BACKGROUND - Jay DeChesere, Architect

 
      My experience originates in Kentucky, where I graduated from a five-year Bachelor of Architecture program at the University of Kentucky.  After working there for several years I moved to North Carolina in 1970.  Working in Wilmington with a  two-person firm I was responsible for design of several public schools and the Marine Science and Oceanology Facility at UNC Wilmington as well as other retail and residential projects.

In 1974, I established my own firm, Synthesis, Architects and Planners, at Wrightsville Beach and after six years moved into the Landing Office and Retail Complex at Wrightsville Beach, a project designed by Synthesis which was awarded an American Institute of Architects Honor Award.

In 1978, with a group of my staff and a contractor I spearheaded the creation of Telesis Ventures Construction Company, which was run concurrently with Synthesis.  Telesis was created to provide high quality residential construction in Wilmington, on Figure Eight Island and on Bald Head Island. Telesis completed over $300 million in construction representing over 200 projects during those years.

During 2005 and 2006, I was the project manager for Telesis for seventy-six high-end condominiums located above the retail shops at Mayfaire in Wilmington.  At the conclusion of this project, I sold my interest in this company to my partner and office manager.  Telesis continues to operate, offering the same high quality services.

After managing Synthesis for a period of almost 30 years until 2002, I made the decision to sell the firm to Cline Design Associates of Raleigh, NC.  Staying on as Director of Design and operating as Synthesis/CDA until early 2005, I then decided to practice alone.  Cline Design Associates has now grown to over twenty employees in downtown Wilmington.

My current goals are to focus on projects on which I can have a significant impact in terms of embodying “sustainable and green architecture”.  This focus has given a new meaning to architecture and to my practice.  This experience goes back to 1990, when I renovated an abandoned home on a small island in the Bahamas.  This home was redesigned to be totally self-sufficient, using rainwater collection systems, photovoltaic and wind power, 12-volt power, and natural ventilation.  All of the systems were designed and installed by myself.   The home was successfully operated as a vacation rental for ten years.

Current “green” projects include:

The $2.4 million Barrier Island Study Center for the Bald Head Island Conservancy and Smith Island Land Trust.  This project is expected to receive a “platinum level” LEED certification through the US Green Building Council and construction will begin in September 2010.

The Talon Court Renovation, where I live and practice architecture, has just been awarded a Platinum Certification under USGBC LEED for Homes and a Gold Certification under North Carolina State University’s HealthyBuilt Homes.  The USGBC score is the highest in the nation yet achieved under LEED for Homes.

The Holderness Residence in Roaring Gap, is under construction and is being designed and constructed under USGBC’s LEED for Homes program as well. Construction completion will be early Spring 2011.

A single family retirement home on an infill lot in downtown Wilmington.  This project is also a USGBC LEED for Homes project and construction will begin later this year.

My focus on every project is to investigate and incorporate sustainable concepts and green products to the extent feasible so that I know that I am creating not only thoughtful and appropriate design, but contributing to the life of our planet and to the future of our children who will continue to live their lives in the environment that we have formed.