By Liz Witbeck
Susan Davis founded the architecture company at SD Atelier of Saratoga Springs in 1992.
In 1996, her husband Don joined the firm, and the two have been working together ever since.
Davis, originally from the Boston area, went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she received her degree in architecture studies.
“From a young age, even in high school, I always enjoyed working on projects,” she said. “I liked to come up with solutions for things. I liked architecture because it was a combination of using technical skills and creativity.”
After college graduation, she spent a year in Switzerland working at an architecture atelier, or studio.
SD Atelier, located inside of the Algonquin Building at 510 Broadway, Saratoga Springs,works on a variety of projects in Saratoga Springs and the Adirondacks.
On of their projects was the McDonald’s at 197 South Broadway.
“We are proud we were part of that project. The client had been working on it for two years before they said they’d really need to hire an architect to do the job. That is when we got involved” she said.
Some other projects include the Saratoga Springs Indoor Recreation Facility, the Adirondack League Club, a renovation of the Burnt Hills Veterinarian Hospital, the Seagle Colony Theater Building in Schroon Lake, and an addition to the Schroon Lake Public Library.
Davis also works on many residential projects. Her clients typically request custom-made homes, especially in an Adirondack-style theme.
“I love working with natural materials. There’s a lot of history involved with the buildings that we work on,” said Davis.
The homes feature elements such as timber frames, rugged finishes, log cabins, boat homes, rustic kitchens and furnishings and other natural elements.
“Collaborating with clients is the most fun part of the job,” she said. “It’s great seeing clients who appreciate what you have done for them.”
As far as giving advice to students who would like to become future architects, especially young women, Davis wants them to remember the fast-paced nature of the field and the significant role that technology will play in the future.
“Architecture is a rigorous academic program. Trends such as virtual reality are going to impact the way that we are able to do design” she said.
One of the best things about architecture, she said, is the diversity of the field.
“There isn’t just one kind of architecture. I have friends all over the world who are all doing different things,” she said. “I have one friend who designs bridges. For awhile, back in college, I briefly considered going into landscape architecture. You can do many different things in this field.”
For more information, visit sdatelier.com