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A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.Fridays in Morning Edition at 7:50am and at 4:20pm during All Things Considered.

Art Beat: An Architectural Odyssey

Gary Yonkers Photography

Almost thirty years ago, Valentina Velkova stood at the window of a high-rise apartment in Chicago, gazing out at Lake Michigan. She had come from Bulgaria to attend an international architectural conference.

When a couple from Kalamazoo asked her if she would like to see the lake from the other side, from a town called Kalamazoo, Velkova was sure her life-long dream was about to come true.

A conversation with architect Valentina Velkova

Through that connection, Velkova got her first job offer in the Kalamazoo. Today, she is the owner of the architectural firm ADIDA, Inc., in Portage.

“Even as a little girl growing up in Bulgaria, I dreamed of being an architectural designer and began taking art courses and advanced math courses that would be required for architecture school,” Velkova says. “I attained my master’s degree in architecture from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering & Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria.”

Valentina Velkova

Velkova worked for several architectural firms in Kalamazoo, but soon opened her own firm. She named it ADIDA, an acronym for Architectural Design, Interior Design and Art.

Her focus is on residential architecture and design, new construction, additions, remodeling, and specialty lakefront homes. Velkova’s work has won recognition, including four awards from HOUZZ, an international platform for architectural design and home renovation.

“In Bulgaria you don’t just design a building, you design everything in and around it,” Velkova says. “I can design everything from the building to the landscaping to the furniture you sit on. I take your vision and can incorporate it into your entire project. If you are remodeling, that means seamless interface. It will look like it belongs there. On large projects, it will make everything work perfectly together, just like a master plan. I can take your ideas and create a vision of perfection. Your satisfaction is my number one goal!”

Listen to WMUK's Art Beat every Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.

Zinta Aistars is our resident book expert. She started interviewing authors and artists for our Arts & More program in 2011.
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