As we continue to explore the new David Hovey Sr., FAIA catalogue raisonné, it’s a pleasure to linger over the expansive, thoughtful essay penned by distinguished architecture writer and long-time associate, Cheryl Kent. This examination of Hovey’s career entitled, “The Achievement,” provides new perspectives on his career that give us greater appreciation for what he has cared deeply about, and the impact he has made.
In speaking about Hovey’s core beliefs, Kent explains:
“David Sr. continues as CEO and a principal architect. Now in his mid-seventies, he is beginning to pull back and leave more responsibility to his heirs. Still, he continues to work every day, ‘helping’ as he says ‘wherever I’m needed.’ In 2004, Optima opened an Arizona office but it has been building in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area since 2000. Today, Optima projects routinely gross over one million square feet and sometimes more than two. Over the course of the company’s existence, it has built nearly six thousand residential units with another 950 now in the works. And the pace has picked up. In its early years, the firm did approximately one project a year; now it is likely to have projects in construction in both markets at the same time, and sometimes more than one in each.
“It is significant that Hovey accomplished this over decades when his design philosophy, modernism — and he does embrace it as a philosophy — was out of step with the architectural mainstream. When many architects had embraced postmodernism beginning in the 1970s arguing for conventional historical references non-cognoscenti could understand and still other architects turned to deconstructivism that no one could understand, Hovey was steadfast in his belief in the tenets of modernism, in the future, in technology, in material honesty, in structural expression, and in architecture’s ability to improve life for people. Architecture, Hovey insists, must be expressive of its time and employ the latest technology. He has made a highly successful career of well-designed housing in a modernist idiom.”
The projects in the early years of Hovey’s career allowed him to hone his practice by continuing to take on greater challenges in location, scope, size and materials — all the while staying true to his core beliefs and principles.
The serene Chicago-suburbs neighbor of Evanston, Wilmette offers proximity to the hustle and bustle of the city while also serving as an oasis of coffee shops, local boutiques and expansive parkscapes. Wilmette is home to three of our communities, Lake Courts, 1618 Sheridan Road and Optima Center Wilmette, and today we’re spotlighting why we, our residents and our commercial tenants love this Chicago suburb.
Bordered by Lake Michigan on the east and sprawling golf courses on the west, Wilmette is the perfect suburban hub for those that love leisurely outdoor activities. For lakefront fanatics, Gillson Park is an expansive reserve with beach access, perfect for swimming, sailing, picnicking, tennis, hiking and more. For casual and competitive golf hobbyists alike, Wilmette Golf Club is the best public golf course challenge in the area.
No Chicago suburb is complete without the inclusion of a wide-ranging and diverse array of cultural institutions. Wilmette is the proud home to the Baháʼí House of Worship, one of only eight of its kind. The continental temple is an architectural marvel, worth the visit just to explore its gardens and interior and learn more about the faith. The Wilmette Historical Museum is also a fantastic local resource for learning more about the city’s story and roots.
Just north of Chicago, Evanston merges the best of city and suburban living with a quaint-yet-thriving downtown, ample access to public transportation, the Northwestern University campus and a prime lakeside location. The site of high-rise buildings downtown, beautiful historic houses on tree-lined streets, and several Optima condominiums (Optima Towers, Optima Views, Optima Horizons, 840 Michigan, North Pointe), today we’re diving into what makes Evanston a great place to call home.
Arts & Culture
While Chicago’s iconic museums are only a purple-line train ride away, Evanston is home to its own thriving local art scene. The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University hosts dynamic and global art exhibits, while institutions such as the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian and the Halim Time & Glass Museum showcase unique exhibits of their own. Right next to Evanston, the Wilmette neighborhood is home to the Bahai Temple, a stunningly architected house of worship that’s worth a visit just for a summertime stroll through its gardens alone.
Shopping and Dining
Evanston’s downtown core is the proud home to hyperlocal boutiques and restaurants that range from traditional staples to niche experiences. For more adventurous shoppers, The Spice House is a global fresh-ground store going sixteen years strong, while Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop is a rock/jewelry/bead shop with a basement fossil museum. Meanwhile, Vintage Garage Chicago is a monthly flea market that takes place in the lot just next door to Optima Views.
It’s also never hard to find a good bite to eat in Evanston, with fan-favorites like Found, a hot spot offering seasonal farm-to-table fare, and Dinkel’s Bakery, the only place to be on Fat Tuesday.
Urban Nature Experiences
With a prime lakeside location, naturally Evanston has an abundance of lush parks, beaches and lakefront trails perfect for strolling, jogging and biking. Evanston’s lakeshore is also home to the historic Grosse Pointe Lighthouse, an iconic landmark bordered by the beautiful Harley Clarke Mansion and Lighthouse beach. And closer to downtown, the Merrick Rose Garden offers temporary reprieve from streets and storefronts for those who want to stop and smell the roses.
Stay tuned for more neighborhood spotlights on our other Optima communities.