The firm was founded as ASC Architects, Inc in 1977 by Alan S Curtis. In the 10 year period from 1977 to 1987 the focus project types included retail buildings and retail interiors, office buildings and office interiors, multifamily and single family residential projects, historic restoration and renovation projects as well as adaptive reuse of existing buildings where the original building use is changed to accommodate a new function. Key projects included a 40,000 SF shopping center for a private bank owner in Palatine, IL; an 80,000 SF office building for for a big eight accounting firm in St. Charles, IL, and an 80,000 square foot adaptive reuse project in downtown Elkhart IN.
In 1987 ASC Architects became established as a designer of corporate office buildings and corporate interiors. During this period the firm completed over 3 million square feet of office projects for Fortune 500 clients, as well as for a host of mid and small office building users. Included was the design of computer/server rooms, cafeterias and other food service facilities as well as conference and training centers, health club facilities, mail distribution centers, copy and publication facilities and health services facilities. Long standing relationships with key clients such as Hewitt Associates, Motorola and Grainger began during this decade. In 1990 the firm moved from its suburban location into Chicago’s Loop, first with a full floor tower office in the Pittsfield building at 55 East Washington and then at 30 North Michigan Avenue.
In this time frame the firm continued to focus on architectural interiors and completed many more projects for its key corporate clients in Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, New York and Indianapolis. The firm also expanded its area of expertise to the hospitality industry. Included was the design of a 250 room condo hotel in the Chicago suburbs as well as a design study for a 300 room hotel at Midway airport and a 175 room facility in downtown Indianapolis. Unique projects completed during this era included the expansion and renovation of an historic recreation building for a suburban Chicago park district and a 250 seat cafeteria for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
In mid 2008 the firm altered it’s operating system. Building on 30 years of experience assembling teams of experts and using the business model of one our key clients, the movie industry, the nature of the firm changed from a static office environment to an unfixed and dynamic virtual office. This update in the operating system plugged directly into the “gig” economy and created the groundwork for a strategic partnership with Bark Design in Madison WI. The name ASC Architects changed to drivearchitecture as a way to capture the nature of this virtual dynamism. Given the nature of the changing economy and the ongoing challenges of working with limited natural resources this decision was prescient. When many firms failed during the great recession, drivearchitecture not only survived but prospered, focusing on health care facilities, multifamily residential projects, historic restorations and a host of design work for custom single family home clients.