#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 67 with Joel Berman of Berman Architecture & Design

This week Laura and Sara are joined by Joel Berman. Joel is the founder and president of Berman Design, a Chicago architecture, interior design and branding firm specializing in adaptive reuse and heritage restoration for restaurant, hospitality, institutional and residential development and is located at 5212 N Clark.

Joel sketching near train

Joel Berman sketching downtown.

“Working with Andersonville is like working with the salt of the earth”
– Joel Berman

Listen to Episode 67 with Joel Berman!

Here are some references from Episode 67 you may want to check out:

  • Joel is native to Chicago, but has had a couple of different jobs before becoming an architect; as a union beer vendor, owning a lawn cutting business, and doing calligraphy for wedding invitations. 
  • As a child, Joel decided he wanted to draw, so he saved up to buy the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It’s a book for teachers, and he completed all the exercises within it. 
  • Although Joel went to school to be an architect, he was also considering a career as a doctor. His father, who was already a physician, encouraged him not to go down that path, so he landed on architecture. 
In Fine Spirits Design Concept

In Fine Spirits design concept.

In Fine Spirits Interior

The interior of In Fine Spirits at 5418 N Clark, one of Joel’s projects.

  • Joel uses fast sketching, or freehand perspective drawing, as a tool in the design process. He claims that it helps to think in a design way faster, and leads to a direct and immediate conversation about the space. Software is used for the creation of building documents, but the conceptual phase is most suited to sketches. Check out some of Joel’s sketches here.
  • In the early 90s, Joel was invited to teach highschoolers how to draw. He enjoyed that experience and started to develop a curriculum while teaching at Columbia College Interior Architecture Masters Program, a series of exercises that are done at different locations. He looks forward to teaching more in the future.
  • In his free time, Joel likes to spend time kayaking and sketching on the Chicago river. It helps relax him, as well as remind him to create things that aren’t just for function’s sake, but something that feeds the soul.
  • One of Joel’s favorite projects is In Fine Spirits (5418 N Clark) due the simplicity. Joelis also proud of the Andersonville Galleria (5247 N Clark), because it’s something unique and special to the neighborhood. 
  • He’d advise new, upcoming designers to develop themselves with multiple tools, and not to rely solely on technology. Also to be creative, not just visually, but when it comes to efficiency and experience. 
  • If he could, Joel would like to trade places with a restaurant or a food business in the neighborhood to be in the thick of it. 

Joel with his sketchbook during our session at Studio C.

Visit Berman Design on the following platforms:
Online: bermanarchitecture.com
Facebook: facebook.com/BermanArchitectureDesign
Instagram: @bermanarchitecture 
Twitter: @BermanArch
LinkedIn: Berman Design