Geoff Warner / Alchemy / weeHouse
Geoffrey Warner is the founder of Alchemy, weeHouse, and an avid proponent of efficient house design. As an architect in a Minneapolis firm, Warner became impatient with “business-as-usual” thinking. So in 1989, he did what anyone would do: he quit his job to get real, hands-on experience. Literally. He constructed buildings, furnishings, lighting, and artful fabrications using a variety of materials and hand-, machine-, and CAD-based processes. The office he founded, Alchemy, concentrates on art and industry while maximizing the impact of modest budgets through creative construction technologies and celebrating a sense of “tightwad panache.”
Alchemy’s completion of the first weeHouse in 2003, then just an inexpensive prefab cabin, gained international attention as a symbol of architectural optimism. Since then, Alchemy has widened its scope, developing the weeHouse as a prefabricated answer for cabins, houses, offices, rooftop studios, and multi-unit developments, and has completed over 3 dozen prefabricated projects around the United States. Warner’s clients share cultural values, even where their politics differ; they include a Chicago art patron couple who are very influential in the National Democratic Party, a Texas House Republican candidate, and the daughter of one of the only mainstream Independent Party candidates to run for president in the last twenty years. Projects have been published in numerous national and international magazines, books, blogs, and cyberspace slots including: The New York Times, Dwell, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Wired,Interior Design, and Kiplinger’s along with MSN.com, CBS Marketwatch and The Huffington Post. weeHouse.com has averaged 20,000 unique visitors per month. Exhibitions include Some Assembly Required-The Walker Art Center, the HOME House Project – Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Design Philadelphia: A Clean Break, and MASTER/Plan: Visionary Architects and Their Utopian Worlds – Cornell Museum of Fine Arts. Alchemy has received national AIA awards for the Blair Barn House and Specs Optical Façades, and numerous AIA Minnesota Honor Awards.
Geoffrey Warner holds an architecture degree with high honors from the University of Minnesota (1987), and taught Design-Build classes there from 1998 to 1999. He received the Dinkeloo Traveling Fellow Award coupled with a stay at the American Academy in Rome (1989), where he studied the detailing work of Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. He lives in St. Paul, MN with his family, and would really rather be kitesurfing than any of the above activities.