fbpx

New Book Release: Reflections on the Career of David Hovey Sr., FAIA

Hot off the press is the spectacular retrospective of the 40+ year career of David Hovey Sr., FAIA, Optima’s CEO and Founder. David Hovey Sr., released by Images Publishing, is a collector’s item that arrived on bookshelves in January 2022. The monograph opens with a beautiful introductory essay by the late luminary architect Helmut Jahn, who wrote about their decades-long friendship and Hovey’s “staggering” influence on architecture. Entitled “Living Beautifully,” Jahn explains:

“The best thing that can be said about the work of David Hovey Sr. in his chosen field of multi-family and single-family housing is that he builds unique and inventive dwellings for people to live beautifully. That he chooses to play not just the role of the architect but also that of developer, contractor, construction manager, sales and leasing agent, and building operator makes the achievement even more remarkable. As his own client and CEO of his company, Optima, Hovey demonstrates that it’s possible to successfully execute the very different skills of an architect and a developer by applying tremendous knowledge and tenacity and assuming great responsibility. Many who have tried to work as an architect-developer have failed because they did not find the right balance. David Hovey expanded the role of the architect to the level of a master building and in this, he is without equal in his generation.”

A sketch of Optima’s Sterling Ridge

In the words of friend and chronicler, Jahn talks about the arc of Hovey’s career:

“Hovey’s built work is a testament to constant refinement and improvement, each project a step along a path to take on new and bigger challenges, never being afraid of making a mistake by doing something new. The achievements of an architect become more evident with the passing of time. The good buildings become more important, the others will be forgotten.”

In Jahn’s reflections on Hovey’s deep understand of the complex issue of climate change, he shares his thoughts this way:

“David Hovey’s work should be recognized for more than its architectural design. This is particularly evident in his desert buildings where he addresses the important issue of climate change that challenges architecture today. Authorities measure energy consumption as the primary factor in building construction. Looking at energy efficiency alone is the wrong measure. We don’t have an energy problem, we have an emissions problem. Carbon dioxide is the principal culprit in climate change and the building industry contributes a considerable amount of it to the atmosphere.

Optima’s Biltmore Towers

“In Hovey’s buildings, there are strategies that address climate issues. This is demonstrated in the use of many prefabricated lightweight materials for load-bearing or non-load-bearing, enclosing parts. This extends to the use of recycled steel. Hovey regularly employs effective sun-shading devices. His strategies include LED lighting as well as energy-saving heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. Sustainability is assured by design and not through additional equipment or devices, which don’t pay off over time. Here, the mind of the architect and developer in one person can best design and build buildings where nothing can be taken away to come closer to perfection. Only through knowledge, determination, and a deep sense of responsibility can these energy goals be achieved, as the buildings show.”

Stay tuned for other inspiring excerpts from David Hovey Sr., along with stunning images of completed structures and his extraordinary sketches. For those who wish to purchase the book, it is available through a number of booksellers online.

The Future of Sustainable Design in Architecture

At Optima, sustainable design has always been part of our ethos, as we strive to create vibrant communities built with the surrounding natural environment at the forefront. And as technology continues pushing the boundaries of sustainability in architecture, we wanted to explore what the future might possibly hold. 

Historically, sustainable architecture has focused on lush outdoor environments, and at Optima, we know the benefits of urban greenspaces, which is why we have incorporated them into our communities for decades. Urban greenspaces and vertical landscaping are just some of the many sustainable features found in many of our Optima communities that help promote mental and physical health, while mitigating pollution and emulating the feeling of oasis. 

Today, as new age modernism continues to evolve and environmentalism exceeds formalism, designers and architects are developing new ways to create built environments that also benefit the Earth. The newest approach to sustainable architecture is found within regenerative building. 

Regenerative building looks beyond lessening harmful impact; it seeks ways to repair and restore the surrounding environment. In the regenerative design process, innovators conceive ways for each building to produce its own energy, treat its own water and emit a net-positive impact on the environment. 

