Your name: James Worker
What do you do at Iconica: I am a member of the architectural team, often working on preliminary and conceptual design, crafting conversation starters that help us identify the real needs and desires of the client.
How long have you worked here: Nearly two years. I recently passed my final exam and am now a licensed architect!
What do you love about your job?
I love the variety of projects and problems that I’m able to tackle as part of the design team. There’s often a multitude of ways to approach a solution, but being able to get input directly from our engineers, estimators and field staff lets us evaluate options quickly and cohesively.
What led you to the design field?
I grew up in a family of engineers and always thought that’s what I would do eventually. At some point in high school, I decided I wanted to do more than make sure a building would stand up – I wanted to influence its appearance and how a user experiences it. During that time, my hometown built a new hockey arena. It opened my eyes to see the possibilities, and that it doesn’t need to be a dull metal barn. It has a fantastic copper roof and marble floors in the bathroom. It’s called ‘Ralph Engelstad Arena’ in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.
What is most exciting about your job?
Seeing projects go from initial sketches to polished renderings to ultimately being built and occupied.
What are some of your favorite projects you have worked on?
Cherokee Adventure Park, North Carolina- it’s a project that features anything and everything to get your adrenaline going in a safe environment. It has not been built yet; stay tuned!
I am also working on some upcoming projects for some larger office buildings both in Old Sauk Trails Park and in downtown Madison. I like to have the opportunity to get in early in the design phase and the prospect of seeing it all the way through to completion. With housing and office design I find it can be very rewarding to work on the design and see what environmental effects design can have.
Favorite song to sing in the car? I’m more of a car dancer.
What would you build for a million dollars? A tiny house commune on a beautiful location by a lake.
How do you work with other departments at Iconica?
I love the responsiveness. It’s hard to be ignored when I am across the hall vs. having to email or call.
I’d love to take an epic road trip connecting the National Parks in the western U.S.
How do you stay on top of architecture trends?
My wife and I love to travel. In the last five years, we have visited Chile, Japan, and several countries in Europe. I love visiting a variety of buildings, anything from historical world heritage sites to modern buildings, museums, and offices.
If you weren’t in the design field, what would you be doing?
I would be a ski instructor in Montana.
Favorite snack food? Clementines
Favorite cereal? Fruity Pebbles
Are you a morning or night person?
I am a morning person. In school, I had to pull a number of all-nighters, but I always preferred to think of it as just getting up extra early.
Do you have a design idol or two?
Alvar Alto and Olson Kundig; I really appreciate their design for the human scale and material palette they tend to use.