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Daniel Holbrook

Q: Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour west of Philadelphia. It has a vibrant downtown but is surrounded by farmland. In 2021, my partner Mollye and I moved back to Lancaster full time to raise our family - FA has afforded me the opportunity to work remotely from the East Coast. I visit the Bay Area once a quarter for a week to work from the office and stay up to date with my projects and clients. I’m excited to bring FA’s talents to the East Coast and potentially expand our project footprint outside of California.

Q: Where did you go to school?

I went to Virginia Tech University in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, where I completed a five-year professional architecture degree. During my time at Virginia Tech, I spent a year building a rammed earth house as part of a design/build studio and participated in a study abroad travel program through western Europe.

Q: Who is in your family?

My partner Mollye is a structural engineer. Together we have two children, Ellis (7) and Everett (3). Ellis is in 2nd grade; she’s a very motivated student and she has an incredible imagination. Everett is in pre-school, he loves cars and trucks, and gives the best hugs.

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 later as a career. It’s somewhat terrifying to think that my “high school self” made such a substantial decision!

Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?

I like collaborating with clients to analyze their goals and help them find a design solution that elevates and simplifies their day to day lives. I enjoy designing houses with intricate details and efficient uses of square footage. I also love to cook, so I always enjoy designing kitchens!

Q: How long have you worked at FA?

I started at FA in 2013, so it will be eleven 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 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 allows 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: 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 owned 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.

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