Jim Chapman, principal of Chapman Design Studio, joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast as part of the Legends of Real Estate series. Chapman chats with host Carol Morgan about Chapman Design Studios, his years of experience in the industry and the relationships he’s formed while designing 300 golf clubhouses and related structures.
Becoming an architect was an early and easy decision for Chapman. While other kids were playing with blocks, Chapman and his older brother were building huts and cabins in the woods. Chapman naturally went on the earn an architecture degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology and start his career in the architectural world as an apprentice at an Atlanta firm, Stevens & Wilkinson.
Chapman said, “Stevens and Wilkinson set me up for a really great future!”
Now a legend himself, Chapman reminisces on the many legends he worked for over the years, including Mike Garrett, the developer of Executive Park, and Jim Cowart, the developer of Dunwoody and several other subdivisions near Johns Creek.
In 1969, Chapman and Sid Barrett formed the architecture firm Barrett and Associates. After getting hired to work on high-profile projects, Chapman realized he wanted to go out on his own to form Chapman Coyle Chapman – the precursor of Chapman Design Studio. Chapman Coyle Chapman is still in booming business today, working on quality projects or private schools and designing resorts and hospitality facilities across Europe and South America.
Chapman said, “I am so proud of Chapman Coyle Chapman!”
Chapman mentions that computers affected the architecture world tremendously and he is not a fan of the changes caused by technology within the field. In today’s world, most new construction buildings tend to look similar in design and structure thanks to technology. Chapman Design Studio is known for practicing traditional design efforts that provide a distinctive and unique aesthetic that calls on all ages of history to bring back details that technology cannot produce.
Chapman said, “The human scale is what seems to be missing so much in building and designing.”
Between Chapman Coyle Chapman and Chapman Design Studio, Chapman has experienced a recession or two as an architecture entrepreneur. While Chapman faced challenges such as laying off valuable employees, he states that architecture firms, fortunately, have a longer bounce-back period than other areas of the construction industry. Chapman and his partner at Barrett and Associates were able to keep 13 full-time employees afloat during the Great Recession, and most of those employees still work at the original firm today!
When asked what he is most proud of looking back on his career, Chapman says he is most grateful to still be in business! Chapman has worked on many impressive projects alongside incredible legends in the industry, such as his most recent collaboration with long-term industry friend John Wieland. Chapman also mentions his love for hospitality projects and how much he enjoys designing resorts, clubhouses and hotels, including his involvement in 30 Ritz-Carlton concepts.
Building a legacy, Chapman’s son, Jim Chapman Jr., is also in the construction field. Taking a slightly different path than his father, Chapman Jr. is a well-known build-to-rent developer in the metro Atlanta area under Jim Chapman Communities and Jim Chapman Construction Group.
Chapman said, “Jim is just amazing!”
Chapman’s advice for young professionals looking to start a career in architecture is to build knowledge of the field before you start your education. The legend states working in the field and understanding which areas of the industry you are most passionate about will greatly benefit you in the future.
Chapman said, “It is an amazing and wonderful field…it is the luck of the draw and talent to find quality clients that allow you to make it in architecture.”
Currently, Chapman and his team are focusing heavily on hospitality projects, including residential, retail and clubhouse opportunities in the metro Atlanta area.
Tune into the full episode above to learn more about Chapman Design Studio, or visit www.ChapmanDesignLLC.com.
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