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Michael Goldman

Michael Goldman

by Joseph Montebello

For architect Michael Goldman every new project is an adventure and he immerses himself in the entire process – from beginning to end.

“For me, one of the greatest feelings is watching the progression," said Goldman, “from the original plans to the final construction. It’s important for me to be involved in the entire process. When you’re detailing something and seeing it through to fabrication, it’s going to feed into the next project. It’s a constant learning process."

Goldman feels it was preordained for him to be an architect. “Somehow my parents decided that’s what I should be and I never questioned it. Both my parents were imaginative – my father was an electronics engineer and an inventor; my mother was a fine artist for years and then designed cloisonné jewelry," Goldman explained.

Off he went to Syracuse University followed by graduate school at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, England. His first job brought him to Chicago, working for one of the country’s most prestigious firms Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.

It was a huge company with hundreds of people and very corporate," said Goldman. “Although it gave me a good solid overview of the business and commercial architecture, it definitely confirmed the fact that I am not a corporate person. And I was more drawn to residential architecture."

Goldman returned to New York and worked with Charles Prentiss Thompson where he honed the craft of traditional house design. That was followed by a twelve-year stint with internationally famous French designer Thierry W. Despont. Goldman considers both men his mentors and thanks to their encouragement and belief in his work and talent, he started his own practice in New York City in 1998.

Goldman maintains a small staff and limits the number of projects so that each client is guaranteed personal attention. And he doesn’t shy away from challenges.

“ I like to think that our firm doesn’t have one particular style," Goldman said. “I love the many languages that architecture presents; Greek Revival, the clarity of Japanese design, the simplicity of the perfect white clapboard house, newly built but displaying the grand traditions of simplicity and authenticity that relate to the land on which it sits."

In order to hone in on what he hopes will be the finished product that the client is hoping for, Goldman spends as much time as needed to explore different approaches with every client.

“I love to listen. I try to capture everything the client has thought and dreamed about. I encourage them to share ideas, tearsheets, any images that convey what they hope will be their ideal space. And then I set about to make that happen."

Clients are comfortable with Goldman because he is dedicated to pursuing their dreams and, in the process, creates yet another example of his talent and vision. One of his great assets is his ability to combine seriousness and laughter.

“We are in this together and I need to have the client believe in me and understand that I’m there to bring their dreams to fruition and along with the formal part of the project, I want them to have fun – for all of us to have fun!"

Goldman has designed spaces ranging in size from 1500 square feet to 60,000. All with the same intensity and enthusiasm. While his work is intense, he is able to escape on weekends to his house in the northeast corner of Dutchess County.

“Over twenty years ago, we built a modern farmhouse. The first reaction when someone visits is that we found the existing structure and simply restored it. But then I point out the features that wouldn’t have been possible in the earlier centuries. But I tried to make it authentic using today’s materials and satisfying our modern needs."

His favorite part of being in the country is what surrounds him. “There is a kind of gentle roll to the hills," he explained, “there are no huge mountains. There are fields, intimate valleys, and always new roads to explore."

And finding new roads and exploring new challenges is what makes Goldman a success.

Learn more about Michael Goldman on BerkshireStyle

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