Cliff Holasek was one of those Southern California kids who knew – or thought he knew – what he wanted to be from a very, very early age. His family has documentation of full building sections in chalk on the sidewalk at the age of five.
When his parents moved to a new development in Orange County, he was hooked by the floor plans, grading and sculpting of the earth, and the activity of real construction. Living in the area had many benefits, including being close to a large extended family. At his maternal Grandparents’ house, he drew large development plans in the den, and created buildings within those plans out of blocks and Lincoln Logs; at his paternal Grandparents’, his Grandmother shared her love of painting and perspective and his Grandfather shared his art of woodworking.
When the family was transferred to Oklahoma during his high school years, Cliff looked at the move as an adventure. Soon thereafter, he looked forward to enrolling in college back in California! His parents thought otherwise and wanted him to be nearby, preferably in an institution with in-state tuition costs. By the time he enrolled at Oklahoma State, it was a foregone conclusion he was enrolling in the Architecture program.
In a freshman lecture course, a slide of Richard Meier’s Douglas House changed Cliff’s perception of what architecture was and what it could be. The third year summer semester in Europe, residing in Versailles and exploring the great cities of Europe further extolled his passion of design and urbanism. The education at OSU provided a great comprehensive design and technical background that translated very well in summer internships in Los Angeles and Dallas and immediately upon graduation.
After a brief time on the east coast, family brought Cliff back to the Midwest. He found his way to BNIM Architects in Kansas City, which provided a special working environment with a great collection of influential mentors and peers. Cliff passed his Architectural Registration Exam in record time, and then continued to craft his abilities in capturing the essence of a project into building form and then putting that building together with the collaborations of the design team. He also began BNIM’s “Friday at Five” art and architecture series, produced innovative graphics for marketing and design proposals, and got recognition in leading a team of designers in a national design competition.
Opportunities to form a design partnership and a cadre of design projects led to Dallas, and while this venture was exponentially successful, a collaborative studio environment was lacking. He rejoined Corgan Associates, where he interned fifteen years before, and excelled with projects such as 2011 Cedar Springs and epic – a boutique hotel and residential project in Deep Ellum with The Rockwell Group and Todd Oldham. Later, Cliff was instrumental in the renovations and rehabilitations of many of downtown Dallas’ significant buildings into residential and retail as well as national and international hospitality projects. One of these projects was just outside Seattle, which during the years of the project, Cliff found to be a great city, and had the opportunity to relocate there and be Project Manager through design and construction for a 42-story residential high rise.
So today he’s continuing the exploratory process with drive and determination, with twenty-five years of post-graduate experience in all phases of pre-design, design, construction documents, and construction administration, and in all duties from Project Architect to Project Manager to Lead Designer to Studio Leader – in some cases, most if not all on any specific project. Cliff has been fortunate to work on a wide variety of projects from his own home renovation to retail branding to a corporate campus – giving the same care and respect to any project no matter the size.
What this Biography doesn’t mention:
– Cliff flew in the Goodyear Blimp at the age of 5.
– In a surreal moment in the summer of 1985, he got to see and brush hands with Pope John Paul II in Vatican Square.
– Cliff has been cycling his entire life, from his paper route in California to mountain biking in Arizona and Utah, to the Hotter than Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, Texas (twice!), to the Chilly Hilly on Bainbridge Island.
– On a dare, he auditioned for a part in a local stage production, and got a role. After the run, Cliff graciously retired from his stage career.