Making Space With Light
New Zealand-born architect David Hovey discusses the designs of his 30-year-old Chicago-based business Optima Inc., which he says are influenced by an appreciation of the outdoors. A trace of an accent reveals his roots. “I grew up by the beach and surrounded by lush vegetation,” Hovey recalls. It’s no accident, he says, that Optima favours sites with views of water or green spaces. His own glass house in Winnetka overlooks Lake Michigan in one direction and a wooded ravine in the other. Optima’s current projects are a long way from Hovey’s first one, which was a set of six townhouses in Hyde Park. But he hasn’t deviated from the clean, contemporary designs he favors. His buildings, he says, tend to include “interiors that are open and luxurious, with as few walls as possible and as many windows as possible.” Hovey is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology. He worked for Modernist architects Arthur Takeuchi and Helmut Jahn before founding Optima. In 2005, luxury lifestyle magazine Robb Report named Hovey the world’s foremost architect.