Alec Tesa recently received the 5 Under 40 award in architecture from New England Homes Magazine. Tesa founded his own Newport architectural firm – A. Tesa Architecture – in 2011, specializing in shingle-style homes that epitomize the colonial-New England style while incorporating a luxurious, modern twist that has been appreciated by the Newport Historic District Commission. Tesa is recognized for his meticulous attention to detail, working very closely with clients to design a unique home that reflects both their lifestyle and aesthetic vision
PBN: What draws you to the New England coastal aesthetic?
TESA: I’m really drawn to the classic American shingle-style architecture started by greats McKim, Mead & White, Peabody & Sterns, Bruce Price and William Ralph Emerson and others who pioneered the style. It is absolutely what anchored me to Newport. I also wanted to be able to create homes in a place that I know will last for generations to come. With the historic commission in place in Newport, I know that my homes will remain virtually unchanged for decades, even centuries, much as those designed in the late 1800s have. In another nod to the greats, all of our initial designs are created by hand. I learned to draft from my father and continue to provide my clients with hand-drafted plans and elevations during the initial phase. It’s only when these hand-drafted plans are approved that we transfer them to a computer, which we use as a tool, not a design platform.
PBN: How do you work to reflect each client’s personality and lifestyle in the homes you build?
TESA: I view my job as being the creator that unifies wants with needs, functionality with artistry, technicality with harmony and rhythm, balance and beauty. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I need to bring all of the elements together into a home with timeless style.
It’s our job to unify our architectural expertise with the “shingle-style” and our clients’ visions and expectations. We design our homes for our clients’ benefit, rather than our own. Each one is unique to a particular client and the design unfolds as a reflection of who they are and how they live.
PBN: What draws you to residential design?
TESA: I love the fact that I get to create spaces that people will use both socially and intimately. Each project has very different requirements, which makes every design much like reading a new book. Building a home is major life event for people and I’m honored to be allowed the opportunity to design a client’s dream home and really get to know them. By taking the time to understand how they live, I can deliver an exceptional home; one that fits their lives like a well-tailored suit. I’ve found commercial work to be very different. While my passion has been residential design, I’d be open to exploring commercial design if the right opportunity presented itself. •