Peg Gilday and Nona Yehia have been trying to work together since the two met 13 years ago.
At the start of the new year they will achieve their goal when the two architects introduce GYDE Architects, a collaboration of their two firms, Gilday Architects and E/Ye Design.
GYDE Architects is a blend of Gilday and Yehia, and combines their talents, passion and philosophies on design and architecture.
“We instantly realized we had all this commonality, so we just really started a friendship,” Yehia said. “We had always been talking about our professions and the great things about the profession, and I think the conversation evolved to the point where we said, ‘Hey, wouldn’t this be interesting to work together and create the context that we would like to see?’”
It wasn’t that either firm needed a fresh start. It was simply about creating the ideal design and architecture firm, and exploring those possibilities together.
The mission of GYDE drives right at the core of the company’s values: “Our collaborative blends art, architecture, science and technology to craft innovative solutions that integrate design into unexpected spaces, push boundaries and create the extraordinary,” the venture’s mission statement reads. It gives the company the framework to lay out its philosophies and beliefs and to stick to them, Gilday said.
“I think the possibility of it is expanding the notion of what architecture can do,” Yehia said. “In our mission we’re blending art, architecture, science and technology. And that’s something we have been doing at both of our firms and I think that what was exciting is to be able to put that out as our mission from the start.”
Gilday Architects has been a fixture in Jackson, albeit with a few name changes, since 1993. Gilday has been with the firm since 1995.
E/Ye Design started in 2003 with the hope of bridging academia and architecture. Yehia has been with the firm since the beginning.
The new firm will keep both offices on Broadway and continue working on projects already in the works. Yehia will continue as executive director at Vertical Harvest.
“I think we’re both really proud of the work we’ve done in both entities and really excited about where we will go together,” Yehia said.
The team consists of employees from both firms, including John Stennis, Abby Petri, Katherine Koriakin, Alex Hauptman, Inanna Reistad and Abby Clark.
GYDE Architects has architecture in the name, but will be much more. The new firm hopes to depart from the notion of a traditional architecture firm, Gilday said. Design will be in everything the firm does, both principals said, and is something they are always exploring and investigating.
“That’s really what brings our firms together,” Yehia said. “We bring our strengths together to create a platform that can do that.”
In the past if a client came to the firm with two properties and wanted an evaluation, the architects would have to lay out an entire project on each property. They would then be able to see which property would work best.
The new firm and its team members have already combated that problem and designed a time-saving tool — a program to evaluate the potential of a site without having to lay out an entire plan.
“Instead of saying we’re going to design what the complex would look like or the project would look like,” Yehia said, “we actually designed the tool that then helps us to investigate all the possibilities and to decide which rises to the top.”
In architecture problems come in different scales. Sometimes it’s a single object like a carport, but sometimes it’s something more complex, like a master plan. Instead of approaching an entire project from an architectural standpoint, the new firm will approach each element through design.
“You look at them all the same, and then it’s through a design process that you find the solution for each of those scales,” Yehia said. “Our vision is really believing in design as the path to architecture. Architecture is kind of the by-product of design, and that’s something that’s really important to both of us and has been very important to both of our firms.”
The two firms are still in the process of merging, and the formal rollout of GYDE Architects will occur sometime around the start of the new year. They are still building their team, and Gilday said the new firm will be constantly evolving.
“We’re moving quickly,” Yehia said, “but we don’t want to move too quickly to miss opportunities of how we can craft this. It’s about the process instead of the final product. A lot of people start with the whole package right from the outset, and we are very interested in seeing what the whole package could be instead of just putting out something.”
It’s just like any other design project, Gilday said.