The Hord Coplan Macht Cool Box is a place to get to know some of the people and personalities who are delivering great ideas and leading work for our clients. In the Cool Box today: 16-year HCM veteran Om Khurjekar, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Associate, Landscape Architect.
When did you know you wanted to become an architect/ landscape architect?
Ever since I was eight years old, I was inspired by the scale model of our house that was built by my uncle, who is an artist. All I dreamt was, I wanted to be able to create that when I grew up.
“If I couldn’t be an architect I’d probably be…”
I would be a Fashion designer, a chef or photographer.
Do you approach new projects differently now than say, five years ago?
The basic approach to solving a design problem will be always be the same; however issues are different today and are constantly evolving, so refinement and adjustments are needed accordingly. Experience from past projects definitely leads to constant evolution of the approach.
Tell us about one of your favorite projects from the last few years.
There are quite a few. However, West Shore Park (Baltimore) is definitely a highlight of my career in terms of learning, growth, and maturity. Its significance, complexity, collaboration between multiple designers and stakeholders, demanding schedule, attention to detail and need for perfection made it a challenging process. I very fondly refer to it a second Master’s degree in 18 months.
What is your design philosophy? Can you distill your design philosophy into one sentence?
Keep it simple, minimal, human scale, rich in material and details.
What’s the first thing you want to know about a new client or their project?
Their horoscope! Just kidding — their personality, understanding of design and most importantly their goal for the project.
What do you do to engage client stakeholders and help them feel that their voice is heard?
Listen, listen, listen.
Is collaboration important? Overrated?
Collaboration is very important, especially due to the fact that projects have become complicated; large teams, complexity of issues, and the need for experts to be part of some projects require close collaboration. No, it is not overrated; however the word ‘collaboration’ is used without intention sometimes and there is a lack of follow-through.
What aspect of Hord Coplan Macht’s approach to projects do you see really making a difference for clients?
Consensus building with our clients and team = collaboration and attention to detail. It’s a tough thing to balance all of it, however we seem to do it pretty well here!
In your opinion what is one of the most exciting trends in architecture right now?
Modernism remixed! Sustainable Modernist Architecture is my term for it.