Get to Know LEAP Founder and Architect, Eric Davenport in our next series of posts!
5 Questions with Eric
What was your first job?
My first job was working at Stewarts in Clifton Park, NY, where I grew up. One of my duties was scraping out the bottom of the chili pot—an experience that turned me on to vegetarianism, lol!
What led you to become an architect?
I think I’ve always been drawn to architecture, even as a little kid. The process of designing something that people will live and work in, it seems commonplace, but when you really think about it, it’s a really big deal. Architecture influences all of us, everyday, whether or not we consciously recognize it. One of my favorite quotes:
“Architecture is basically a container of something. I hope they will enjoy not so much the teacup, but the tea.” –Yoshio Taniguchi
How does your family influence your design approach?
My wife Claire and I have 3 children, ages 4, 12, and 19. So I understand that family life is sometimes chaotic. The flow of the house should bring a family together, be a backdrop for, yet also enhance daily activities. The materials used is another big consideration. These should be aesthetically pleasing, but also durable and easy to maintain. A good design meets the needs of both growing children and the parents. Many families need “together” spaces and “away” spaces to help balance the family dynamics. We also explore specific growth plans for families, and also businesses to help improve their bottom lines.
Have you traveled? How has that shaped you?
Travel has had a profound influence on my life and work. I worked through my undergraduate degree at Ball State University in Indiana. My last semester was spent in Copenhagen, Denmark. I really connected to the Scandinavian aesthetic—clean lines, lots of light, and it always feels fresh. The weather in Denmark is not so great, so little effort is spent on simple exteriors. However, the interiors are other-worldy: warm, cozy, vibrant spaces for living, working and playing are key to the Dane’s happy lifestyles.
I also traveled and studied in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, which helped inform our practice with historical context. It’s one thing to look at these ancient structures in a text book. When experiencing them in person, I learned how historic structures can be used in contemporary ways, and contribute to sustainable design strategies.
After coming back to the states, I knew that I needed to incorporate green and sustainable building practices into my designs. I complemented my environmental architecture education by attending ECOSA, the sustainable design institute in Prescott, AZ.
Spending time out in the desert was wild. It helped me appreciate the specificity of regional climates and their impact on architectural design. I studied under the guidance of Tony Brown, who was an apprentice of Paolo Soleri. Soleri, for those of you that don’t know, founded the Arcosanti, an urban laboratory focused on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability in the high desert of Arizona.
For the last 10 years I’ve been living and working in New York’s Capital District, which is also where I grew up. Living here, it feels a little like completing a circuit.
Do you have a passion project?
Haiti is a big one. I started volunteering in Haiti in 2003. The initial focus was on education and how to affordably create schools as a space for teaching with cultural arts. My involvement grew from there. I really fell in love with the country and the people. I’m proud to say that LEAP has worked not only on schools, but emergency relief community designs, sustainable agricultural pro
cessing plants, community centers, computer centers, and food security programs. I’m working on a longer story about my Haiti experiences, so stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.
[box type=”bio”] LEAP Architect, Eric Davenport excels in understanding complex needs of businesses and families. LEAP’s goal is to provide affordable solutions to companies and residential clients. He has extensive experience in single family and multi-family residential projects and also specializes in interior design.
Contact LEAP and let us put our experience to work for you![/box]