Though he landed his first job in architecture while still in high school, architect Jeff Adams’s path to designing high-performance homes wasn’t a straight line.
When his father encouraged him to get a summer job as a teenager, Jeff sent resumes to a dozen architecture firms. One of them, Line and Space, a modern architecture firm in Tucson, AZ, run by an acquaintance of his father, offered Jeff a job. At first the work was maintenance on rental properties, but eventually Jeff learned to trace sketches for presentations and to build architectural models.
After high school, Jeff studied civil engineering at Princeton, though he did his thesis on architecture and earned an architecture certificate. He then went back to work for Line and Space. They were building a 25,000 square foot home. “It was sort of over-the-top,” said Jeff, “but it also was kind of fun. I worked on site, drawing a lot of details in the field. It was an immersion into modern detailing.”
Soon, Jeff returned to school for a master’s degree in architecture, this time at UCLA. He stayed in southern California where he was a project architect at Johnston Marklee and worked on the acclaimed Hill House. But Jeff eventually had enough of the big city. When a friend recruited him to work on a communal property in northern California, he jumped on the opportunity. The move turned out to be the start of an eight-year sabbatical from conventional architecture.
After falling in love, getting married, and having a child, Jeff realized that he had “unfinished business with architecture.” He dusted off his textbooks and studied for the state exams. He passed. He finally had a license to practice architecture. Through a mutual friend, Jeff was introduced to Mela Breen, the founder and principal…