How long have you been at KOMA and how did you land here?
I began working at KOMA 7 years ago. Time flies by!
I was living in New Jersey at the time and was wanting to move back to Minnesota, so I began to research firms in the Twin Cities and came across KOMA. I ended up getting a job at another architecture firm when I first moved back to the cities but always kept in touch with Brady and shortly afterwards made the move. I knew that I wanted to be at a smaller firm, one where I could experience a project beginning to end and one that offered a wider range of involvement.
What led you to put some roots down at KOMA?
The values and the environment were absolutely factors. But another thing that I really appreciate about the firm is that there is a great meshing of collaboration and individuality. I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I feel as though working at KOMA is the best of both worlds. There is definitely a sense of project ownership, but I also get the benefit of other designers and engineers right next to me when I need the insight.
How did you choose architecture as a career path?
As a kid I would build a city out of paper for my matchbox cars to drive-thru. I even made a metrodome out of paper, but it fell over. Maybe that is why I didn’t go into structural engineering. I was always doing home improvement projects as I grew up and knew I wanted to do something in the construction industry. When I found out how much I loved creating 3D models of buildings in the computer, I decided being an architect was my goal.
What keeps you growing, learning, inspired in the industry?
We are privileged at KOMA in that projects and clients are not always the same day to day, week to week. As a result no two days are the same and there are new challenges that arise regularly. Things are always changing in our industry so there is always room to grow and learn as new ways to model or new building codes are integrated. What inspires me as an architect is the ability to simply create spaces for people that makes their everyday life better without them even knowing it. If something I design makes someone smile, relax, save energy or makes something they do more functional they I have accomplished my goal.
Tadao Ando has always been one of my favorites. I have had the privilege of seeing some of his work in Asia in person. The emotions his buildings can pull out of you when you are just standing in them is inspiring. I sat in the Church of the Light and walked around the Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum. I will never forget the feelings I experienced just being there. It was like stepping into a work of art and exploring it from the inside. The simple shapes he uses and the logic of how he allowed the elements to interact with each other are only things a master architect could achieve. If you have never been to one of his creations, I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list.