What do people mean by “vision”? At its essence the word means to see, but more specifically it relates to planning the future with imagination and wisdom. From our present vantage point, we look back on where we’ve come from to help us both understand who and where we are today as well as find direction for tomorrow.

In our 25th year as The Arkitex Studio, we have looked back at our beginnings, our initial plan for the firm, our accomplishments, our failures, and naturally our vision forward. Creativity, intelligence, passion, service, stewardship, and integrity drive and guide us. These qualities define who we are as well as who we aspire to become. Our purpose remains much the same as the day we opened, but time has helped us clarify our mission. At our core we strive to improve lives through design and creativity and to build community through architecture.

Have we succeeded? I believe so, but it depends on how you define success. For us, it is about being true to a mission, to each other, and to our vision for the firm.

In our early strategic planning, we focused on acquiring better people, a better work environment, and the opportunity to work on better projects. We knew that, with these accomplishments, we would see reward on many levels. Today, we certainly have wonderful people who share our core values and our office space – hard to believe we have called the Tremont our home for more than half the firms’ life already – is the best I have ever worked in. We have also had many wonderful projects, and they continue to get better. We can’t help but be thankful for all these blessings and do our best not to lose sight or fall short of the responsibilities —to each other, to our community, and to our profession – that this success imparts on us.

Who will we yet become? Who, in those first years, could have imagined what we have become already? Building the identity of an architecture firm is more a relay marathon than a sprint. We strive to run a good race and ultimately to finish well, but we have not arrived at the end – only at a new beginning. There is always farther to go and more to accomplish. We aim to leave a legacy for the next generation of firm leaders, and that, like reputation, we must build over time with a solid foundation of past leadership and guiding principles.

What we see looking forward is really more of the same—just bigger and better! Amid all the complexity and challenges we face every day, we have to remind ourselves to dream big, to strive to be the best we can, and to have ever more impact on our community and those we serve, to the benefit of us all. Over time many things have changed, all for the better—the faces, the office, the technology, and the experience. Thus, we have reason to look forward with hope and expectancy to many more years ahead of us.

Written by Charlie Burris, AIA