journal

Having and Being a Mentor

by Kristin Walsh

 

When I decided to begin a contributing to this blog, my first move (if you don't count the standard move of every Millennial to first "Google" it) was to email a long time mentor and ask for advice. I hit send and within minutes my phone buzzed. I jumped to get it, assuming the answer on the other end would ease all of my anxiety. Instead of a response, it was a text from a college student that I mentor asking me for advice on a letter she was sending to a prospective employee. I paused momentarily to consider the situation and shifted seamlessly from a girl full of her own insecurities and anxieties to a woman with years of experience and an easy flow of advice. In a way, that phone call did ease my anxiety and remind me of my own value. 

Being a mentor is as important as having a mentor and the happy ground of being somewhere in the middle.

On having a mentor

I once heard someone say, "The person I am today is a reflection of all the people who have made the decision to mentor me throughout my life." This is profoundly true of us all. We are the product not only of our professional mentors but of our families, teachers, friends, coworkers, and role models. We spend our lives learning through the emulation of others and choosing to focus on developing the traits we value in those people. And when it comes to our careers, it's important to keep that diversity in your mentor mix. You never know where the best advice and inspiration will come from. 

Having professional mentors throughout my career has had some quantifiable benefits. I can list the times my colleagues from firms I interned at have given me advice on everything from finding the right jobs to apply for to negotiating raises and finding my work/life balance. They have made calls on my behalf to introduce me to industry leaders, they have reviewed my portfolios and resumes, they have recommended books/blogs/speakers and other events to help continue my growth and education, they have invited me to networking events across the state, and they have graciously acted as my references each time I apply for a new position. All of that has been career making but what my mentors have done for me goes much deeper than professional advice and references. Less quantifiable but of much more value, their support and genuine interest in my growth has instilled in me a confidence that I would have spent most of my life trying to find on my own.

Choosing to transition to Nimmo wasn’t a difficult decision for me. When Josh and I first discussed the possibility of my joining the firm, he laid out the things that I had at my current corporate job that a boutique firm couldn’t offer: high tech office, a company softball team, water cooler talk, etc. He then told me what he could offer was mentorship. For me, career satisfaction isn’t based on the office or the short-term benefits. I place value in the opportunities that I have to grow in my position and pursue my passions. That is exactly what I have at Nimmo, an opportunity to learn not only about design but also about running a firm, marketing, client relationship, and so much more. While learning all of this, I also have the chance to influence the development of the firm and take on a leadership role far sooner than I would have at a large firm. Getting into a great design firm when it’s still small gives you a real chance to grow in your firm and having someone there who is excited about taking you on as their mentee is priceless.  When someone offers to go all in on me, I go all in on them and that makes the difference between a job and a career.   

On being a mentor

The reasons I love architecture transcend my own firm. My passions for sustainable design, urban development, and the effect of our built environment on our culture are values that I want to continue to explore with my mentors as well as my mentees. These relationships with professionals outside of my own firm help me to contribute to a global conversation about the value of our profession. In this field of work, when I take the time to invest in future leaders, I am investing in my community and the world in which I will live.

Although I am new to the mentoring side of the relationship, there are plenty of things I have come to value about it. The first is that mentoring has kept me learning. My mentee has plenty of typical questions that I can see coming from miles away. I'm just not that far removed from my own graduation and immersion into the working world. But she has other questions for me that have caught me off guard and in doing so begun a great dialogue between us. Sometimes I know the answer but mostly I have been challenged to think for the first time about a question and develop my own ideas in order to answer her. This not only has taught me about myself, it has taught me about the values, concerns, and interests of students’ graduating today.

Staying up to date on the perspectives of someone younger than you puts you in position to become a stronger leader and gives insight into developing your firm culture. Although we are still a small firm, working with mentees outside of the office gives us insight into the interests of the upcoming generation and helps us to find, understand, and acquire new talent.  As we grow, we hope that building relationships based on commitment to investing in each other will be the foundation of our design, client relationships, and firm culture. It’s two sided. Mentoring takes time but when we consider that time to be an investment, we believe it is the beginning of a long term approach that will lead to lasting relationships and continued intellectual growth for our firm. That is something we see as a win/win.

The happy ground of being in the middle

I believe it will always be important to be both a mentor and a mentee. There was a time for most of us as children when we thought adults knew everything. For years I waited anxiously for that moment of clarity when I became an adult and had all the answers. Instead, much like everyone else, I slowly came to the understanding that being an adult is less about being “all knowing” and more about having the experience, resources, and support to be able to figure things out the best you can.

At Nimmo, we understand the importance of mentoring young associates and provide an exceptional amount of education and transparency in regards to our operations. It is our goal to teach the fundamentals that will serve as a strong foundation for a career in architecture. This level of mentorship not only helps young associates to grow in their career, it also builds personal relationships that serve as the foundation of our firm culture.

