Written by Mishka Morgus
TCF just celebrated its 60-year anniversary in 2020. You’ve been at the firm for 20 years — a third of its existence. How does it feel to be part of shaping TCF into what it is today?
The industry has definitely evolved. In the early years, there were many junior staff starting their careers like I was, and we had a great time learning, laughing, and figuring things out within a production-focused, and often competitive, work environment. The stress level was pretty high; we learned a lot, but didn’t really know any different.
I’ve matured, and like the profession as a whole, have become more thoughtful and intentional. And I’m pleased to say that my favorite aspects from office life that I enjoyed in the early years — humor and camaraderie — have remained. I love how our team strives for deeper, meaningful design together, and recognizes contributions that all individuals offer in bringing ideas to fruition.
Originally, what drew you to TCF Architecture?
Having worked for smaller offices, I wanted to grow outside of what I knew and take the next step in my career.
Reaching back to experiences as a young professional starting out, any words of wisdom?
One – I’ve learned to not hold questions back. It’s better to be open about what you don’t know and grow in understanding than make wrong assumptions. Two – Take on assignments and own the responsibility for seeing them through. Three – Follow your curiosity in pursuing personal passions, because you will discover how seemingly random knowledge will eventually provide a unique and useful perspective.
You’ve become quite an advocate for promoting others and in providing recommendations for project teams. Can you speak more about why advocating for others is important to you?
My early experiences in architecture were equally valuable and challenging. This has given me thick skin, empathy for others, an appreciation for atypical skillsets, and a drive for providing equal-opportunity mentorship.
As ideation Architect for the K-12 studio and focus on interiors, can you speak more about your process? How do you develop concepts? Where do you find inspiration?
I do my best to listen intently to the conversations with users and take good notes. I’ve learned to be patient in coming up with a concept, and not rush it. Have confidence in knowing that inspiration will come if you know what you’re waiting for. A strong concept becomes evident when you are not only convinced, but others around you are equally excited and start building on it.