Residential Design

VOL.5 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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The Sweet Spot GOLDBERG GENERAL CONTRACTING CHICAGO Photo: Hall + Merrick Photographers Chicago is renowned for its world-class mix of architecture. Fine contemporary, iconic modern, and important tradition- al work peppers the city and its lakeside suburbs. When clients tap architects to create or update a top-notch example of residential design, architects often turn to Goldberg General Contracting to execute the vision. Architects trust com- pany founder Jacob (Jake) Goldberg like one of their own, and that's no surprise because, at heart, he is. Jake is the son of an architect who studied with Mies Van Der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology and an interior designer. After a brief foray into speculative real estate, he discovered what he truly loved to do is build—the good stuff. And as he's led his 30-year- old business with partner Jeff Berry, their sweet spot of mastery has grown to encompass the best modern work and the most rigorous restorations Chicago can offer. On the one hand, the compa- ny builds new houses by Brad Lynch of Brininstool & Lynch, and on the other, exquisite restorations by John Vinci, FAIA, of Vinci|Hamp. The company's size has remained remarkably static since its founding at 35 office and field personnel. Jake calls the size "boutique" and says it's been a conscious decision not to go bigger or diversify into luxury speculative building. He thinks that's part of the reason his firm was spared the worst of the recession. "We were lucky not to self-destruct, because we did not get too ambitious. We didn't succumb to the lure of quick money, and instead focused on the art of building," he explains. "I see people who've made a lot of money doing speculation, but I've also seen others who've gone under because they mistimed the market." Jake and Jeff divide tasks geographi- cally, for the most part. With city dweller Jeff preferring the urban projects and Jake, who lives in Wilmette, enjoying the North Shore houses. "We operate as senior project managers. We have the same job descriptions—chasing leads— but we generally maintain our own architect relationships, unless one of us is inundated." Although good word-of-mouth from clients is important to the company, Jake is convinced his best stream of work comes from architects. "Our goal when we do a job, is the architect is going to become an associate of ours, so we can refer work back and forth. When we make the process work to- gether, it helps them be successful with the client. If we please the owner, they may refer one friend to us, but architects offer a continuing flow of projects." That's where the trust comes in and benefits the company long-term. "Our appreciation and understanding of ar- chitecture have always given us a great insight into the process, so we can help architects flesh out their designs and make them come to life," he continues. Above: The Ravine House is a new modern project from Goldberg General Contracting. Designed by Robbins Architecture, the house occupies a site atop a deep ravine along Lake Michigan. GGC flexes between modern and traditional work with remarkable ease and excellence. Left: GGC founder and president Jacob Goldberg. 29 VOL. 5, 2018 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM PRO-FILE BUILD

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