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The genesis for this website is a desire to present design concepts for un-commissioned projects that have piqued my curiosity over the years.  So, the common theme for the curio cabinet is that there is no paying client.  Just me.  Design criteria for each project is developed and prioritized based on research, experience and that most wonderful of inspirations - whim.


Periodically, a new project will be added to the cabinet.  Each will be presented with an introduction, describing the inspiration for its creation, in other words, the definition of the design problem.   The design solution will be presented as a story-board of graphic images, each with a caption, complementing them with analysis through the prism of selected design principles.  Collectively, these captions will constitute an academic “argument” for the design solution, executed through those principles.  A pdf document formatted with the same images and information is also created for each project and available for download.


Who is this website meant for?...


  • Well to be honest, partly for me! It gives me an outlet for lots of goofy thoughts that just don’t survive in the business world.  It also serves as a repository – a virtual existence for the unbuilt.  More importantly, it’s a place to explore, express, test and grow.

  • For clients and friends, the intent is to provide an enjoyable diversion and a way of staying in touch by way of interesting conversation.

  • Should students of design find this website, my hope is that they will enjoy the images and elements of discourse that are more academic in character than what is available in popular journals, while being more practically oriented than what is available in academic texts.  

  • I hope that fellow designers will find inspiration, not in the specific designs, but rather, in the approach to each, that they may find a kindred spirit and some validation for their own unique approach to professional service.

  • For nonprofessionals with an inherent appreciation for design who may find their way here out of simple curiosity, my objective is to share an appreciation for the architectural thought that goes into the design of the built-environment that rarely is explained, but is always present in a successful project.

John A. Hopke, RA

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John is a practicing architect in Williamsburg Virginia, where he has resided over 60 years.  John has diverse interests and an unusual background.  With a BS in Physics from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Architecture from Virginia Tech, he began his career as a computer programmer for Skidmore Owings and Merrill, in the early days of 3D cadd.  After working for other local architectural firms, John established his own firm in 1990.   HOPKE & ASSOCIATES continues as a small practice which has deep experience successfully executing a wealth of different project types, from municipal to retail to office to residential to mixed-use and land-planning. 


Today John works a little less and depends on his partner, Jon Harrison RA a little more.  His life of relative bliss is made possible by his business manager for 31 years and wife of 41 years, Jeanne, as well as his two intellectually superior children, John and Elizabeth, their spouses, and six or seven adorable grandchildren.  And of course Lilly, the cat, who meticulously oversees every word that is typed.

If you enjoy the site, we’d love to hear from you.  Leave a message here.  But please accept something of an apology in advance:  I am still a practicing architect and may not have time to respond thoughtfully to all comments and questions.

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