Florida is getting quality migration

This report by Joel Kotkin on the nation’s future population growth contains some surprising trends.  For one, Florida is expected to receive quality inmigration (it usually gets quantity over quality).

To read more of this report, click:


I was proud to provide research assistance to the Manhattan Institute in 2012 for the preparation of this report.

Artist and Writer Residence

February 21 – Artist Steve Piscitelli and his wife, Kathryn, have begun residential design work with Richard Reep for a new addition and renovation to their existing residence in Clubhouse Estates.  “I am excited to be working with Richard again,” said Steve.  Richard designed a renovation to Steve Pi’s art studio in College Park in 2003.

“This is an exciting project for me,” said Richard Reep, “because I teach sustainable development, which is focused on making stuff better instead of making more stuff.  Steve and Kathryn want to take their existing 1980s vintage home and make it better.”   Besides an addition to the house, the couple wish to focus on wind hardening and energy efficiency measures for their home.

The floor plan is a typical production home, and is oriented towards the south.  The north facade has the master bedroom, living and dining rooms, none of which receive direct sunlight and as a result are quite dark and gloomy.  Incorporating a clearstory window into the design, the new roofline will allow south light to penetrate deeply into the interior of the home and brighten the space considerably.

Author Kathryn Piscitelli is a labor attorney specializing in veterans affairs, and she works out of their home.  Artist Steve Pi, a bronze sculptor, has a studio at the Maitland Art Center where he teaches sculpture.  The couple hope to complete the construction this summer.

Concept Elevation for Youth Center

This conceptual front elevation may seem  fairly straightforward, but it is actually a new front facade attached to an existing prefabricated metal building.

The metal building will remain as is; the standing seam metal front will be removed and this facade, with a 12′ wide front canopy, attached, like a storefront, only built in reverse.

The building’s rear facade has a beautiful monolithic veneer of variegated golden brown brick.  The same brick will be used as a baseline for the front facade.  Above the brick, all glass will highlight the activity within the structure, which is one large open space to be used for sports, cafeteria, musical events,  and religious services.

Consistent with the architecture of the new mixed-use complex, the exterior materials are brick, glass, and concrete.  The site sits low in an oak hollow, populated by a beautiful collection of quercus virginiana (Live oaks), which branch close to the ground.  Saving as many of these as possible while nestling buildings together to create urban space is the mission of this design; where oaks have to be removed, their memory lives on in the form of the columns and the gently arching canopy.

Epitome Districts of Florida

The University Press of Florida has agreed to publish my new book, Epitome Districts of Florida – Places with Soul. An early manuscript was released to them last  year and UPF has found the project to be of merit.  The book is expected to be released in 2014.

This book is the end of a long road and the beginning of a new one.  The ending, or culmination, is a recognition of a certain thought pattern or trajectory of thinking that has led me to become increasingly convinced of a point of view.  In this book, I shall set forth a hypothesis about how our cities concretize the phenomenon of soul.  I  shall then journey to as many of these places as I can throughout Florida, from Pensacola to Coral Gables, and document where these “glowing threads” lie.

The book will use this research to illuminate places where sidewalk life and neighborhoods are flourishing.  In contrast to the current hand-wringing literature about our cities, this book will instead point out where mixed-use districts thrive and sustain themselves.  They will be in unexpected places.

Originally, I drew some conclusions about the urban form of these places from four Central Florida districts and one far outside Central Florida – the North End of Boston.  I used the North End because it was well-documented in two important books published in 1960 and 1961 about urban form, and it was worth revisiting this place to see how it has fared.  What was written about this district 53 years ago is highly applicable to what I intend to write about here in Florida.

As far as I know, no other book has attempted this approach.  While many books have set forth long, complex theories and rules fabricated around some of our best-loved villages and towns, these books urge city planners, designers, and developers to mimic surface form with the hope that function will follow.  The old adage “form follows function” is therefore turned on its head as if function will follow form.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case.

Instead, this book will urge city planners, designers, and developers – and frankly, anyone interested in how we live and work together – to regain respect for places that have been built over time and have a number of other characteristics that are completely missing from the current wave of frankencities that have been recently thrown up.

Formulating this book will require road trips and much work that I hope to share, bit by bit, on this website.  Comments are invited and would be welcome to help direct me to places in Florida that fit this description; as well, I would appreciate anyone who can help me filter out the posers and wannabes.

I’ll be posting periodically on Twitter @rtreep – you can see the journey unfold here.

All the best,


Concept design for new religious structure

This quick study for a client indicates the feel of the front entry to a new religious center.  The pastor has, over the years, slowly expanded his ministry to meet the demands of our rural population.  While urban churches grow smaller, struggle for parishioners, and address fewer and fewer needs, houses of worship on the fringes seem to be growing, to meet more and more needs.

This particular institution already has a sanctuary, a home for single mothers, and a small high school.  The pastor, in response to community demand, is enlarging the school to educate children from kindergarten through 12th grade.  A day care center will take care of pre-kindergarten children.

In the front, additional classrooms for post-secondary religious instruction will be a part of the entry.  On the other side of the entry, the pastor and his wife, both musicians, will record albums and publish books.

The site is shaped like a spoon.  Down in the bowl of the spoon lies a pretty oak hammock, part of a low-lying area in the local topography.  The existing sanctuary faces into the bowl, and the new sanctuary will face the existing one across the hammock.  The leafy green shaded hammock between the two structures will serve as an ideal place for weddings and celebrations.

As the conceptual design is further developed, more posts will be shared.

Contemporary House

The Checkmark House responds to the unique lot conditions of this waterfront property. Asked to create a 5,000 SF luxury home in Winter Park, Florida, Richard Reep created this unique design on Lake Fairview facing west into the setting sun.

The Checkmark House responds to the unique lot conditions of this waterfront property.  Asked to create a 5,000 SF luxury home in Winter Park, Florida, Richard Reep created this soft, airfoil-like design on Lake Fairview facing west into the setting sun.

This 2-story home, once built, will be eligible for entry into the Living Future Challenge.  Equipped with a cistern, photovoltaic cells, geothermal ground loop HVAC, and a rooftop garden, the Checkmark House will produce more energy than it consumes and produce more clean water than it consumes.   On top of that, the home’s beautiful, sleek shape will be an inspiring space full of light.

The owner, who enjoys live music in his home, has a large, open, two-story living area that will act as a miniature concert hall.  The outdoor pool deck will extend the concert hall seating area for outdoor performances.

The roof spans a covered entry area and covers a 2-story detached guest cottage.  The owner will use this guest cottage for world travellers who stop by and stay.  In addition, the guest cottage has a large storage facility for the Owner’s contemporary art collection that is rotated from gallery to gallery as needed.

An inspiring, contemporary design that takes advantage of a unique site and produces energy and clean water is the goal of this residence.