that need to be captured during next week's shoot.
Bronwyn and I review custom furniture pieces for a project in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It is the third project we have done with this client, and am excited to be visiting it next week to review the progress.
Walk around the outside of our office and look at landscape progress for the parking court. The curbs were poured today!
I head to Dilworth Tasting Room for drinks with the team to trade war stories from the past week. It is a nice local spot for some beverage therapy!
I arrive home and mix a cocktail for my lovely bride, Sarah. Tonight I am making a gimlet with crushed basil, as an alternate to the traditional cucumber garnish. Traditions should always be challenged! Over cocktails, Sarah and I discuss the pros and cons of cars, namely her Honda Odyssey, which she's had for 10 years. She's dreaming/angling for something a little more special.
On tonight's menu is chicken parmesan and a salad. Over dinner, I chat with my daughter Grace about the potential for "senioritis" after her college acceptance letters have been received.
After dinner, the digital world once again rears its head, and I catch up on my emails and texts from the day. While doing this, Sarah and I enjoy the latest release from Kacey Musgraves, a household favorite. It seems her new album has a song called “Space Cowboy,” which leads to an exploration of memories as we play the Steve Miller Band’s greatest hits. It’s funny how his music was much more interesting in college. As we clean the kitchen, we endure "Fly Like an Eagle" and reflect on our musical maturity.
I take JoJo, our family dog, out for a restroom break. She recently had ACL surgery, so her days of running free are currently limited. When I bring her inside, she heads straight for bed and glances at me as if to say, “What's your deal? Let's wrap this day up!”
I wash down the last sip of my gimlet and prepare for bed. I generally wind down for bed with a book, something of the architecture, self-help, and/or how to get rich variety. I’m currently reading Micheal Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It. The chapter I read tonight is all about change and being ready for what's coming next. For me, that is sleep. I look forward to newfound energy in the day ahead.
Lights out and off to bed.
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