Nate Boyd, Class of ’13, Designs New Perspectives in Seattle
For Nathan Boyd, the intellectual and conceptual rigor at the curricular heart of the School of Architecture & Community Design was just the start of his passion for architecture. Since earning a Master of Architecture degree in 2013, Nathan has relentlessly pursued this passion, working to transform his design ideas into physical forms.
Today he works at Olson Kundig, an architecture firm based in Seattle, where he started as an intern five years ago and has since had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects. "My experience spans projects ranging from residential towers, distilleries, and commercial tenant improvements, to landmark renovations, art installations, museums, and of course, houses," Nathan explained.
His roles in each of these projects have also developed over time: As an intern he provided support to a larger team through concept packages and graphics, and now in the position of Project Architect/Manager, he produces drawing sets, coordinates consultants, and manages construction administration.
Nathan is currently working on three active projects at the firm: a private residence in California currently under construction, another California residence wrapping up design development, and a condominium renovation located in Seattle that is just getting started. "Additionally, I have some pending projects, including a mixed-use project in Idaho; a restaurant in Yakima, Washington; and a ski resort in Austria," he said.
Olson Kundig offers a number of cultural opportunities through which Nathan enhances and hones his architectural acumen. These include all-office critiques, a mentor program, in-house design competitions, community outreach and training presentations. He was recently awarded an office travel fellowship by the firm and spent two weeks in Japan researching "Emptiness in Japanese Architecture." Nathan will present the findings of his research to the entire office to contribute to the overall design dialogue within the company.
Finding inspiration and opportunity in the urban context of Seattle and the surrounding Pacific Northwest landscape of mountains and water, Nathan wants to preserve and learn from this unique relationship. He believes that the community challenges resulting from Seattle's explosive growth, such as housing, cost of living and transportation, are issues architects can help overcome.
"Olson Kundig projects draw on this relationship to nature and context, beginning 50 years ago with founding partner Jim Olson's cabin at Longbranch. Often, the projects are situated in remote natural landscapes and rely on careful responses to siting and views, but our firm's increased global presence has allowed us to expand our dialogue to address urban-specific challenges with a similar sensitivity to context," he explained.
Committed to the field of architecture, Nathan continues his education as rigorously as the time he studied at USF. He explained, "The objectives may be different (licensure, additional construction experience, understanding those wordy contracts, simplifying a detail) but the goal is quite similar: the reality of practice made manifest."