Downey Szafarz Architects, Inc. (DSA) commenced operations in 1972 as James March Goldberg Architects, Inc., a one-person architectural office. Today, the office has a staff of 12 and is one of the most versatile architectural firms in the Chicago area.The staff consists of Mark J. Downey, AIA, NCARB (Bachelor of Architecture, University of Arkansas 1982) who is President, and Associate David W. Szafarz, AIA (Bachelor of Architecture, University of Illinois at Chicago 1985), two project architects, four architects, and one administrative staff member. All architects are graduates of accredited architectural schools and most are licensed. The combined professional experience of the senior staff members exceeds 80 years of practice.
The Computer Aided Drafting (CADD) system is used in all aspects of design and drafting from early 3-dimensional studies to detailed technical drawing. This is fully integrated with the administrative staff as well as civil, structural, and mechanical engineering and other consultants.Versatility is one of the characteristics of DSA. The firm designs both residential and commercial projects. Residential projects vary from additions, to new homes ranging in size from 2,000 to 30,000 finished square feet, as well as many types of multi-family and single family projects for select builder clients (Arthur J. Greene Construction in Lake Forest, Lincolnshire, and Kildeer; NorthStar Homes in Northbrook; Sutherland homes in Northfield; Ferris Homes in Northbrook.
DSA commercial projects include restaurants, retail/office, automotive, medical, public and park district structures. Recent projects include numerous remodelings and additions, The Knollwood Country Club (with Pepper Construction), restaurants, and additions to numerous automotive dealerships.Renovation of historic structures has always been an important part of the DSA tradition. Projects have included historic homes throughout the North Shore. The firm was awarded a Preservation Award for a home in Highland Park, as well as designed additions to a Jens Jensen house in Highland Park and a David Adler coach house in Lake Forest.
The DSA staff undergoes continuous training and education within the architectural office. All staff is in the field during various phases of construction to experience the "real-life situations" of construction. Another important focus of the office is on knowledge of, and adherence to, construction budget. With the knowledge of construction cost, and discipline of practice, the firm has had continued success designing projects in conformance with budget requirements. Additionally, our staff is trained in listening to and understanding the needs of clients. The firm does not design projects which echo the personal beliefs of the designers, but instead respects the physical and emotional needs of the individual client.Downey Szafarz Construction, Inc. (an affiliate of DS Architects, Inc.), which builds many of our architectural projects, enables our clients to receive a full and integrated design/build service. During the architect-led design/build process, the architect becomes the project manager during construction, where cost and time savings are achieved through continuity and efficiency. Current projects range from modest remodelings to estate renovations and custom homes.