Sculpture Spotlight: Curves and Voids

As devout fans of Modernism, at Optima we love to experiment with form and function. That’s how Optima Co-Founder David Hovey Sr. got into sculpture. Combining his love of art with his interest in materials, David Hovey Sr. began manipulating steel to create striking sculptural pieces that play complement to Optima’s architectural spaces. Today, we’re examining one of his sculptures: Curves and Voids.

Curves and Voids at DCHGlobal Whale Bay House in New Zealand.
Curves and Voids at DCHGlobal Whale Bay House in New Zealand.

Like all original Optima sculptures, Curves and Voids can be found across our properties in various colors and sizes, as evidenced above. But what never changes is the form of the piece: Curves and Voids plays with the expression of steel and explores ideas of its potential. This play is demonstrated in grand, sweeping curves that make up the various sculptural components. Meanwhile, voids are laser cut within the sculpture’s steel planes. These holes provide gaps and textures to contrast and juxtapose the sculpture’s curves. 

The sweeping curves of Curves and Voids play perfect complement to the stark Modernist lines in our communities. At Optima Sonoran Village’s sculpture walk, Curves and Voids stands boldly expressed in natural Cor-Ten steel. The steel’s raw coloration was chosen so as not to compete with the vibrant colors in the building’s facade and landscaping. Meanwhile, at Optima DCHGlobal’s Whale Bay House in New Zealand, Curves and Voids is supersized in the courtyard, becoming a show stopping statement piece for contemplation. 

Whether we’re experimenting with form, function, size or color — at Optima we love to playfully implement sculpture as yet another component of thoughtful design.

A Deep-Dive Into the World of Prefabrication

At Optima, we’re in constant pursuit of better and smarter ways of creating, which is why we often employ prefabrication, from our multifamily properties to our desert dwellings. Prefabrication describes the process of building elements off-site in a factory or workshop, and then later fitting those elements together on-site. This carefully calculated process has revolutionized the industry, allowing builders to cut down on time, cost and labor needed to create a structure. To understand just how vastly the industry and the way that we build has transformed, we’re taking a deep-dive into the world and history of prefabrication.

Whale Bay House, Optima DCHGlobal.
Whale Bay House, Optima DCHGlobal.

Early Origins

Naturally, the idea of building pieces separately before putting them all together in place is centuries old. Prefabrication is inspired by building techniques that date as far back as Mesopotamian civilization and Roman fort-building. In fact, the earliest known example of prefabrication comes from around 3800 BC, when the oldest engineered roadway, the Sweet Track in England, was built using timber sections that were constructed off-site.

Prefabrication techniques were used to erect giant structures in Sri Lanka, to rebuild the Portuegese capital after the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and even in 19th century Australia, when a large number of prefabricated houses were imported from the U.K. No matter the circumstances, from building large to building wide, the streamlined technique allowed for increased control, lowered cost and expedited process. 

Relic Rock, Optima DCHGlobal.
Relic Rock, Optima DCHGlobal.

Industrialization and Modernism on the Rise

Prefabricated farm buildings and bungalows were the first readily available structures on the market, around since the early 19th century. Most notable during that time was London carpenter Henry Manning’s prefabricated Portable Cottage, which was transported to Australia. Affordable housing was created using the technique, too, supplying homes for 49ers during the 1848 California Gold Rush and to refugees of war during World War II. 

Prefabrication was also an integral tool in rising Modernist architecture. The first ever Modernist structure, The Crystal Palace designed by Joseph Paxton, was built in 1851 using this method. Like The Crystal Palace, Modernist design was rooted in materials such as exposed steel and glass, which were perfectly suited for prefabricated builds as they were most often used in the simple and functional Modernist structural patterns. 

Construction on Whale Bay House, Optima DCHGlobal.
Construction on Whale Bay House, Optima DCHGlobal.

Prefab Concrete and Steel

As the prefabrication practice continued to grow, technical developments such as the development of sheet steel, the improvement in alloys, the use of lightweight aggregates and the promotion of precast reinforced concrete pushed the field even further. Concrete and steel in particular proved to be highly efficient materials in the prefabrication process, with pre-poured concrete allowing for more flexibility, and prefabricated steel sections reducing in-field risk during cutting and welding. These components have proven especially crucial to simplifying the construction process in buildings where a particular part or form is repeated numerous times. 