We also understand the importance having mentors ourselves; to always be learning, growing, and stretching our comfort zone through relationships with the people we aspire to emulate while doing the same by coming to understand ourselves and the needs of our firm through our relationships with each other.  After all, you can acquire years of experience and knowledge and even become an expert in your field, but having a mentor isn’t something that you grow out of. For every stage of your life, finding people who share your passion, are interested in growing with you, and are there to share in your successes can make all the difference. 

Mentorship is the one of the foundations that we are growing the firm on. If you are interested in joining Nimmo, we are currently hiring! Please send your portfolio and resume to applications@nimmo.am. Do you want to know more about us? I’m happy to share my experiences at Nimmo, you can email me directly at kwalsh@nimmo.am.

 

Kristin Walsh is an associate at Nimmo Architecture as well as a regular contributor to the Nimmo Journal and News@Nimmo

kwalsh@nimmo.am

nimmo Collaborates With Smitharc

Nimmo is wrapping up recent collaboration with Smitharc.  It was a great experience working through a design project with their group and are excited to see the efforts take shape.  Ground breaking soon; we'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, we are excited to begin our next chapter.  Construction for the Blankenship Residence has begun, the Hillen Residence is nearing completion, and we have exciting new projects such as Urban Commons on the boards.  Stay tuned... Back to www.nimmo.am

Nimmo Welcomes Kristin Walsh LEED AP+

Kristin Walsh is the latest addition to the Nimmo team, joining the firm in early 2016. Kristin earned a BA in Architectural Studies from Connecticut College and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. She has studied art and architecture around the world and credits her extensive travel experiences to igniting her passion for vernacular design. She believes in architecture of a place and finds her roots in sustainability come from designing site-specific works. Prior to joining Nimmo, Kristin specialized in sustainable design at Lake|Flato Architects and HKS Inc and worked as a Project Designer at Laguarda Low Architects. She is an accredited professional in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington. Kristin will be a regular contributor to our blog, Nimmo Features.  Stay up to date on the firm by following us at nimmo.am.

Kristin Walsh is the latest addition to the Nimmo team, joining the firm in early 2016. Kristin earned a BA in Architectural Studies from Connecticut College and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. She has studied art and architecture around the world and credits her extensive travel experiences to igniting her passion for vernacular design. She believes in architecture of a place and finds her roots in sustainability come from designing site-specific works.

Prior to joining Nimmo, Kristin specialized in sustainable design at Lake|Flato Architects and HKS Inc and worked as a Project Designer at Laguarda Low Architects. She is an accredited professional in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and an adjunct lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington. Kristin will be a regular contributor to our blog, Nimmo Features.  Stay up to date on the firm by following us at nimmo.am.

Under Construction: Grotto VC

The corner version [VC] of the original Grotto urban infill prototype is set to break ground in Dallas, Texas in May of 2016.  Developer Garrett Ratner of Ripple D+B has his sites set on creating a residential product of unprecedented quality and integrated technology.

GT-Moto

Joshua Nimmo collaborates with award winning designer / builder Sofi Tsingos from GT-Moto.  Sofi is starting with a 1979 Honda CB 650.  The team intends to create a one of a kind ride; incorporating Nimmo's architectural perspective for materials and finishes with Tsingo's vision and attention to detail.  More to come...

photography by Brandon La Joie

copyright GT-Moto

Under Construction: Red Oak

Type:  Single Family Residence

Size:  2700 Square Feet

Location:  Flower Mound, Texas

Construction Scheduled For Completion June 2017

NIMMO Honored To Receive AIA Dallas 2015 Design Award

  

  All Photos By WJN Photo www.wjnphoto.com

 

All Photos By WJN Photo

www.wjnphoto.com

AIA Dallas Honors Progressive Design Concepts

from Michael Friebele at AIA Dallas

Dialogue. Ideas. Opportunities. 

As public discourse in Dallas becomes increasingly vital to understanding where we are as a city, and where we want to be, AIA Dallas seeks to enable continuing dialogue on important issues between the profession and the community. As part of our charge, the evolution of the Unbuilt Design Awards into an interactive event for the community continues the AIA Dallas mission to provoke new ideas by featuring the future from the architect’s perspective.

from AIA Dallas

Shining a light on experimental design and celebrating progressive architectural concepts, we're launching a new chapter of our Unbuilt Design Awards program with a gallery show opening and awards ceremony on May 28.

The exhibition, featuring all of the Unbuilt Design Award entries, will be on display at Life in Deep Ellum, a cultural center promoting urban Dallas art, music, commerce, and community. To celebrate the six week exhibition, AIA Dallas is hosting an opening party that will feature an awards ceremony and a panel discussion led by nationally acclaimed jurors. Join us to peruse the gallery while mingling with the jurors and enjoying hor’dourves and music. The exhibition will feature all entries submitted this year as well as a curated showing of models from students of the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture. 

from Taylor Little at D

Grotto: An Infill Prototype, NIMMO, Dallas, The prototype is designed to meet the needs and lifestyles of urban dwellers, while filling unoccupied land near downtown Dallas. Its sustainable strategies and systems are implemented with a focus on construction quality. 

