"The possibilities for design to make a difference!"
BURNS & MCDONNELL
Kansas State University | Bachelor of Architecture & Design
What's been your most rewarding project(s) while at your firm?
I was searching for an opportunity to expand my level of influence on a project and push myself into new areas of architecture beyond the traditional role of the designer. This is what led me to Burns & McDonnell.
And now, I’d like to introduce you to REVERB, a 14-story modern apartment building in the Crossroads District of Kansas City that has produced many layers of opportunity for all project members of our Design-Build team. This project is adding a new face to the skyline, sitting at the epicenter of the arts district ... all eyes are on it, no hiding in the shadows, no pressure ... I couldn’t ask for more. To add to the complexity of creating the appropriate design for the project, we are also producing engineering and construction.
The layers of involvement and expertise from our internal team has been incredible and provided a powerful balance in what has been a swift ride to our initial groundbreaking earlier this year. This has generated a new level of personal excitement and pride in what’s already been an unbelievable career in designing unique environments in Kansas City and beyond.
When we started programming REVERB we wanted to create a modern living environment that was unlike anything in Kansas City. We spent a few months collecting and gathering data, imagery and input from influencers. The goal was to curate a modern living experience, one that was a respite from the chaos of city life … a place to unwind. We didn’t want to fill the building with amenities and clutter, as we want tenants to experience the Crossroads District and all its eclectic offerings. We had a minimalist approach to the programming and design of REVERB to have a positive impact on its neighborhood for what it isn’t, for as much as what it is. To me the reward is knowing we really focused on curating the perfect environment for those life experiences, providing a backdrop for those moments and memories. I love my job!
Most interesting place you've traveled for work?
Over the last nine months I have been traveling to a 500-acre site adjacent to the Joshua Tree National Park in California. We are planning and designing a High Desert Retreat within the most dynamic and surreal range of rock formations that have been eroded by wind, water, sand and sun for over 2 billion years. It is the most intimidating project I’ve ever faced.
What inspires you about your profession?
Every day I get up early and race to my desk, either at the office or at home in my studio. I put on my headphones and start daydreaming about whatever is on my mind at the time. I stick to paper and pencils (or lately my iPad and Apple Pencil) and begin doodling ideas, thoughts, words or lines and circles until something starts to appear. My mind is always clicking through little images that have been captured in my memory and reconstructed into new objects, buildings or spaces, much like a View Master. I use these as starters to generate sketches that mostly turn into nothing more than sketches, but every now and then the initial excitement I get from creating these visuals turns into something bigger, something worth sharing. I’m big into storytelling. I love sharing my ideas as a story, especially one with meaning. To me, the story is the beginning of the process: It’s when others begin to see or hear the why or what. The story begins to change and edit, like the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books I read as a kid. The story builds from sketch to the digital dimension, to ink on paper, to concrete and steel. The story turns to glass and wood, to leather and wool. The story adds characters and personalities. It adds art and light. And, eventually, the story adds to our city, our routine, and our memories.