Created by Optima President David Hovey Jr., Optima DCHGlobal has created The Optima DCHGlobal Building System, a patented prefabricated architectural system that is flexible in both horizontal and vertical directions, sustainable up to the net-zero level, multi-generational, and able to be built quickly and efficiently in any location, climate or terrain. 

His invention of this system has created award-winning residences, such as Relic Rock and Whale Bay House. We continue to utilize the latest in steel technology, and often employ elements of concrete, to create our simple yet stunning Modernist structures. 

As we continue to look forward to a future of innovating and finding new ways of creating, we are humbled to look back at the history of prefabrication and how the technique has grown, allowing us to grow, too. 

2019: A Year in Review

As 2019 comes to a close, we reflectively look back on all that’s happened throughout a busy and exciting year. Our team, projects and Optima as a whole have experienced tremendous growth over the last twelve months. Here are just a few of the highlights:


Our team was honored to win five awards, including AIA Chicago Divine Detail award for Optima Sonoran Village, Architecture MasterPrize and Architizer A+ Finalist Award for Arizona Courtyard House, American Architecture Award for Whale Bay House and Build Magazine’s Luxury Urban Housing Designer of the Year. 

Projects and Properties

This was a big year for development, construction, leasing and more. 

In Arizona, we completed construction and leased up Optima Sonoran Village Phase III, the fifth and final tower at Optima Sonoran Village. 7120 Optima Kierland sold out – and was the fastest selling community in the Valley. We launched sales at 7180 Optima Kierland and are already over 50% sold. We also began construction on both 7140 and 7180 Optima Kierland, both slated for completion in 2020. We also purchased new land in Scottsdale to develop new Optima communities.

In Illinois, we leased up 100% of our commercial and retail space at Optima Signature including business suites. We also purchased new land in Chicago and the North Shore for new developments.

We also launched Optimized ServiceTM, a next-level white-glove approach to our concierge experience.

The Optima team volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
The Optima team volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.


Working across our entire organization, we formalized our purpose statement and core values to reflect our growth and inspire our path forward. We volunteered: we spent the day with Habitat for Humanity in both AZ and IL, cleaned up the Skokie Lagoons in IL, and worked with animals at Amy’s Farm Sanctuary in AZ. We had fun: we enjoyed axe throwing, bowling, go karting, beaches, barbeques, concerts and high tea. We also learned: our team attended the Metropolitan Planning Council lunch, the TCN Women in the Forefront Luncheon, the Goldie Gala, the Chicago Build Expo and NAA Apartmentalize. 

We can’t thank our leadership, team members and supporters enough for such a fantastic year. As we look towards 2020, we look forward to the new year to come, new milestones to pass and new ways to innovate across our upcoming projects. 

Optima Sculpture Spotlight: Kiwi

A subtle but enhancing feature of many Optima projects, our sculptures adorn courtyards, amenity floors and common spaces. David Hovey Sr’s devotion to space and form translates from architecture to three-dimensional pieces, which are placed throughout our buildings to add a distinct aesthetic flair to our Modernist spaces. 

Greeting both residents and visitors at the entrance of Optima Signature, the sculpture Kiwi was named after the same bird native to New Zealand, where David Hovey Sr was born. Although the sculpture is reminiscent of an animal, Hovey’s vision was something much more abstract. Starting out as a handful of freehand drawings, the sculpture was layered until it formed a tall, stacked piece. Set against the bold red of Optima Signature, Kiwi’s bright yellow color pops amidst the neutral-toned buildings within downtown Chicago. 

A yellow abstract sculpture, Kiwi, stands before Optima Signature.

The finishing touch on Kiwi’s Optima Signature location was installation; the base was carefully cemented into the ground to protect it from the bustle of downtown and the intense Chicago weather. Aside from its prominent location at Optima Signature, Kiwi is also featured at Relic Rock and Whale Bay House

David Hovey Sr’s passion for sculpture reflects our collective passion for enhancing the spaces we build and exploring new interpretations of form, color and design. Stay tuned for more features on our other sculpture pieces. 

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