CALVINO architecture studio
Mike Calvino, architect

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About Calvino Architecture Studio

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Mike Calvino received his architectural education at the University of Florida acquiring a Bachelor of Design in 1992 and a Master of Architecture in 1994. Calvino also earned his Architect's license in 1999, received his NCARB certification in 2002 and a Certified General Contractor's license in 2000. He opened his own design studio in November of 1997 and continues to design and build projects at a variety of scales as the design focus leads.

Calvino's interest and enjoyment of the hands-on side of the making process began early, making wooden model ships from scratch around age 10--13 and in the mid-90's, after college the crafting of things took on a sort of necessity role as the quest to find willing craftsmen to build and/or fabricate design ideas became seemingly more trouble than it was worth.  Calvino's first commissioned project, the Loft for Sarah in 1995 started with a wood model and some detailed drawings.  When it came time to fabricate the pieces, after visiting a number of welding/fab shops, and getting nothing but excuses and ideas about how to build it differently, Calvino bought a welder, a welding handbook, a welding text book, taught himself how to weld and practiced on a number of scrap steel sections, testing the welds with known weights and loading conditions to verify weld integrity, and fabricated the project himself.  This project set a precedent of seeking fabricators/contractors to build projects, but when (and it was much more often than not) resistance or very high pricing was encountered, Calvino took on the crafting of the projects himself with the assistance of relatives and interested students.  When the commission for the Ruskin House came along, the same pattern ensued and Calvino acquired his CGC License in Florida and has been his own contractor ever since.

Over time a handful of great craftsmen have been found who have brought an ability to tackle more complex and larger projects while maintaining the design sense that makes the work of the studio so unique.

The Importance of Building

Building is an experience by which we learn about materials, their qualities, and processes of making.  Experience is more than knowledge in that one gains, by all senses, a memory of being physically involved with a process.   Experience is something that cannot be fully explained in words or with photographs or sketches.  The experience of mig welding for instance, involves hearing the crackle of the weld like bacon frying, it involves feeling the push of the wire on the gun when the wire speed is too high, it involves a projection of ones self into the micro-world of the molten steel puddle at the point of contact between the electrode and the base steel.  By experiencing welding one gains an understanding of the strength of steel, of how hot it's melting point is, of what it means to bend it, to vaporize it with an oxy-acetylene torch.  One gains a more complete understanding of a material or system and is able to manipulate these materials and systems to make them expressive, and to give them the ability to form concepts and ideas rather than just buildings.

For a list of projects, see the links at the top left of this page.

Previous Employment - Mike Calvino
1995 - 1997: Lescher and Mahoney Architects, Tampa, FL.
                      Member of design team, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL among others.
1994:             Architects' Design Group, Winter Park, FL
                      Designer on a number of small projects.
1992 - 1994: Richard Meier and Partners, Architects, New York City, NY.
                      Member of design teams for: Addition to House in Palm Beach, FL.  Potsdamer Platz Master Plan, Competition Entry, Berlin, Germany.  Federal Building and United States Courthouse, Islip, New York.  Compaq Computer Administrative, Manufacturing, and Distribution Center Master Plan.  The Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA, among others.

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