The Centre for the Built Environment’s living wall which features 24 plant species and 7,000 plants, courtesy of Nova Scotia Community College
The Centre for the Built Environment’s living wall which features 24 plant species and 7,000 plants, courtesy of Nova Scotia Community College

While global contests like Redesign the World are encouraging designers to envision radical solutions to end environmental issues through built communities, some architects have begun to bring regenerative building to life. 

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, Georgia Tech, courtesy of Justin Chan Photography, Lord Aeck Sargent, and Miller Hull Partnership
The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design, Georgia Tech, courtesy of Justin Chan Photography, Lord Aeck Sargent, and Miller Hull Partnership

Buildings like The Kendeda Building For Innovative Sustainable Design found on Georgia Tech’s campus and Portal High School in Irvine, California use green roofs and water collection systems to reduce reliance on negative forms of energy. Other buildings like Nova Scotia Community College’s Centre for the Built Environment take advantage of multiple sustainable design features like living walls, geothermal systems and solar and wind energy to regenerate and restore their surroundings. 

As sustainable approaches to design continue to expand over time, we can’t wait to continue exploring how – through architecture – we can change contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.

2021: A Year in Review

As we kick off 2022, we want to take a moment to reflect on how we’ve continued to grow, learn and serve others over the past 12 months. Here are just a few highlights:

Awards

We were honored to receive a total of 9 awards this year! Our design and architecture were recognized with the AIA Chicago Firm of the Year Award, AIA Chicago Design Excellence Awards – Distinguished Building Award (Arizona Courtyard House), and Chicago Athenaeum’s American Architecture Award twice (Optima Kierland and Optima Sonoran Village). 

Art Baril, our Maintenance Manager at Optima Sonoran Village was awarded the Gold Facilities and Maintenance Manager of the Year by Multi-Housing News at their 2021 MNH Excellence Awards. 

Our culture and values were also acknowledged in 2021 with the AZCentral Top Companies 2021 Award and Best Places to Work in Chicago for the second year in a row. 

To see the full 2021 lineup, visit our awards page here

Projects and Properties

This was a significant year for development, construction, leasing and more at Optima. In Chicago, we continued construction at Optima Lakeview, which is nearly complete. The project is the first multifamily development to achieve the WiredScore Home Gold Certification in North America. We also returned to our roots on the North Shore where we broke ground on our newest development, Optima Verdana, and plan to introduce our signature vertical landscaping system to the Midwest.

In Arizona, our leasing team worked tirelessly to lease up our new 7140 tower at Optima Kierland Apartments, and our second condo building, 7180 Optima Kierland, closed out. We also broke ground on the fifth and final residential tower at Optima Kierland, 7190 Optima Kierland which will open in 2023.

Culture

Throughout 2021 our culture at Optima continued to thrive through richly rewarding avenues of kinship and connection. We celebrated the autumn season with our second annual pumpkin carving and costume contest, observed Diwali, the festival of lights, and shared laughs and stories while celebrating our successful year at company outings at Topgolf and a Chicago Cubs Game. We also enjoyed the return of in-person happy hours during the year.

Our team continued to embrace and internalize our shared values more than ever. We gave back to the communities we live in by volunteering at the Skokie Lagoons on the Chicago North Shore, picking up trash at the boat launch. We also took the opportunity to acknowledge eight Optima employees with our Core Values Award for their exceptional representation of our beliefs throughout their work. 

We can’t thank our leadership, team members and Optima communities enough for making 2021 one to remember. Heading into 2022, we are excited to continue innovating and achieving great things together.

How to Keep Active in the Winter With Optima Fitness Centers

When the weather turns cold and the days get shorter, it can be difficult to stay true to our fitness goals. As part of Optima’s commitment to creating happy and healthy communities, we’re constantly developing ways to keep residents active throughout the year. In all of our buildings, residents will find incredible fitness and wellness amenities to stave off winter blues.

