Architecture surrounds Hershey
Architect John Hershey in his Libertyville office at J. Hershey Architecture. “Architecture surrounds us. I love the creativity and the design aspect of it,” he said. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
J. Hershey Architecture
615 E. Park Avenue, Suite 200, Libertyville
Updated: March 18, 2013 1:17AM
LIBERTYVILLE — John Hershey decided in ninth-grade that he wanted to become an architect.
After a career spanning over 25 years, his passion for the work has not diminished. It seems he may not be alone in his love of architecture.
“When meeting me, the most common thing people say is that when I was young, I wanted to become an architect,” Hershey said. “Architecture surrounds us. I love the creativity and the design aspect of it.”
If he were not an architect, Hershey said he would likely be designing something, perhaps furniture.
Having worked on a wide variety of commercial and residential projects over the years, the focus of the nearly four-year-old company – J. Hershey Architecture – is one-of-a-kind projects: custom residential augmentations, single family homes from scratch and unique commercial projects like restaurants and stores.
For those commercial customers, Hershey says his company does a lot more than design. They also help the businesses brand themselves.
“We consider ourselves problem-solvers,” he said. “We focus on customer service.”
To underscore the point, Hershey said his firm doesn’t have standardized operating procedures so everything varies by project and is customizable. Although the attention to detail is a nice selling point for his company’s services, Hershey admits it also has a personal benefit.
“I need diversity,” he said. “I get bored if I’m doing the same thing over and over.”
To keep boredom at bay, Hershey brings his skills to bear on a number of projects outside of work, such as nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for needy families.
Throughout his 16 years of involvement with Habitat, Hershey has designed a majority of the homes they’ve built in Lake County. Many are done pro bono, and some at a reduced rate. How long does it take to design a home? Over 100 hours, Hershey said.
Several of the Habitat homes have even been LEED certified, a designation granted to structures that are designed and built in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient manner.
Managing resources effectively is indeed something Hershey’s firm takes pride in.
“I firmly believe that the clients that hire us save money,” he said.
It isn’t always the case, in Hershey’s view, when people talk to a contractor or a builder first.
“We can give [clients] an unbiased opinion,” he said. “We’re not benefitting from how much or how little you spend to have something built.”
When he isn’t at work, Hershey’s architectural skills come into use in unexpected ways.
“If we’re packing a car to go somewhere, my family has me do it because I can visualize where everything is going to go,” he said.