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: Heather Morehead, Higher Education Studio.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a zoologist, but soon realized I was not very good with the Chemistry side of Science. I did however enjoy art classes and drafting classes.
What aspect of architecture drew you to the profession in particular?
I enjoy the big picture design but love the detail portion of architecture – taking that big picture and making it look amazing in drawing.
How are you different as an architect now than you were when you first started out in the field?
I’m a little more confident now than when I first started. I make more decisions without having to run to a project manager or principal for help. I know more about how buildings come together after being on-site and watching the whole process. I’ve also learned how to better manage my time so I’m not having to pull any more all-nighters like I did as a student.
If you weren’t in your current Studio, which other one would you be in?
I’ve considered K-12 but I’ve enjoyed the different types of projects and clients in Higher Ed. There is a broad range of projects in the Higher Ed Studio that I’ve enjoyed working on and started to consider specializing in.
What’s the #1 myth out there about being an architect?
It’s not all math. Most people that I talk to about the profession think that you have to be good at math to become an architect. Once you complete school and the structural courses, that’s really all the math that you use.
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?
I like to be transparent as much as possible so that the client trusts me.
What’s the key to establishing rapport with your clients?
I like to make sure I’m always available and respond to their emails and phone calls promptly. I always want to be the person that the client feels they can always get a response from.
What’s something you don’t feel you can learn in school and that you have to be in the field to understand?
Understanding the other engineering portions of design. In school, you get the basics, but once you start reviewing engineers’ drawings and actually see it on-site, you start to understand what certain elements are and what they do.
What makes HCM stand out in the industry?
I think it’s the office culture and community outreach. They strive to make employees enjoy coming to work every day and being proud of the office they work at.
Are robots going to replace architects one day?
Possibly. It’s amazing how much computers have changed how people design and produce. I would think it would start small with single family houses. Larger projects with more stakeholders may be a little harder.
What’s one surprising fact about you that most people don’t know?
I have a 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon. We re-painted the body, swapped out the original engine with a Subaru, and completed a whole interior upgrade. The van is used for camping and traveling with my fiancée and 2 dogs.
Who or what is your “spirit animal”?
Buffalo, they are beautiful and wise animals.