• By Max Marbut
  • | 12:00 p.m. January 29, 2008
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by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

When an award-winning architectural firm takes on the project to design a new home for itself, it’s no surprise the project becomes a labor of love.

That’s what happened to TTV Architects Inc. in 2004, when founder and President Tri Vu found a building on Forsyth Street across from the Florida Theatre and decided it would be a perfect location.

The building added not only a new home, but another award as well. The design won the 2006 American Institute of Architects Jacksonville Chapter Honor Award.

“We started on the building in Oct. 2004 and had all the work, demolition and all, ready for us to move in the following January,” said Vu. “All the plans had been approved by the City before we closed on the purchase, and the best part was there was no fee for the architect.”

You’ve no doubt seen TTV’s work because it can be found all over North Florida. The firm designed the welcome center and children’s building at First Baptist Church Downtown. The Pine Castle Life Enrichment Center under construction on Spring Park Road is another project. The new Asian Bamboo Garden at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, also a TTV design, is scheduled to open this year.

One of the most recognized projects on the firm’s resume are the lights on the Downtown bridges, a TTV inspiration that was installed shortly before Jacksonville hosted the Super Bowl. The lights are now the focal point in photographs of the city’s skyline.

Vu said the firm is dedicated to not just great design, but sustainable design. TTV designed Jacksonville’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) financial institution, the Community First Credit Union at the corner of Beach and Hodges boulevards.

Recycling is another concept TTV includes in designs, and an example is the first thing visitors see when they walk in the front door of the building. That piece of modern art installed on the wall in the lobby used to be the room dividers when TTV’s office was on the Southbank Riverwalk. Parts of the dividers were also used to construct shelves and work tables for the new location.

It’s not all serious work, however. Vu said one of the most fun projects that has captured his talents and those of his staff was last year’s Big Cats for Kids installation. TTV was one of the sponsors for the Otis Smith Kids Foundation’s fundraiser and designed an illuminated space suit-themed cat that was mounted on the side of the building.

TTV Architects has also been a stop on First Wednesday Art Walk since 2005 and original art hangs on the walls year round.

“We want the office to be an inspiring and fun place to work,” said Vu.



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