James A. Strapko, NCARB
Licensed 35 States
30 Years Experience
I have been a licensed architect for more than thirty years. When I started as an intern in a health care architecture firm, I was paired with a highly productive person to design large projects. Later that person, Diane Pahl Strapko, and I started our own architecture and interior design practice. One of our first clients was a dental equipment company with whom we produced hundreds of office plans for dentists all over the country. As we began working directly with dentists, I took responsibility for designing sites, buildings, and preliminary dental office layouts.
When a dentist explains his or her ideas during an initial consult, I listen for key criteria that will become our “program”. Drawing on experience with relatively large projects, I manage the design process and measure progress based on that program. Design is a creative endeavor, not a strictly step-by-step procedure; however, it can be managed if everyone involved understands the program.
Diane Pahl Strapko
30 Years Experience
Dental Office Planning
I started my career as an office planner for a dental equipment supplier. After planning hundreds of dental offices, one thing has become clear: there is no design concept that fits every practice. I do not propose “canned” solutions; I tailor designs to unique individuals with unique practices. That does not mean reinventing the wheel. It does require taking time to find out how a particular dentist wants to practice and adapting proven ideas to that vision.
Many dentists have ideas about their practices that go beyond issues of dental equipment and room layout. Some describe their ideas in words, others with photographs and drawings. However they are expressed, my job is to translate those ideas into reality. My goal is always to design an office that is functional, beautiful, and perfectly matched to a particular dentist’s vision.
20 Years Experience
Unlike other firms, we do not have a staff of intern designers and drafters; instead, I work with Jim and Diane to complete drawings and specifications. Together, the three of us make good use of computer productivity tools to efficiently complete our work. Detail and coordination can be maintained at a high level when only experienced people are involved in production.
Federal, state, and city regulations have become more restrictive; agencies have become more demanding. In response, I include a comprehensive code analysis on the front page of every set of permit documents. The analysis explains our approach to compliance and expedites the permit process. Where renderings are required, I incorporate computer generated color images that offer a preview of exterior and interior spaces.