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Studio Independent Honors SPARK Brand



Working with a metal structure can be tricky. But in the right hands, it can be molded into something extraordinary.

Studio Independent, a Ybor City architectural firm, took on the challenge of renovating a metal building in South Tampa for SPARK, an advertising agency with a thing for metal buildings.

The architects wanted to align their design with the ad agency's business philosophy.

"SPARK is a branding company," says Brandon Hicks, co-owner of Studio Independent, which he owns with his wife Sarah Joubert. "So we looked at their process, which is to find what works for their client, tweak it and repackage it  So we did that for them. We kept what was working with the space and totally repackaged it."

Doing so required a lot of analysis.

"Their previous office was this industrial, metal building," he says. "For SPARK, the new space was exactly what they were looking for. For us, it was about analyzing things -- determining what we could and couldn't use.

"The building type really dictated what we could and couldn't do," Hicks continues. "Metal buildings are very economical until you start altering them. You can't just cut into metal. You have to be very careful where you carve so you don't compromise any structural components. If you do, it starts to get very expensive. So we had to do a lot of pre-project analysis."

Hicks says the SPARK project is a first for his firm, which he and his wife started 18 months ago.

"Someone I went to school with runs in the same circle as we do, and he knew SPARK was looking for a new architect -- a new and upcoming firm looking for a portfolio-type project -- and he referred us to SPARK. We set up a meeting the same day we got the call. We couldn't have asked for a better first project."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Brandon Hicks, Studio Independent

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