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Q and A with Kevin Kennedy

by Jennifer Garner

September 5,2006

What is the story behind the formation of Cluck?

Well, it’s usually a story we only tell over beverages. It came from an incident that happened when Chris Scorsone and I were touring an empty spec house to make a bid on a project. We were in the master bedroom and opened the closet door to find a huge rooster staring at us. After we regained our composure, we realized it was a stuffed bird, both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. We took the job on the condition on that we could get the bird as partial payment. We got the job and the rooster. Turns out the bird was quite unique and was actually bred to produce perfect feathers for fly fishing. We still aren’t sure why it was in the closet.

When we needed a name for our new company, we wanted something that would reflect a different kind of firm, so our silent partner’s name became ours. Chris and I went to school together, but really got to know each other through our competing firms. We would compete against each other for projects and got to thinking that we could do something great together.

What is the philosophy that informs your design?

Chris and I wanted to start something different. We didn’t just want to be standard architects. I am a licensed architect, but I want to be seen as a creative thinker and problem solver. We wanted to make the company simple and easy and a fun place where design is a daily focus. I want to be able to work on a furniture design one day and a tower the next day. While wearing shorts and bringing my dog to work. It was really more of the idea of how we wanted to work that drove our company design and philosophy. Some of our philosophies are “Keep it simple,” “Green is good,” and “Have fun, forge strong relationships.”

Tell us about some of your current projects.

We are working on a pool renovation, a specialty food store in south Charlotte and several mixed use projects. Chris and I both have a lot of experience in those kinds of residential and retail designs and really enjoy them. We are also working on about 20 residential projects right now. We haven’t done any marketing for the company, well besides our famous Cluck t-shirts. Most of our work has been repeat business or word of mouth.

We are moving our office to an old warehouse behind the Pepsi plant, right on the light rail line in South End. So that design will be one of our favorite upcoming projects. I am thrilled to be part of this new pedestrian scaled South End area. I also like to travel, so we look for projects that take us where we like to be. Right now that is Charlotte, Charleston, Florida’s Emerald Coast, New York and Los Angeles. Those are all places that we enjoy working and find creative energy from being there.

Does Charlotte have a design aesthetic? How would you describe it and how would you like to see it change?

I don’t think that Charlotte really does have a design aesthetic. We haven’t really found one yet as a city. We have brick and ivy and the usual historic and conservative areas, but not one aesthetic. I think it should be more about ideas and creating great places than just how things look.

Tell us about the Charlotte of your imagination.

I am really excited about the changes that light rail is bringing to Charlotte. The areas around South End are going to have a totally different feel to them. What I think Charlotte needs is more high density and pedestrian scale areas. Places where people can walk to eat, drink and shop. Charlotte has a very post war, get in our cars and drive mentality. I like our older neighborhoods of Elizabeth and Plaza Midwood where residents can walk to the Visart and a local watering hole. Uptown, Gateway Village has that feel to it too. I am encouraged by the new residential and retail areas going uptown. I remember going uptown to shop at Ivey’s with my Mom; we need that kind of retail in uptown again. I am drawn to those kinds of areas and think that kind of lifestyle will build community in Charlotte. When you see your neighbors out walking and shopping and share a drink with them, then you get to know people and we all take on a face and authenticity.

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