Q&A with Architect Blaze Makoid

Architect Blaze Makoid's Ferry Road house in North Haven, with design by David Scott Interiors. Joshua McHugh photo

Having built his reputation on modern, resort-like homes for the most discerning of clients, architect Blaze Makoid endeavors to create structures that offer an escape from the everyday. His eponymous firm was founded in Bridgehampton in 2001 and, while the luxury residences he designs are meant to be timeless, Makoid has witnessed changing trends in the industry and the impact of technology throughout the course of his career. Social media has changed the landscape of all things visual, with users acquiring a visual journal rather than enjoying an experience. To counter this, Makoid focuses more on the experiences of the design rather than a staged moment.

In 2019, Blaze Makoid Architecture aims to focus less on design trends and more on the task at hand – creating a modern home that is representative of how clients envision living their own lives. Now, he shares what changes he foresees for modern architecture in the modern world.

Blaze Makoid. Marc Bryan Brown photo

What are some of the most significant changes in architecture on the East End over the past decade?

The biggest shift I’ve witnessed in the past 10 plus years has been a more structured, holistic view toward energy efficiency, site sensitivity and overall sustainability. The local jurisdictions, whether in the Hamptons, California, Connecticut or Wyoming, have continuously updated the building codes to demand more from new construction. Our buildings are so much tighter than before. Solar energy is part of every project and geothermal is used at every opportunity. A lot of work is on waterfront or other sensitive sites and the demands on this have increased dramatically as well. Not just the end product, but even the process of construction.

Any trends you see for modern architecture in 2019 that you are looking forward to?

In terms of aesthetics it is hard to say because it is not what we’re trying to do. If you drive by one of our designs five years after it was built and you can say when it was done, we haven’t met our goal. There is always something going on and we try to knock out the noise. With social media driving ideas, there’s always a new thing and that new thing can be changing every day. We put our blinders on in a sense. Our goal is to design homes to be timeless.

Any trends you are glad to see go?

I was reading an article last week about the design of hotels and how the developers of these projects are requiring the design teams to ensure ‘Instagramable’ moments. I’m hoping that this trend will fall by the wayside. I was shocked to read that article. I was surprised but not surprised that that has become a design directive for certain projects.

Technology and access to information at your fingertips allows people to do a lot of their own research. Have you found this has impacted your business and the client’s level of involvement? There is certainly an impact in general with people having more information. When we started this business years ago before people had Pinterest or Instagram, there wasn’t much of an internet or content. The first time a client would see our work was at the interview. There are moments you may both realize this is not a good fit. Maybe the styles just don’t match up. I might be in an interview for a traditional house and it’s not the right thing for me. In the initial interview, we were showing a lot of different work, now there’s a lot less of that. That part is focused more on what their project is and what it could be versus explaining who you are. There are certain clients that are hiring you to do your job, know the work you do, and are fairly busy people that are not so involved in the process just because of their workloads or schedules. There are others that write multi-page emails on just a single topic on the design of a house. It kind of runs the gamut. We try to find out how they want to live, what they are aspiring to in terms of this project. A lot of times that conversation will start with how they are living, then we steer that into “How do they want to live?” Certain design aspects can take what you could be doing and optimize it.

Are you finding homeowners are building from the ground up vs. renovating? Why do you think one is more prevalent than the other?

Although we do some renovation work, like the recently completed Tiina Store in Amagansett, most of our residential work is from the ground up. Our clients are searching for special properties, often with spaces to accommodate their needs for hosting large groups of extended family and friends.