For the first part of Daniel Lajoie's professional career, he had been an architect and designer in senior leadership roles at leading U.S. firms working on major commercial projects. He’d traveled the country to work on various projects such as hotels in Hawaii, large commercial and mixed-use complexes in San Diego — when one day, he had an epiphany.
He collaborated on the design of the home of one of the real estate developers that he had worked for and discovered a side of him that he had never seen. He displayed an intensity and interest that he had not experienced with him when they worked together on their commercial projects. It was much more personal. That bond and that project is where Daniel discovered that he wanted to work on more projects where he could get to know his clients on a more intimate level. He found that this collaboration leads to discovering creative solutions that are more meaningful and personal for each client.
This experience led Dan to branch out on his own and search for opportunities with homeowners who sought more personal interaction with the architect to gain a more personal "place". He opened Departure Architecture in 2002 so he could devote his time and energy to specialize in the design of homes and ADUs (accessory dwelling units). He applies the sophisticated concepts and approaches he used to successfully complete multimillion-dollar projects to fit the process needed to successfully design residential homes.
"Your home needs to capture the essence of both you and the homesite to create a personal space that resonates with your soul."
A FOCUS ON RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
Departure Architecture believes in the special place that a home has in a person’s life, not just because it solves a basic human need for shelter and protection, but also the importance we place on it. It is where we rejuvenate ourselves, a place of safety and delight that allows us to adequately deal with today’s world. Dan takes satisfaction in designing a home that meets your current needs and can adapt to changes in your life.
"It’s about getting to know your client. There’s a lot of intimacy in gathering this level of detail, but that’s where the guts of a solution come from — those interactions and that intensity. There’s a lot at stake, and we want to get it right from the start."
THE DEPARTURE ARCHITECTURE DESIGN PROCESS
Dan’s depth of experience comes through with the time and care he takes in the design process for every home. There is no such thing as a rush job at Departure Architecture — we’ll search for the answers at every step to find the solution that’s just right for your needs.
It starts in the pre-design phase, when Dan sits down with you to take in a 10,000-foot view of your project. This phase might take several weeks, because Dan knows that he doesn’t know everything you want with your home. Rather than provide you a predetermined, one-size-fits-all solution, Departure Architecture gathers the necessary information to answer one important question — Can we accomplish what we want to do on this site?
Once you’ve agreed upon the right course of action, Dan begins putting pen to paper (or stylus to screen) to conceptualize your thoughts and ideas and bring them to life. He’ll present an initial design for your review, and together you’ll come up with a final design that best represents what you seek.
Departure Architecture also will take care of acquiring all the necessary permits and final approval of the designs from the relevant agencies. Finally, during the construction phase, Dan collaborates with the contractor, believing the two phases (design and building) shouldn’t be divorced from one another but instead should work in harmony to make your home jump off the blueprints and into reality.
HOW DEPARTURE ARCHITECTURE
#1 — When you see your home, you think, My God, that’s it! We want you saying, I love it. You captured who we are.
#2 — We want you saying when it’s all over, This was fun! There will be a lot of forks in the road, but the process doesn’t have to be awful.
#3 — You have a budget, but in the end, it’s not just about how much you spent on your home, but how you spent it. We want you to come away knowing you got a good deal, that you didn’t squander your money and you’re left thinking, This home is beyond what we thought we’d get, but yet, it’s us.