Architecture Plus Inc.'s Craig Boone Speaks to Current Design Needs

Architecture Plus Inc.'s Craig Boone Speaks to Current Design Needs
Boone has been recognized with the Alpha Rho Chi Medal for leadership from the UA School of Architecture & Design. (Corey S. Krasko)

Boone, a native of Fort Smith, has been a licensed architect for 30 years, with experience in multifamily housing, governmental, residential and K-12 education projects. He is president of the Arkansas chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a member of the Arkansas State Board of Architects, Landscape Architects & Interior Designers.

Boone graduated from the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture & Design.

What features are must-haves in multifamily housing these days?

As millennials enter the workforce, they are finding that the single-family housing market has outpriced them, so they are turning to the multifamily market as an option. This move is causing the multifamily housing providers to reinvent their product. The growing number of home-based employees is forcing providers to compete by providing more technology amenities. Features such as high-speed internet, app-based lighting, climate control, video doorbells and security are no longer considered as upgrades but necessities. In addition, common spaces have become an important part of multifamily living. Gone are the days of a swingset and a barbecue grill. Tenants are now looking for spaces that are flexible in use and enhance the sense of community. Community rooms, pools and exercise rooms are now expected in multifamily complexes. Other key considerations are the proximity to basic life needs. As they transition away from vehicles, tenants are looking for housing that is close to stores, restaurants and health care that can be reached by walking or by bicycle.

How has educational facility design changed over the years?

The biggest change in educational facility design is safety and security. Architects are always looking at new ways to make our schools safer while still maintaining a pleasant and vibrant learning environment. Access control, interior and external monitoring and electronic locking are just a few ways we are making schools safer. By reviewing plans with school administration and school resource officers, we can adjust designs to meet each school’s safety needs. COVID-19 taught us the importance of indoor air quality. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, architects and engineers have worked to improve the air students breathe. By replacing older HVAC systems with new, more efficient units with better filtration, indoor air quality has been greatly improved.

What green features are customers demanding?

As our customers become more educated and aware of climate change and its effects, we are seeing more of a push for green building features. Water efficiencies, water recycling, indoor air quality, use of recycled materials, solar energy, eco-friendly equipment and building automation are just a few of the items that clients are pushing us to consider. Those owners not only set goals regarding the future of our planet but also the long-term savings in building operations.

What building that you worked on are you most proud of? Why?

During the past 30 years, I have had the opportunity to work on numerous projects and building types, and each has its own special place for me. The biggest thing I am proud of is not the buildings, but the relationships that they have brought. As an architect I must always keep in mind that even the smallest project is important.