Back to the Future for GL3 Architects

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(Jim Landin and Mike Gorman | Photo by Cascade Business News)

A pair of well-known local architects with over 70 years’ experience and past involvement in some 400 varied Central Oregon projects have reunited with a “hands-on” approach to optimize customer service.

Mike Gorman and Jim Landin originally launched a partnership in Bend in 2004 before later affiliating with other prominent architectural firms, leaving their hallmark on a range of projects now blanketing Central Oregon, and have now come full circle with their new venture: GL3 Architects, located in the Old Mill District.

Gorman explained, “Jim and I make a good team and have always worked well together; we play off each other’s strengths, and we really wanted to get back to a more hands-on approach, prioritizing customer service as a nimble, responsive boutique firm.

“The first time round we pretty much started from scratch, but now after 18 years we have a strong following reflecting a successful track record, and many of our long-term clients are excited about the switch. We have hit the ground running and are already currently working on nine projects in five states, with more in the pipeline.

“One thing we excel at is airing out different ideas with developers in creative ways so they can examine feasible options and decide which one pencils out best.

“We’ve done everything from a goat farm in Tumalo to the Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend.” said Landin.

“Versatility is key in what we do. We have a vast range of experience and are now working on projects in five different states where we are licensed.

“Another area in which we have expertise is mixed-use projects, which we will see ever more of as Bend in particular becomes more urbanized, as well as in the affordable housing arena where we have been involved with a number of initiatives, including the new 50-unit Canal Commons in North East Bend being developed by Pacific Crest, who we have successfully teamed with over many years.

“We also have strong relationships with county and city jurisdictions, which helps in the process.”

Landin said that GL3 already has a staff of five, including taking on graduates and an intern from the prestigious University of Oregon Architectural program.

He added, “In our profession you are learning all the time. Our joint expertise covers 70 years and the learning curve we have been through in that time is invaluable.

“We enjoy being architects and embracing the challenge of interpreting rules differently in creative ways, while meeting the same regulatory requirements and displaying a variety of styles.

Gorman said, “Relationships are key in our profession and we are well-known and trusted in the community. We listen to client needs and enjoy working with people who appreciate what we do.”

“The client’s success is our key,” says Landin of the firm which specializes in architecture, master planning and sustainable design. “We won’t be driven by awards or profit. Satisfied clients who return is our goal and reward.”

Both former University of Oregon architecture graduates, Gorman and Landin have strong roots in Bend and after stints in more urban areas plus experience working together in other firms, but originally decided to take the plunge and strike out on their own in early 2004.

Landin’s resume also includes expertise in residential and mixed-use. Local projects include St. Clair Place (Building a Better Central Oregon Award) in Bend and RiverWest I & II.

“Architecture is about what the client has originally envisioned,” he said. “It requires the architect to put in use imagination, expertise and ethics to produce a successful project.”

GL3’s blueprint for success includes a commitment to continue building on the foundations of a customer-centered philosophy.

Flagship assignments have included the seven-story, 50-unit Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend, the 53-unit Discovery Park Lodge affordable senior living development in North West Crossing, Bend Memorial Clinic’s Westside primary care facility — the first LEED-certified building in Bend — and Vision Plaza, an urban-style two-story, 30,000 sq. ft. office condo complex with basement garage.

Landin said, “We really listen to what the client’s goals are, whether it be the contemporary thrust of a Vision Plaza; the needs of government and educational institutions, or, for instance, the 1880’s storefront feel of the Black Butte Crossing mixed-use concept in Sisters.

“We design projects in accordance with our client’s needs and wishes, and don’t necessarily have a ‘signature look’.

“It really is a collaborative effort with our team and the client fully involved in the process.

“Every client has an idea regarding the image or budget. We help them determine if that can realize that particular vision within that budget and it is a joint exercise to balance image, budget and value.

“We try to ask the right questions to ascertain what they want out of a project and our goal is to have them say ‘look what I designed’.”

Gorman added, “We are proud that we started from scratch and have built our business up to its current level.

“We have great clients, who have become great friends, and we appreciate their loyalty as evidenced by the amount of repeat business we enjoy.

“The fundamental is relationships. We have something of a low-key approach, but really attempt to absorb the client’s vision. Money is obviously important but doing a good job and having a happy client is more important.”

“Jim and I are fortunate as partners in that we get on well and each’s strengths complement the others.

“We started this company with an idea of how we wanted to interact with clients and staff.

“We have both worked with other companies and realized there were elements that were a good fit for us and others that weren’t.

“We strive to execute a business model that features the best way we believe to operate and over the years I believe we have remained true to that mission. Hopefully, that is reflected in the satisfaction and loyalty of our clients.

“Customer service and delivering on promises is as important as ever. We are always pursuing new business but are equally selective in who we work with and want to associate with clients who appreciate what we do.

Landin added, “One of the ways we believe we stand out is that we stay fully involved with the partners in our projects throughout the process.

“Also, in the early stages we lay out the scenarios for our clients, including the pros and cons of the ideas. Everyone has a different perspective or level of experience.

“Successful clients are our biggest advocates, and some of our best marketing sources come from referrals and recommendations.

“Successful projects are the best advertisement and it is gratifying to see the amount we have been able to achieve.”

Concluded Gorman, “What gives us as much pride as anything is having a positive impact on the community through architecture.

gl3-arch.com

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Simon Mather CBN Feature Writer

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