Indoor Basketball/Pickleball

The basketball courts at Optima provide generous spaces for individuals or groups to build endurance and strengthen their bodies, and they are thoughtfully designed to effortlessly flow into the modern design around them. Residents can step onto the courts to spend time doing drills or to join a pickup game. And as pickleball becomes evermore popular, many of our courts are now fitted out to accommodate this popular game, giving each space greater versatility.

Yoga 

For those looking for vigor, balance, stretching and meditative activity, Optima’s yoga studios are the perfect answer. Our yoga studios are fantastic for residents to learn more about themselves, practice mindfulness and discover new ways of staying active. Maintaining a routine yoga practice provides mental and physical health benefits, including improved energy and vitality. And, similar to all of our other amenity spaces, our yoga studios serve as spaces to build community and connect with other Optima residents who might share the same values.

Optima Lakeview’s state-of-the-art fitness center

Expansive Fitness Centers

Included in each of our apartment communities and many of our condominiums, Optima’s expansive fitness centers offer residents endless opportunities to focus on their health and wellness. At Optima Lakeview, the fitness center has been outfitted with top-of-the-line cardio equipment, a weight room, a light-filled studio for yoga and stretching and locker rooms with complimentary towel service. Residents can also take advantage of yoga classes and personal training, along with outdoor clubs for runners, bikers and nature lovers.

Swimming Pool at 7140 Kierland
Rooftop sky deck pool at the 7140 tower at Optima Kierland Apartments

Swimming Pools

No discussion of fitness and wellness amenities at Optima would be complete without showcasing our swimming pools. Many of our communities, including Optima Kierland, Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Signature and Optima Lakeview, offer beautifully-designed indoor and/or outdoor swimming pools — ideal for lap swimming and water aerobics — as a central feature of our impressive rooftop sky deck spaces. While the health benefits of swimming are compelling year-round, they are especially powerful in the cold winter months when a regular pool routine can be both invigorating and relaxing.

Rooftop Sauna at Optima Kierland Apartments
Rooftop Sauna at Optima Kierland Apartments

Saunas

A favorite among Optima residents, our rooftop saunas are a relaxing way to stay healthy throughout the year. While they aren’t a means to be active, saunas come with a wealth of  benefits, providing residents with an opportunity to reduce stress, relieve pain and recharge. While the benefits of using a sauna are seemingly endless, with cold weather, hopping into a heated room might be the only motivation you need.

At Optima communities, residents never have to fear the impact of winter on their mobility or on their peace of mind. With our healthy environments and distinctive amenities, mental and physical health are always a priority.

Team Member Spotlight: Rebecca Grossman

As we reflect on our values and character as a company, we always come back to the same truth: our team members represent the best of Optima. Recently, we interviewed Rebecca Grossman, Optima Kierland’s Leasing Manager, about her journey to Optima Kierland, how residents and staff have helped create an extended family for her and the impact she has had on Optima.

Tell us a bit about your background and the role you play at Optima.

Before Optima, I worked in retail management for 15 years – 9 of which were in Philadelphia – before I moved to Scottsdale. When the pandemic  began, I realized retail would never be the same. I struggled to figure out what could be next in my career, and where I could take my experience and interest in customer service to a higher level. As part of my search, I found an opening on LinkedIn at the Optima Kierland apartments. Coincidentally, I live directly across the street from the properties! I did my research and realized that everything Optima stands for aligns perfectly with my values and who I am as a person.

I was hired as a Leasing Consultant in March 2020. Just based on who I am and how I work, it was natural for me to take on leadership roles working with our leasing and resident teams, and was promoted three months later to my current position as Leasing Manager. I now manage two leasing consultants and work very closely with our two resident coordinators and nearly 600 residents daily. 

Tell us a bit about the Optima Way and what it means to the Optima Kierland residents and staff.

