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A designer and architect reflects on his profession and how he stays inspired.
Geoffrey Tears of Mohle Design talks to us about his five-person Houston, Texas firm, which focuses on coporate interiors, residential and industrial architecture and renovation.
When I was younger, I was kind of a tinkerer. I loved putting things together and taking things apart. And I was always into crafting and stuff like that. In high school, I started looking into architecture or engineering as a possibility. I had pretty good math and science skills, and I was also heavily into the arts — so, I saw architecture as a way to bring all those interests together.
It wasn’t until I got into school for architecture that it really dawned on me that design could really make a difference. Being from Tennessee I have a lot of different influences in dealing with not only poverty and with agriculture, but a little bit of everything, including commercialism. Once I started looking beyond what I had always known, I started looking into more international pieces of art as well as design, architecture, and the different subjects in how those designs work for people.
I’m really into the parametric designs as well as this new concept of agriculture and architecture meeting; buildings that not only produce food and produce, but that also work with the urban environment. With this new wave of design focused on how agriculture is working, especially if I can tie in certain things like parametric design and using data to drive design as well as input from clients and input from the environment that I’m designing in, it gives you a really great opportunity to work towards a greater tomorrow and starting small.
How old were you when you first thought about a career in design or architecture?
"I was 15 or 16…. I’ve always had an interest in buildings and art."
What person most inspires you?
"My mother, Vickie Harris, is my biggest influence and source of inspiration. If it weren’t for her I would not have the same outlook on life and career."
When I’m not designing buildings, you can find me ____.
"Typically you can find me sketching, designing other things, or riding my fixed gear bike around, simply exploring my area."
What do you like best about the work you do, and how does BIM help with that?
Coming from an art school— I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design—they always told you to think outside the box: to look beyond what was given and translate it into something that is your own. And I think that’s one of the things I appreciate most about design and architecture in general: you can design to the spec of what everyone else is doing, or you can take things in a completely new and original direction. You’re not locked into one way of doing things. Because of that freedom, you need to be able to quickly and easily convey what’s going on in your head, either to the client or to your colleagues —and I think that’s where BIM helps out.
What project are you most proud of?
Ultimately, the pride I have is for the job itself: working in a city like Houston, being able to lead a firm into this whole new world of BIM, and being looked upon to design things. That’s where the pride comes from — not necessarily from one single project.
How do you stay inspired and keep your creative juices flowing?
I grew up in a nursing home, so care has always been in the back of my mind. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that a lot of my background led into how I think through design and how I work through the process of design and architecture.
I’m also inspired by experimentation — finding something new to do, or a new way of doing things — is one of my most inspirational ideals. Never stagnate — always move forward.Also, seeing pictures of what other people have done is always inspiring. I constantly have ArchDaily or Architizer running in the background on my computer, just to see different things.
Have you won work because of your use of BIM?
I’ve only been here for about a year now, but comparing last summer to this summer, it seems like we have more opportunities. If people come to us and ask, “What do you think this project is going to look like?” or “How might this work?” we can do a quick rendering or a quick 3D model to show them what we’re thinking. That’s really helped us to catch the eye of some of the people here in Houston.
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