Q: Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, about an hour outside of Philadelphia. My parents still live there, as well as my sister and her two kids. Lancaster is a small city, but has a very vibrant downtown. I always knew I wanted to live in a city.
Q: Where did you go to school?
I went to college at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg Va which is in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Blacksburg is very rural, the opposite of city life, not at all where I pictured myself studying architecture. However, I fell in love with the campus, the surrounding mountains and the great architecture school.
Q: Who is in your family?
My wife, Mollye, who is a structural engineer. We have a two year daughter together named Ellis.
I also have an older sister and younger brother whom I’m very close with, as well as my parents—all in Pennsylvania.
My sister is a school teacher and administrator. My mom owns and runs her own women’s apparel store specializing in handmade purses. My father has spent 30+ years in plastics and manufacturing.
My brother also studied architecture at Virginia Tech, but with more of a focus on furniture design. We overlapped for one year in design school. He’s now working for a cabinetry shop that designs and manufactures casework, as well running a small woodworking business called Hambone Philadelphia. He manufactures small wooden objects, like cutting boards, desk organizers and candle holders. I have one of his desk organizers on my desk in the office.
Q: When did you first develop an interest in architecture?
Like a lot of architects, I was obsessed with legos as a kid. Whether it was legos or tree forts, I loved to build things. I always enjoyed art classes and really liked drawing. My mom told me I should be an architect, and since I always listen to my mom, here we are! It was a profession that melded all my interests together and I decided, in high school, to pursue it as major in college and then a career. It’s somewhat terrifying to think that my “highschool self” made such a substantial decision!
Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?
I like small ones that have a “jewelry-box” quality; ones with intricate details but not a massive amount of square footage to coordinate.. Residential projects are a lot of fun, I really like working closely with clients to design a house that elevates and simplifies the way they live.
Q: How long have you worked at FA?
It will be five years in September.
Q: What makes our office unique?
Our office is very collaborative. There is a general sense that we get to the best place by talking to each other and relying on each other’s expertise’ rather than one person taking ownership over an idea or project. There’s also a total lack of ego in the office which comes from the top down. It really causes us to look at a design or a project and decide what’s best for it, rather than what each individual is trying to achieve through it.
Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?
Well, I get to bike to work, which I really like. But day in and day out, the people at Feldman are the best part about coming to work. I feel very fortunate that I get to work with such a smart, talented group of designers.
Q: Do you think you could live abroad in another country? Where would you choose to go?
100%. I almost burned my return ticket from Copenhagen when I was there a few years ago. Copenhagen is an unbelievably humane and livable city with lots of families and kids.
Q: Do you have a professional role model?
My Grandfather, Father and Mother all started their own small businesses. Each of them worked incredibly hard to build something from the ground up. My Grandfather started his own accounting firm, My Mother owns her own retail store and my Father ran a manufacturing company for most of my childhood. Very different ventures, but their individual work ethic and drive to do things right has always been my professional compass.
Q: What’s your design process like?
Iterative. I typically work through a design problem to the point of frustration and then walk away.
I take calculated breaks to finally get comfortable with a solution. Often I’ll find solutions to a design problem while doing something unrelated, like cooking or running. Walking away and coming back to the design with a clear head is crucial for my individual process. Often my first reaction to a design problem ends up being the right one, but not always, so it’s imperative for me to work through multiple failures to test that initial reaction to a design problem.
Q: What are your opinions on robots?
I’m a little scared of them to be quite honest. Most movies about robots do NOT end well…
That being said, I did see a video recently of a robot framing a house and that seems really exciting. Not totally sure how I feel about giving robots nail guns though…