Excerpted from “Innovative. Visionary. Attentive. Community.” in Insight News.com on June 3, 2010.
By Maya Beecham
Members of the architecture industry and consumers of architecture and design use these descriptors when referring to the work of 4RM+ULA, a Black-owned full service architectural design firm established in 2002. 4RM+ULA, a phonetic acronym that stands for form + urban landscape articulation, is linked to high profile projects such as the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit, Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center, Selby Area CDC, and Juxtaposition Arts Center Textile Lab.
James Garrett, Jr., Nathan Johnson, and Erick Goodlow, are friends and partners of 4RM+ULA who balance design, technical expertise, theory, and urban planning. The three men have known each other since youth when architecture and business ventures were a dream. After pursuing years of education at prestigious post secondary institutions on the East Coast, West Coast and Midwest, they have joined forces to bring their expertise back to the Twin Cities and are expanding globally. Now the dream is realized.
Johnson, a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, participated in the initial development talks for 4RM+ULA and became partner in 2007. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, recipient of the AIA Minnesota 2009 Young Architect Award, and professor of Architectural Technology at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Johnson and fellow partners have assumed the stance of architectural stewards for their home community. “I think we’re very concerned about what impacts our city, and what specifically impacts the urban environment. We are all Twin Cities natives. All of our families go back here for years. We have a vested interest in this community. We are particularly concerned with forming long-term public and private partnerships; adding to and improving the building stock in urban communities; cultivating vacant and/or under-utilized properties in transitional urban neighborhoods; producing new housing and commercial opportunities by introducing mixed-use medium density, socially responsible designs that are fully environmentally responsive, economically viable, and transit-oriented. All tailored to fit at the neighborhood scale,” he said.
Johnson said 4RM+ULA “doesn’t have preconceived notions of what the outcome is going to be. Each project is its on individual thing and we work with the client/owner to come up with the best solution, and we spend a lot of time analyzing , thinking , trying to be creative and not trying to think within a box about how the end product is going to be. We want to give the owner, our client, the best solutions and give them all the information that they need to develop a great product, and especially since we work with a lot of community groups, I think that is an imperative.
For more information on 4RM+ULA Architectural Design Firm visit www.4rmula.com or call 651-292-0106.
For the full article, visit http://insightnews.com/community/6074-innovative-visionary-attentive-community-.