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Brian Vanne on Navigating the Dynamic Landscape of Architecture and Design

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with BRP architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that architecture and design can have on our communities and the collective human experiences. Today, we sat down with Brian Vanne to explore his journey in the architecture industry. Discover how his passion for math, art, and woodshop classes ignited his path toward becoming a licensed architect. Join us as we uncover the formative experiences that shaped Brian's trajectory in the field of architecture.

1. What motivated you to pursue a career in architecture? Were there any specific influences or experiences that led you down this path?

I had a really tough time deciding on a career path when I was younger -- I was both very math/science/tech focused and had a passion for art, drawing, and sculpture. It wasn't until I started taking woodshop classes in high school and doing drafting/participating in carpentry projects that I found something that touched both of those interests -- without that, I feel like I'd be doing infographics or science communication instead.

2. If you could impart any piece of advice to individuals beginning their design careers, what would it be?

For those beginning their design career two things come to mind. First, it's to figure out the scope of the work you're going to be doing and be organized -- ask coworkers what different ramifications they may run into based on some decisions that they're making, peek at their desks/screens to see what they're working on, and set a plan to both organize that type of information and come back to it when the design process gets less "foggy." Second, it's to get involved with all the parts of the process -- the more you know, the more questions you'll ask, and the less surprises will happen down the line (though they will always happen!).

3. How do diverse backgrounds and experiences make BRP a better architecture firm?

Due to the nature of the projects what we do, which can vary a lot based on typology, location, and whether it's a new-build or renovation, coming to the table with diverse perspectives makes it much more likely that we start off in the correct trajectory and can really lead our teams to do good work. The ability to freely discuss projects with each other and have everybody chime in means it's much harder to get stuck in a design or technical problem, and it even opens up new solutions that an individual may not have thought about as well.

4. How has your work mindset shifted as you've advanced in your career?

I think the biggest thing that's changed in my mindset since I've advanced in my architecture career is the ability to discern when you need to trust and rely on those on your team. Whether it's somebody in the office, a consultant, or just somebody that has much more specialized knowledge, it's become much more common for me to just ask questions to those who know more than me, rather than trying to struggle to research and learn everything on my own. If you ask the right questions, you eventually get to know the material through osmosis.

5. What are you most excited for when it comes to the future of architecture and design?

The field is always changing, so there are always a lot of things to be excited (and worried) about. While new technology is always coming in, whether it is modeling software, AI, or other integrations, I think the larger societal changes are more interesting. I think we are slowly moving away from a disposable style of architectural development, and we're starting to see a lot of people trying to get more life and value out of existing buildings and areas. Whether this is purely renovation or just smarter growth and phasing, I think aspects of having environmentally sustainable planning, longer-term community buildin, and rising real-estate costs is starting to meet up economically for many it increases how much clients, communities, and the public invest into good archtiecture.


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