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WILMINGTON — Architect Joseph Cincotta isn’t the first architect to leave a metropolis for rural living. In another era, Frank Lloyd Wright left Chicago for Wisconsin’s countryside.

Similar to other Vermont locales, Wilmington boasts fine cuisine, shops and photo-worthy architecture. The town attracts cultural creatives, including those who rallied for their neighbors when Tropical Storm Irene brought destruction to town in August 2011.

As the owner of the architecture firm LineSync, Cincotta rolled up his sleeves and designed the River Resilient Apartment in 2014 for a client who lost his basement home during the hurricane.

“The apartment was below street level and completely submerged by the flood waters. I started out with the client’s assumption that he wanted to be the first apartment to reopen after the next ‘100-year’ flood,” said Cincotta.

The new apartment included solid core concrete blocks, waterproof plaster, radiant heat underneath the floor and other electrical solutions.

“The heat and other mechanical systems were installed above the flood line in the upper floors. The wiring was outdoor-rated for burial in wet soils. All plugs were ground fault. All windows were installed with foam gaskets and four screws that could easily be removed and allow the water to enter in and out easily without glass breakage,” said Cincotta.

While the architect focuses on practical solutions, another side of him is whimsical and breezy. His love of the natural world shows up in his 1862 home, design studio and the functional garden that blends with the outdoors. His wife, Julie Lineberger, entrepreneur and business manager, grounds Cincotta’s visions. Their two minds have led the firm to win numerous awards — such as from the Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the agency Efficiency Vermont — and to earn five-star reviews from happy clients.

Another revered team member, semi-retired architect David B. Ryan, works part-time at the firm among its seven-member design crew, who are mostly women.

“I enjoyed David’s keen wit and informed curiosity. We took him on part time this year to help out with our increasing workload. David adds a great eye for proportion and an ability to stay focused on the details,” Cincotta said.

He gave Vermont News & Media a tour of a guest apartment in the basement of the design studio. With inclusivity in mind, the rental features kitchen counters of two heights, so that both tall and wheelchair guests can use the space comfortably.

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The bathroom has a walk-in shower, and the toilet and sink enclosed within the tiled area. The Neptune blue tile gives an underwater feel, which is both beautiful and functional. Instead of a handicap ramp leading up to the rental, a cultivated trail cuts through a garden up to the front door.

“Solutions to problems surpass the designs, but to most people, architects are known for their designs and not their solutions,” he said.

While problem-solving comes first in the architect’s mind, his designs are eye-catching. The designs also invoke conversations about the natural world, community and architectural history.

Cincotta became interested in design when he was in kindergarten in Queens, N.Y. However, his kindergarten teacher, who favored the firefighting and policing professions above architecture, wasn’t impressed.

“She rued my ambitious sturdy platforms made from blocks. She wrote to my mother and noted that the structures I built for my classmates, who loved to stand on them, were dangerous and needed to be stopped,” Cincotta said.

In junior high, he turned his gaze to urban design, after being inspired by reading about Norman Bel Geddes’ work and a visit to the World of Tomorrow at the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York. However, the family physician thought that a career as an architect was more lucrative.

“He didn’t know I’d end up falling in love with nature in Vermont, where I would earn less than any urban planner but in a greener setting that was priceless.”

As far as the present and the future, his workload keeps his team and him busy at the firm he began with his wife in founded in 1988, first based out of their home in Whitingham.

While it’s still in the planning stages, LineSync was hired recently to bring new life to the Martin Brown horse barns on the edge of Wilmington. There’s already a detectible buzz in the community in regard to the future of the historic site.

To see more of LineSync’s work, visit linesync.com.

Patricia Herlevi has freelanced as a journalist since the mid-1980s covering music, fine art, architecture, food, movies, and other topics of interest. She is also an animal communicator, Reiki Master and lover of all things metaphysical, including astrology. She is in love with gemstones, lifelong learning, and dogs in no particular order.