Profile

Steve Hall

My passion for design, craft, and technology have been lifelong. It began in art and building models as a child and developed working as a craftsman more than thirty years ago. I have been in construction and architecture ever since.

For eighteen years I was fortunate to work in three architectural firms that served clients locally, across the country, and around the world. I won design awards, resolved highly complex technical and logistical dilemmas engaging in hundreds of millions of dollars of construction, and created architecture that serves as places to live and work, to be healed and to play, to learn and to research, to worship, and even to be buried.

My personal design ideals are centered on what I call architectural integrity: the honesty of natural materials that create beautiful, comfortable, and useful places. According to a more traditional view of architecture, these ideals are both philosophical and practical, and require command of both art and science. So how did my perspective come to be?

Steve Hall Blacksmithing

I have been an artist since childhood. Before formal educational, professional, and modern trade experiences, I spent a decade apprenticing in the restored 18th century village of Old Salem and in historical reenactment. These are deep seated memories of hand-crafted methods and sustainable design strategies in venerable buildings without air conditioning, in cool cellars, and under ventilating roof purlins. I had a hand in felling and seasoning poplars for timberframing, made nails, tools, and architectural hardware as a blacksmith, formed and soldered sheet metal into lighting sconces, and split white oak roof shingles. I walked on huge hand cut stone thresholds, felt the sun through hand blown glass windows, and used doors set in place before America was founded.

These experiences remain foundational to my sense of buildings that are environmentally considerate and made with efficient workmanship to create places with palpable meaning centuries later. It followed that I would pursue various contemporary construction trades for the next ten years during and after architectural school. For me, building things is a way of understanding the world. It is a marriage of art and science, of philosophy and practical application, of design order and the nature of materials—mutual exploration in both mind and matter.

Art and craft come together for me. I now enjoy a complete woodworking shop that is home to all sorts of material experiments and explorations, sometimes associated with the budding interests of the next generation. I have been behind a camera since my youth, and have used computers since the first IBM PC, designing websites (including this one) from scratch with software I wrote. Precious little time is available for oil painting these days, but I may sketch, render, and model architecture with traditional methods or with virtual 3D ones as a particular project suggests.

My office, studio, and workshop are in my home located where Apex meets Cary. Feel free to email or call me for more conversation about how to define, design, and build inspiring places.

Steve Hall