Something I love in life is building relationships and connections, so the fact that I get to come to work every day and do just that…well, it doesn’t feel like work at all! And what I have learned since joining the Optima team is that my values around relationships and connections is identical to those of the company. In fact, it’s captured in a companywide philosophy called “the Optima Way.” 

The Optima Way is so successful here at Kierland because our team shows a level of empathy for residents and one another that is unmatched. We make sure both residents and staff at Kierland always feel valued, seen and heard. We also sincerely believe that our residents are extended family to us. We care about everyone and take the time to be thoughtful and considerate during all of our interactions. 

Optima has a distinct set of values that really differentiates it from other companies. Which values really speak to the work you do at Optima?

One of our core values at Optima is there is a solution for every problem, and I feel like our team has embraced that value and demonstrates it every day. I try to lead by example and show my team how critical our work and values are so they can strive to that same level of passion – and they do. 

A line of golfers get ready to tee off on a course
Optima Kierland Apartments Golf Outing at the Westin Kierland

Can you give us a few examples of the great programming your team has been doing of late?

One of our upcoming events is an exciting food tour across the city. The company we’re working with will be taking our residents — by party bus —  to four different restaurants where they’ll be served a cocktail and appetizer at each one. We love to think out of the box for activities, and this is so different from anything I’ve ever seen an apartment community do!

We’ve done flower arrangement courses, fitness classes, cookouts and golf tournaments. We take the time to understand our residents’ interests so we can tailor our programs around them. And because our events align with the things our residents care about, each event that we host helps build that community that we strive to create here at Optima Kierland. 

Can you give us a few examples of ways in which your team has gone “above and beyond” for your residents in ways that really make a difference?

We have a resident who has lived with us for a long time, and her dogs mean the whole world to her. Recently, one of them passed away after a long illness. We knew it would be incredibly stressful for our resident to retrieve her dog’s ashes, so we simply took care of it for her.  I feel moments like these reflect the Optima Way; we act out of genuine kindness, generosity and reciprocity all the time — and not because it’s part of our job description. 

In another case, a couple moved to Optima Kierland from Philadelphia, and it was an enormous undertaking for them. I helped organize many details of the move, from getting their car shipped here to having their apartment custom painted. We also organized a surprise birthday party for a resident’s daughter and surprised residents who were honeymooning in Mexico with champagne at their hotel. Doing these small things is simply practicing the Optima Way, and it all adds up to create a sense of trust and family that we all share.  

What are some things you’ve learned during your time at Optima?

I thought that after a successful 15-year career in retail I knew everything there was to know about customer service and building relationships. It turns out that I didn’t know the half of it. I have become a stronger person here. I thought I knew my limits, and then I learned to push farther. We’re always striving for better, and sometimes it’s been intimidating, but I feel like my team and I are the best version of ourselves as a result.

Easy Houseplants for the Indoor Gardener

While Chicago’s seasons are distinctly wonderful, we do miss our outdoor gardens, parks and greenspaces in the winter months. One antidote to winter’s edge is to bring gardening indoors, especially in the light-filled apartments at Optima Signature, which provide beautiful spaces for plants to flourish year-round. There are countless benefits to indoor gardening — brightening a room, improving mental health, cleaning and freshening the air around you — to name a few. And if you haven’t yet discovered your green thumb, here are some easy-to-find houseplants that will flourish inside, and allow you to remain surrounded by greenery year-round.

Pothos

A trailing vine that can fit in a small pot, Pothos has the nickname “devils ivy” for a reason, essentially because they live ceaselessly. Pothos is the perfect plant for the beginner gardener or the urban dweller, as the sunlight it prefers can either be bright and lower level. Pothos also can handle over and under-watering and its vibrant green leaves look lovely spilling out from its pot.

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Orchids are elegant flowers but need slightly more attention and effort than most plants. For those hoping to try their indoor gardening on the flower, the Phalaenopsis Orchid, native to tropical Asian climates, prefers to sit in east or south windows. Though it does need a humid environment, the beautiful show blooms are considerably forgiving when it comes to caring. This flower only needs to be watered every week or week and a half and is a bright addition to any indoor garden with brilliant shades ranging from reds to purples and violets.

