Brandy Koch, AIA, is an Architect with InterActive Design in Chicago.
Recently, BE sat down to talk to Brandy about her career.
Builidng Envelope: How many years do you have in the profession?
Koch: 17 years.
Building Envelope: What is your work history in this field?
Koch: I have been involved with projects from schematic design and construction documents all the way to being full-time on construction sites for several years. I have been fortunate to work on a wide variety of projects from medical office facilities, schools, airports, museums, theaters, planetariums, zoos, etc. I think the only projects I haven’t worked on yet is residential and hospitals.
Building Envelope: Where did you go to school?
Koch: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Building Envelope: Did you have a specialization?
Koch: I focus on the details and bringing the project together, no matter the type of project.
Building Envelope: Do you approach architecture from an artistic or functional starting point? Are the two concepts exclusive?
Koch: I approach it from a functional point first. I love working with designers that push the envelope of what has been done before because they push me to explore new ways to make the building work, and to find new ways to solve problems.
Building Envelope: If any, who are your role models?
Koch: My mom is my biggest role model. I got my drive to succeed and to keep setting and exceeding my goals, from her. She also taught me to treat others how I want to be treated and in turn, how I can make a difference.
Building Envelope: What projects, other than your own work, do you find inspiring?
Koch: I’m always inspired by the projects that make a huge impact in a community with such little effort, resources, budget, etc.
Building Envelope: How many buildings have you designed?
Building Envelope: If you had to choose one to represent your work, what project would you choose?
Koch: Illinois Medical Center.
Building Envelope: What are your guiding principles when designing a structure?
Koch: I like to bring the entire team on board from the beginning. Everyone should be involved in part of the communication and design process. Design cannot happen in a vacuum, and I never want to hear an engineer say that they were brought on too late or that something was designed or changed without them knowing about it.
Building Envelope: What types of products interest you?
Koch: I’m interested in seeing how products can be used for different purposes. Some of them are salvaged and just modified, some of them are new products but turned into part of a light fixture or a new type of wall panel.
Building Envelope: What types of products in the wall and ceiling industry really interest you?
Koch: I have used Decoustics ceilings on a few projects now and have loved the way the ceiling looks when it’s all done. There is a lot more involved with using that product than a typical ceiling system, but when it’s possible, it really makes a statement. I also would love to use the 3D wall panels. I have seen several locations with them and hope to have a project that would allow me to use some of those panels.