Dallas Holocaust Museum I Center for Education and Tolerance, Good Fulton & Farrell, Dallas, 52,230 square feet: The design features a hard-shelled vessel, wrapped by a transparent veil and entered through a garden. At the conclusion, visitors will experience a towering plane of glass containing 60,000 stars, each representing 100 souls. 

B3 Plot Cultural Pavilion Concept, RTKL Associates Inc., Dubai, UAE, 38,000 square feet: Using the building’s context and cultural influence as a guide, the pavilion’s design strives to create a community hub that will add value to the region. It combines cultural traditions with modern technologies to meet the needs of a growing neighborhood.  

Dalian Airport Terminal Competition,Corgan, Dalian, China, 7.3 million square feet: The terminal’s design aims to meet the needs of passengers while creating a unique experience. It is environmentally friendly, economically right-sized, and capable of generating its own power and economic revenue through passenger-oriented operations and concessions programs.  

Dallas Holocaust Museum Center,Omniplan Architects, Dallas, Texas, 50,000 square feet: The building design aims to create an intuitive path for all visitors so that the focus is on the emotional experience of each exhibit with no distractions. 

The awards ceremony marked the opening of the AIA Dallas Unbuilt Design Awards Exhibition. The exhibition will be on display through July 11. It will culminate with a closing reception, which will include a discussion with the winning project teams and the announcement of a People’s Choice Design Award.

 

2015 Unbuilt Design Awards Jury

Jenny Wu,  Partner at Oyler Wu Collaborative
Jenny Wu is a founding partner of Oyler Wu Collaborative and currently teaches first year design studio at SCI-Arch.  She received her undergraduate degree from Columbia and her Masters of Architecture from Harvard.  The Oyler-Wu Collaborative, founded in 2004 with Dwayne Oyler, is a multi-faceted practice with a strong focus on small-scale installations and fabrication as well as the design of large projects across the world. Many projects are experimental in nature and are actually fabricated by the members of the practice themselves. This enables the design to further evolve and progress, even as it is being constructed.  The practice has won numerous awards; 2013 Design Vanguard Award (from Architectural Record), 2013 Emerging Talent Award (from AIA California Council),and Taiwan’s ADA Award for Emerging Architect among others. In addition to her work at Oyler Wu, she has designed a collection of 3D-printed jewelry entitled LACE.  This project applies her design sensibilities to an even smaller scale, and utilizes 3D printing to create pieces impossible to produce by any other method. Jenny has published a book, Primitives, in addition to Pendulum Plane and Trilogy: SCI-ARC Pavilions by Oyler Wu.

ElizabethWhittaker, Founder and Principal at Merge Architects
Elizabeth Whittaker, AIA, is the founder and principal of MERGE architects. Elizabeth has served on the Boston Society of Architects/AIA Board of Directors and has been nominated for the National American Institute of Architects, Young Architect’s Award. She graduated from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design with Distinction where she received numerous awards during her graduate studies including the Core Studio Prize, the Faculty Design Award, and the John E. Thayer Award for overall academic achievement. Elizabeth approaches architecture as a discipline embedded in both practice and academia. She has taught design studios in several Architecture programs including Harvard University (GSD), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, and the Boston Architectural College. Elizabeth currently holds a faculty position as Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, Principal at Architecture Research Office (ARO)
Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture from Princeton University. He has served as the Eliel Saarinen Professor and as the Sanders Teaching Fellow at the University of Michigan, and as the Shure Professor at the University of Virginia. He has also taught at Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Syracuse University, Parsons/The New School and Washington University in St. Louis. Adam has lectured widely throughout the United States and abroad. Recent articles by Adam have appeared in A+U, 306090, Dimensions, and Places Journal. Adam is a board member of Places Journal.

About Life in Deep Ellum

In 2006, Deep Ellum was undergoing a transition.  With the apparent sudden closings of several notable local restaurants and music venues, many saw the decline of Deep Ellum as a sure thing.  Many people thought Deep Ellum was dead.  With streets and restaurants regularly sitting empty, there were those who feared this might be the end.

In the midst of this, there were those who refused to accept the “Death of Deep Ellum.”  Believing that community strengths centered around Art, Music, Commerce, and Community, the vision for Life in Deep Ellum was born.  Gifted with a once abandoned warehouse, the organization serves as a cultural center for the artistic, social, economic, and spiritual benefit of Deep Ellum. Alongside community organizations such as the Deep Ellum Community Association and the Deep Ellum Foundation, LIDE continues to fulfill its mission of impacting the greater community of Deep Ellum and urban Dallas. 

Past events held at Life in Deep Ellum include Pecha Kucha, TEDX, ArtCon, RedBull Curated, and Daverse Lounge.

Remarks

"Homes were being ... replaced by massive homes that maximize the site to the brim ... with little regard for their respective surroundings. Grotto ... from Nimmo Architecture, at its very core, bucks this M Street trend with a modern design system that is sensible both inward and outward."
- Michael Friebele - American Institute of Architecture (source)

  All Photos By WJN Photo www.wjnphoto.com

 

All Photos By WJN Photo

www.wjnphoto.com