Snake Plant

A favorite among novice indoor gardeners, snake plants thrive in home environments with plenty of bright light and are adaptable to watering. Snake plants have striking, sword-shaped green leaves that shoot upwards with a lighter green outline. They range from small to mid-sized and are easy to repot when they outgrow their original home.

Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo is the sort of plant that can thrive in any welcoming condition that it lives in. The plant prefers to sit in bright natural light and favors filtered water about once a week. They are also believed to bring good luck and enhance the positive energy of their surroundings, making them a lovely housewarming gift. 

Air Plant

For those who prefer a dirtless alternative, an air plant is an excellent choice. Air plants need to be submerged in water for 2-3 hours every ten days and then can be left to illuminate a space. They look lovely hanging from the ceiling, in a glass jar, on a plate, atop a stack of books, and add a lively spot of green to any space.

Yucca

If you want a larger plant, Yucca is the way to go. These tall, leafy plants require a broader pot to balance their top-heavy, intense green, leafy stems and lots of sun. They are an easy tree to keep in a well-lit corner and are very flexible about watering.

Aloe

Aloe prefers bright indirect light, making it perfect for a desk or bedroom that needs an enriching new accessory. Though Aloe plants are easy-going about watering, the best way to care for them is soaking them every two weeks for optimal growth.

The Health Benefits of Saunas

Saunas have been health staples in cultures around the world for thousands of years. The oldest saunas, found in Finland, are thought to date from around 2,000 BC and used stones to create high temperatures and dry heat in the winters. In Korea, domed structures often warmed by kilns appeared in literature as early as the 15th century. In the Orkney’s of Scotland, stone structures thought to incorporate the use of steam date back to the neolithic age. 

In modern times, the most common saunas used in western culture originate from Northern Europe and have temperatures around 212 degrees Fahrenheit and relatively low humidity. They remain today a staple of health and wellness, and can be found at spas, resorts, poolsides, gyms, and even private homes and bathrooms. 

Saunas are known for their numerous health benefits. When an individual spends time in a sauna, the heat causes their heartbeat to increase and their blood vessels to widen, improving circulation. Saunas are comforting, calm spaces that promote relaxation and, paired with the improvement of circulation, can reduce stress levels and improve overall cardiovascular wellbeing. 

Dry saunas, especially, are known for their positive impact on heart health. They also reduce the symptoms of rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Dry saunas are known for relieving skin conditions such as the itchiness from psoriasis. There is some evidence that dry saunas also may improve athletic performance.

Indoor Sauna at Optima Signature
Indoor Sauna at Optima Signature

When it comes to enjoying a sauna, for optimal benefits, most experts recommend around fifteen minutes per sitting and allowing your body time to rehydrate and cool down before resuming normal activities. 

Saunas are a wonderful way to relax and boost both cardiovascular and overall health. The use of saunas is an ages-old practice that prioritizes bodily and mental health, spans around the globe, and persists today.

The Environmental Benefits of Vertical Landscaping

Vertical landscaping is a signature feature across Optima communities. In Arizona, we’re easily recognized by the lush greenery that makes itself a key element of the facade at Optima Camelview Village and Optima Sonoran Village. Most recently, we’ve even strategized how to bring our vertical landscaping to the inclement midwestern climate, with plans to incorporate it at our latest development in Wilmette, Optima Verdana.

Photo of Optima Verdana
Vertical landscaping at Optima Verdana in Wilmette.

Besides providing aesthetic value through added beauty and privacy for residents, our vertical landscaping system also serves another important purpose: bringing a broad array of environmental benefits to the natural environments in which we build.

The impact of our vertical landscaping system is something we calculated carefully through extensive design exploration, engineering and a multi-year research collaboration with Arizona State University.

