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: Lauren Ulhig, an Architect in our Baltimore office’s Healthcare studio. 

What aspect of architecture drew you to the profession in particular?

Designing in 3D. I have never been much of a two-dimensional artist but sculpting space is my jam.

Did you have any reservations when deciding to become an architect / landscape architect / interior designer? What were they – or if you didn’t, why not?

I’m sure I did but none stick out. It’s easy to doubt your abilities along the way but I always knew I was doing something I enjoyed.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A jockey. I loved horses and being short I thought it would be the perfect career!

What parts of your personal life have influenced your work as an architect? Vice versa?

My dad works in process improvement at a small hospital & that really introduced me to the world of healthcare design & my dad’s passion for his job influenced what kind of projects I wanted to work on.

Describe your “dream” project. 

I don’t have a “dream” project. Not all projects get to be “dream” projects but I believe every project I touch can be a good project – no matter how small.

How are you different as an architect / landscape architect / interior designer now than you were when you first started out in the field?

I know so much more! Especially medical terms.

If you weren’t in your current Studio, which other one would you be in?

Education – I think the broad impact their projects can have (students, teachers, staff, community) would be very rewarding.

When you describe where you work to friends and family, what do you say?

I say that I enjoy coming to work every day.

What’s the #1 myth out there about being an architect / landscape architect / interior designer?

That it’s all big picture and concept sketches. The best projects are made in the fine details.

What’s your favorite thing about your career?

Every day is different! One day I’m working on a minor bathroom renovation, the next day a new patient tower, the next day I’m shadowing a cardiovascular surgeon while he operates before we start a project. I’ve never had the same day at work twice.

What’s the most important quality in the client-architect relationship and what do you do personally to ensure you have that with your clients?

Trust. It’s important for our clients to feel like we are protecting their interests & that we are confident in the project we are creating together.

What’s the key to establishing rapport with your clients?

Sharing a bit of yourself and asking questions. People love to talk about themselves, their work, etc.

What’s the first question you ask a client when starting a project?

“What are your goals,” and “Let’s define how we will know those goals have been accomplished.”

What’s the first question clients usually ask you when starting a project?

When can we get this done? Everyone is in a hurry – it keeps every day interesting.

What’s one trend you wish had never come about and why?

Highly reflective glass. I get the appeal but it’s not for me.

Name a trend you don’t think is going away anytime soon and why.

Joanna Gaines’ style – she is a master of trendsetting. Whatever she says, goes now.

What’s something you don’t feel you can learn in school and that you have to be in the field to understand?

Constructibilty & details – it’s all fun & games in school if your building leaks but not in the field.

What makes HCM stand out in the industry?

Our passion, breadth of knowledge, & commitment to our communities.

Are robots going to replace architects / landscape architects / interior designers one day?

No way! Design is so innately human in the way it reacts and responds to environmental & human inputs. The best designs show empathy and understanding for the human condition and that can’t be dissected into a computer code.

If you had a personal motto, what would it be?

“It’s fine, it’s fine, really it’s fine.”

What’s one surprising fact about you that most people don’t know?

  • I am obsessed with growing flowers in my yard. Currently, my collection is topping 50 different varieties.
  • I also have double jointed fingers.
  • I have a degree in Economics in addition to architecture.

What’s a book you read that changed your life?

The Count of Monte Christo by Alexander Dumas

What are you currently binging on Netflix or what’s next in the queue?

Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up – how is that woman so effortlessly positive and soothing all the time??

Who or what is your “spirit animal”?

Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development

What’s your go-to afternoon snack/drink?

Coffee, cucumbers, or coconut yogurt.

What was your first job?

Working at a Civil War wax museum gift shop. I was so scared of the exhibits that I would SPRINT through them as fast as possible while closing to make sure no one was still in there. It still scares me.