Design for Innovation


Interview with Bob Wandel

When Bob Wandel began telling me about Walden Ravines, our featured project for 1974, Tom Schnell walked through the kitchen without knowing Bob was visiting. The welcome interruption went like this: 

“Hey there, Mr. Schnell,” Bob yelled.

“Robert! What are you up to?” Tom replied. “Didn’t know you were here.”

“Oh, I’m up to about 195,” Bob joked.

“How ya been?” Tom asked.

“Pretty good. Hey, had any martinis lately?”

“Not yet today,” Tom said, “but the day isn’t over,” and he continued walking through to the studio.

Walden Ravines was a condominium project. For the project they reached out to Sasaki, Dawson, Demay & Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to help with the master plan. “I’d say this was the first time we used a nationally known design firm. Right, Schnell?” Bob barked as Tom was walking back to his desk. “Oh yea, I’d say so,” Tom howled back and hung around with us a little longer. 

The condos are built on a ravine. They’re houses with garages and the design is contemporary. The houses are in the woods and made of wood. The garages were used to create courtyards, so it was a very communal design. “We designed it and then the market went south,” Bob said. “Again!” Tom added “And the project went bankrupt,” Bob griped. When the project came out of bankruptcy, they weren’t a part of finishing it. Someone else finished it and used the master plan Wandel & Schnell, Architects came up with.

1974 Pop Culture Facts

Little House on the Prairie and Happy Days both premiered this year causing humble homes to giggle and reflect and that’s really good because Ted Bundy was causing people to be on edge… especially with the release of Stephen King’s “Carrie.” Yikes! At least they could pick up the latest issue of People Magazine because that made its debut. And if you liked something in the magazine, you could pick up an Art Fry original Post-It and make a note to stick right in the magazine. Finally.