The system, with self-containing irrigation and drainage, provides a haven for urban wildlife, promotes evaporative cooling, re-oxygenates the air, reduces dust and smog levels, reduces ambient noise, detains stormwater and thermally insulates and shields residents from the desert sun, all of which contributes to a sustainable urban environment.

Residents and community members alike also get to experience the direct impact of being surrounded by nature, with the vertical landscaping system serving as a connection to nature. Wherever this connection is made, it fosters a lifelong appreciation for the environment around us, and helps us all to stay mindful of the role we play in keeping that environment safe.

The Health Benefits of Being Outdoors

Considering we all spent a lot of time indoors in 2020, we’ll take any excuse to get outside this summer. Thankfully, there are numerous mental and physical perks to spending time in the great outdoors, whether it’s on a hiking trail or on your own terrace. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of being outdoors:

Boost Your Mood

Studies have shown being outdoors lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s a marker for stress. Spending some time outside can help with stress, anxiety or depression, not to mention the added physical benefits of just spending a few minutes in the sun. Vitamin D helps with bone growth, regulates your immune system and can help battle depression. Even if it’s just a quick reset, getting out of the house and into nature can really boost your mood.

Improve Your Vision

Just like we’ve all spent more time inside over the past year, we’ve also spent more time on our screens. Whether you’re back in the office or working from home, your eyes probably need a break. Staring at computers, tablets and smartphones for long periods of time can cause Computer Vision Syndrome, but spending time outdoors can alleviate blurred and double vision, red eyes and headaches.

Photo of Optima Signature 7th Floor Outdoor Deck
Optima Signature 7th Floor Outdoor Deck

Refresh Your Focus

Nature and green space lets our brains take a break from the chaos of life (and in some cases has even reduced symptoms of ADHD). Spending more time outdoors is also linked to higher levels of concentration, creativity and improved mental clarity.

We hold these health benefits in high esteem, and it’s one of the many reasons we design our residential and communal spaces to invite the outdoors inside. Connecting to nature is an easy way to take some time and connect to yourself and to the environment around you.

Chicago Skyscraper Spotlight: Rookery Building

Highly regarded as one of the most historically significant buildings in Chicago, it’s only natural that we would include the Rookery Building in our ongoing Chicago skyscraper spotlight series. So what does it take for a building to earn such an esteemed title – especially in a city with a skyline marked by its architectural diversity and richness? Let’s take a look.

Big Shoulders Indeed

The Rookery Building was completed in 1888 by architects Daniel Burnham and his partner John Wellborn Root, under their firm Burnham and Root. Overall, the structure is considered one of their masterpiece buildings and was even once the location of their offices. Standing at twelve stories high (188 feet total), it’s also considered the oldest standing high-rise in Chicago.

The Rookery Building rose from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire. Burnham and Root were part of the Chicago School of Architects who worked to rebuild the city during that time, utilizing modern industrial techniques combined with traditional techniques and design, resulting in a truly unique product.

The unique name, too, comes with a story: only a water tank was left standing from the original structure after the fire. A temporary structure was built around this tank, and was nicknamed the “rookery” – in part because of the pigeons and crows that perched on its exterior, but also in part because of the crooked politicians it housed within.

Photo of the light court lobby designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The light court lobby designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Rookery Building in the Modern Era

Burnham and Root weren’t the only big names to call the Rookery Building home. At one point, Frank Lloyd Wright once held offices there as well. In fact, Wright even remodeled the building’s lobby in 1905. Just a few decades ago, from 1982 to 1992, a massive renovation project was completed to restore the lobby to this original Wright design once again.

These days, the building is home to tenants such as US Bank, Brooks Brothers, Perkins Eastman and Interactive Brokers Group. Both the Frank Lloyd Wright organization and the Chicago Architectural Society offer tours inside the building, so that lovers of great architecture today can continue to appreciate its history, story, and gorgeous features.

person name goes here

Maintenance Supervisor

Glencoe, IL





    Acceptable file types: *.pdf | *.txt | *.doc, max-size: 2Mb