Why did you join AIA Seattle?

I have always appreciated the synergy between the structural design and architecture professions. I feel that both are equally critical to develop a vibrant and unique thriving city such as Seattle. I joined AIA to learn more about the architectural profession and look for ways to strengthen relationships with our clients.

What is the value of AIA to you?

The broad range of programs offered by Seattle AIA has been very valuable for my growth as well as others within our firm. It has helped us keep up with changes in the industry and learn more about challenges architects are facing and how we can assist.

What relationships have you created?

I much prefer working on projects where teams are working together towards a common goal and lasting friendships can be developed. I have thoroughly enjoyed partnering with our architectural clients to create a lasting, sustainable impact on the region where I grew up. It’s great to look back on the past 20+ years and say the positive relationships I have developed are too many to count!

What projects are you working on now?

I’m involved in a nice variety of projects for higher ed, K-12, and private sector clients. For me I have always enjoyed working on a mix of building types and have found it allows me to bring ideas to the table for different projects which I might not have considered if I was specializing in one particular market or material.

How do you explain what you do for a living?

I tell people I collaborate with architects to make sure their vision can be achieved and will be safe for future generations to enjoy. If I get any more technical than that most folks’ eyes start to glaze over. Although there are the occasional people who have read the doom and gloom articles about a large subduction zone earthquake off the coast wiping Seattle off the map…I try to ease their fears a bit.

Where is the field of architecture, engineering or construction headed?

We are definitely seeing an uptick in both the desire from owners to consider mass timber on their projects and from the construction community to deliver on those opportunities. There is certainly a long ways to go, but the vision of WA State to adopt the new mass timber building rules years ahead of the rest of the country is a great step forward. If we can keep the momentum going and have more local suppliers and installers in the mass timber arena we will continue to see more projects successful in actually getting built.

What inspired you today?

I read about a very inspiring project being completed in Norway called Mjøstårnet. It will be the tallest timber building in the world at 18 stories and 280 feet.

Can design save the world?

One way to certainly help is building more with mass timber to sequester its embodied carbon. On the other hand we have worked on many successful adaptive reuse projects where great design was able to breath new life into a tired structure and greatly extend our use of its inherent embodied energy. Some buildings are admittedly not worth saving, but many times with the right approach and creativity we can create some masterpieces together which you wouldn’t have if you tore it down and started fresh. The UW Husky Union Building is one such example I’m proud to have worked on in that fashion.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?

Some type of lasting impact would of course be nice, but I also know everything changes with time. I haven’t had any buildings I have designed get torn down yet, but I’m sure that’s coming before I know it. I do hope to continue the legacy we have built over the first 25 years of Coughlin Porter Lundeen’s history with future leaders of the firm who will follow me and help guide them…but allow them to do it in their way and keep the firm relevant to the ever changing design world.

What is your favorite Seattle-area structure?

My favorite of the newer additions to the skyline is The Mark. There are so many different vantage points where it really catches your eye.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?

Oh boy…I guess I’ll quote the great philosopher Ellen and say “Be Kind to One Another” (which at times I need to remind myself of).