Spotlight On! is an #sbablog feature that gives readers a close-up look at SBA’s architects and designers.
Meet Derek. As a designer, architect (and occasional artist), Derek is driven by a collaborative process and innovative problem solving, which lead to strategic and thoughtful intentions. His exceptional design and visualization skills produce compelling spatial environments that produce memorable experiences. Responding to the specifics of each unique project rather than imposing a design style, he strives to find the overlap between space and place making.
Derek’s expertise ranges from complicated renovation projects to new construction with challenging programmatic requirements. Derek contributes over 20 years of design experience in architectural and interior design, space programming and planning, site design, and construction methodology to the firm. Derek works across a number of market sectors, and specifically specializes in academic and healthcare design. His work reflects his passion for teaching the next generation about architecture and design, from mentoring SBA interns, to being involved with local college architecture programs.
Office you work in: Enfield, Connecticut
Alma Mater: RPI
When did you know you wanted to be an architect?
It all started when, as a child, I was given an Etch-A-Sketch and a set of Legos to keep busy. These so-called toys led me through a childhood filled with sketchbooks, broken pencils and dried up makers. Architecture seemed like the right profession.
How do you approach the design process?
Design is an activity enhanced by the opportunity for dialogue, reflection, and experimentation. I believe design is an open-ended and evolving process that requires ideas to be continually assessed and reassess through an iterative process. I like to start somewhere in the middle.
Best vacation you ever took:
Just this year I went on a two week trip to Paris and Barcelona with my family. It was a fabulous mix of visiting historic and contemporary architectural sites. My kids especially enjoyed our visit to the Cementiri Nou a cemetery in Igualada, Spain by the architects Enric Miralles and Carme Pinós.
What charitable orgs are you involved with?
I’ve been involved with a few organizations that focused on teaching children. I’ve been a volunteer teacher in public schools with Learning By Design and taught elementary students about architecture and design. I’ve also been a “Citizen Teacher” through Citizen Schools and developed a hands-on, after-school program to teach inner city kids about architects and architecture.
Five items you can’t work without:
Open mind, time to reflect, someone to work with, mistakes to learn from and snacks.
Five Six items you can’t live without:
Family, friends, creativity, laughter, my iPhone, and something to draw with.