• For over forty years in New York City and the Berkshires, John Fülöp Associates has been involved in the design of economic, aesthetically pleasing and sustainably built new buildings and alterations to existing buildings throughout the country and abroad.
• Energy conservation is a factor that has affected all our design work since our first projects in 1974. Where it is practical, desirable and consistent with site and financial limitations we work hard to integrate a range of alternate forms of energy into the overall design concept.
• Commissions have included custom residential, commercial projects, institutional structures, and multifamily and single family housing as well as planning studies for both urban and rural settings.
• To suit the specific needs of each project, a multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers and urban planners and other professionals are assembled This team works to develop a design that will meet the spatial, aesthetic and financial requirements of the client.
• Unlike many large firms that specialize in a single building type, we believe that designing a variety of buildings is basic to good design, and that new problems ultimately lead to new and innovative solutions.
Reuse of Existing Structures
• It is often to the client's advantage to find new uses for existing structures, particularly because of the scarcity of undeveloped land in urban settings and the need to maintain open space in rural areas. Thus we have remained committed to the recycling of existing buildings for both public and private uses.
Research & Experimentation
• In line with our continued exploration in designing new structures, our underlying direction is one of constant research and experimentation with a variety of new architectural forms, new green materials as well as alternate forms of energy in architecture.
• We work hard to make our clients happy with their building. Because our final criteria for a job well done is the way in which our design concepts accommodate function, our concern for the process of architecture extends not only through the design and construction phases of a project, but also into the subsequent life of the building and the health of it occupants.
General Description of our Services : The Product and Process
• To create a building, space or facility that reflects your practical needs as well as your "dreams" in every respect. For us, the design process is the creation of a total environment that satisfies functional needs while shaping aesthetically beautiful, exciting, dynamic spaces in cost effective and ecological responsible ways.
Why we can save you money:
• We guide you through the entire design and construction process and help you define what you want to build and show you how to get the most for your construction dollar.
• We can save you money in the overall cost, because a well conceived project can be built more efficiently and economically. It is a great deal cheaper to plan your project and make the necessary changes on paper when the need arises, rather then when construction is under way.
• We solve problems in creative ways, that is, we help you achieve your requirements and wishes in ways that work with your budget.
• Energy efficient buildings save money on fuel bills and general maintenance during the life of the building.
• We help you choose materials and finishes that are durable and ecologically responsible as well as beautiful, saving on frequent maintenance and replacement costs. We are current with the latest green materials offered in the marketplace and keep a file on their effectiveness.
• Because good design ads value, a well designed house has a higher resale price.
• If your project requires engineering or other design services, we coordinate the team. We sort out complex building codes and zoning laws, help you find qualified construction contractors and help verify that your project is being built according to the plans and specifications.
We achieve the above goals by employing the following method:
A. Programmatic Phase: In this stage which we consider the most important phase of the project, we develop the Program. We clarify, in words, exactly what your requirements are for your building project. We use our own outline questionnaire, developed over the years to get as much specific information as possible on the proposed project. The questions range from general information concerning the style of the proposed building project to very specific questions about what materials to use on all surfaces in all rooms.
B. Schematic Sketches: Following the successful completion of the Program, preliminary Schematic Sketches are developed using the information contained in the Program. A "schematic" layout of the floor plan is drawn showing functional relationships of spaces with some indications of size. Upon approval of the SCHEMATIC LAYOUT:
C. Design Drawings: We will draw Architectural plans based on the approved Schematic layout. At this point the project takes shape and the way the building will look becomes more precisely clear to you. We continue the discussion of the materials to be used as they begin to be inserted in the design drawings. At this point we can generate a more realistic estimated budget for the project. Upon approval of the DESIGN PHASE:
D. Construction Drawing Phase: We will prepare all drawings and specifications necessary for construction. Specific Details are drawn showing how certain aspects of the construction are achieved. Standards of construction quality are set for each trade (phase) of the work to be done. Upon approval of CONSTRUCTION DRAWING PHASE:
E. Contractor Negotiations: We encourage our clients to use a cost plus agreement with the contractor because it tends to be more economical (reflecting actual vs. estimated costs) and begins the owner/contractor relationship on a more amicable basis. Over the many years we have selected a group of knowledgeable, honest builders who are excellent craftsmen. This method is encouraged in alteration work because of the many possible unknowns in the existing building.
We also often work on a bid basis contacting several (usually three) contractors to obtain bids on the work to be done. We aid the owner in negotiating a fair bid price, and in selecting the best contractor for the project. This form of contract is more common in new construction because the unknowns are usually fewer, (such as ledge, underground water table levels, etc.). The contractor usually obtains the building permits, but if the situation requires, we do it.
F. Construction Inspection to Completion: We will Inspect the progress of construction. It is during this phase that we check for compliance with the construction drawings and specifications. We usually spend a great deal of time on this part of the job, not only because it's the most satisfying for us but also because we want to be there for any potential problems should they arise during construction.
• Generally, our fee structure can vary between a percentage of the construction cost, an hourly basis or a lump sum for the entire job to be done. Our fees for the basic services outlined above vary based on the type of project we're designing. Fees for an alteration are generally higher than for new construction because of the additional time needed to study and record the existing building or space to be added to or altered.
• There are a number of reimbursable items which are not included in our fee and they usually include items such as travel, filing fees, blueprints to the contractor(s), long distance telephone and similar expenses that are extraordinary to the project.
• Finally, the many ways in which we set up our fee for a particular job always depends on the type of building project we're designing, so we don't have a standard rate or structure for our fees.
• If you have any further questions about any part of our services, or would like to meet again to discuss how we can be of service to you, please call us at any of the above telephone numbers.
In 1989, after twenty years of architectural practice in New York City, I opened a satellite office in the Berkshires, where I had spent many years of "family" time. One of the firm's primary aims has always been the design of energy efficient, affordable homes and opening our Berkshires office has provided better access to building projects in the area. For me, the Berkshires has been a place to experiment and develop project ideas. In 1981 I designed a small (24'x24') affordable, passive solar private residence in Monterey, MA which was later developed into a prototype "starter" house. Published in Popular Science Magazine as the "Little Big House" over thirty years ago, it's become popular with many people all over the world because of its efficiency and economy (today we occasionally get requests for plans). Many versions of this low cost house have been built throughout the United States as well as abroad.
Today, my focus remains on designing beautiful, affordable, sustainable, green, single-family as well as multiple unit net zero-energy residence buildings.
A short account of my activities beginning when I left Budapest (in 1944) appeared in a local paper recently and can be accessed on line at: "On the Bridge: John Fülöp remembers Hungary in World War II".
In late 1974 I started my own architectural/planning firm. For over forty years, we have been designing beautiful, functional, energy efficient, sustainable new buildings and alterations to existing structures. We have created designs of single and multi-family homes on the East Coast, Nantucket, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands, as well as Commercial, and Institutional projects. JF Associates spearheaded several community planning and reconstruction projects for municipalities in Massachusetts and New York State. During this period, projects were also developed and designed with associates Bill Richardson in the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky. The early years of the firm the office was located in a loft on Mott Street in Little Italy, NYC. In 1983, the office moved to larger quarters in the landmark Singer Building, at Broadway and Prince Street. This is a cast iron building that would have been demolished, along with the rest of the historic buildings in the district that would eventually become known as SOHO, if the lower Manhattan Expressway, had become a reality.