Studio Sessions Vol.8

Nick Wiley

est. March 2012

Nick Wiley – the bearded Texan.  Where to begin…

Nick was the very first person hired at i/A after the company was founded.  His wit, kind eyes, and home-grown face scarf have been an essential part of our operation from the beginning.  And while his temperament is not typically as large as the 10-gallon hat he (unfortunately) doesn’t wear, his creativity is as big and powerful as his native land.

A true creative, Nick has spent the last six years honing and refining his craft, always improving, always pushing the bounds of what our firm is capable of creating.  Without him, we’d be less bearded, less Texas, and all around less fun.  Thanks for bringing your Lone Star ways to the team Nick…

Describe in a few sentences your role at i/A.
I draw things, I talk to others about how to make things, I adjust things then repeat ad infinitum.  Eventually, we have drawings for making things.

As an architect, what exciting industry trends do you see?
I think the future of architecture will take advantage of new forms of visualization, such as virtual or augmented reality to do client walk-throughs of a building before it is built.  Another trend that I find compelling is our increasing ability to 3-D print anything, this technology has the potential to change everything about how we build.

What has impressed you most about working at i/A?
The People

Describe an I/A project you have recently worked on.  What kind of challenges had to be solved and what was interesting about it? 
My favorite project I have worked on was one of the smallest this office has done:  A small kitchen addition to a historic home here in Lexington.  This project represented some major challenges and opportunities.  Due to the age of the existing house (early nineteenth century), I had to become acquainted with older methods of construction and understand how to touch the existing structure gently with the new addition.  The existing construction needed a little help here and there to shore up the foundations and walls as well.  The house and outbuildings informed the kitchen addition by drawing inspiration from the solid aesthetic foundation rooted in an understated federal design with great proportions.  The final design created a harmony between old and new, with open warm spaces that communicate with each other through views and a shared architectural language of form.

What’s some insider knowledge that only architects have?
Reality is a construct assembled in our own minds, a sort of collective hallucination.
(Editor’s Note:….dude………DUDE.)

What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally? 
Professionally – Proportion and functional design.  Personally – History and attempting to understand the human condition.

Tell us three things that most people do not know about you? 

  1. I like to cook
  2. I am growing a second row of teeth, like a shark.
  3. I was not born with a beard. (Editor’s Note: Well this is just a lie.)

Where did you grow up?
Alvin, TX

Where did you go to school/college? 
The University of Texas at Austin

What inspired you to pursue a career in architecture? Is there a specific event in your youth that contributed to this pursuit?
Legos and my parent’s resale shop.  I don’t think the Legos part needs much explanation, hours and hours of building things, preferably with no instructions – it’s more fun that way.  My parents were always busy building or repairing something and by default, so was I.  As a kid, this all seemed like work, but in retrospect, I really did learn a lot.

If you could instantly know a skill what would it be?
To read Linear A and the Indus Script.

Do you have any hobbies or interests?
(Editor’s Note: Please keep answers brief and to the point, nobody wants to read these long-winded responses.)

If you had the chance to visit any building/monument in the world, all expenses paid, what would it be and why?
Can I go back in time?  If so, I would love to go back to see ancient Rome or Persia at its peak.  Nothing could be more fascinating than seeing an entirely different way of life that is lost to us.  These two cultures presided over two of the largest empires the world has ever seen.  How did they manage this 2800 – 2000 years ago? What technologies did they employ? I’m sure we would all be surprised by the richness and ingenuity of the human mind.

If you had the chance to be part of the design team for any building/monument in the world, time and history not being a factor, what would it be and why?
If I could time travel back in time I would have other priorities than to lend my help to incredibly skilled masons.  Great structures and buildings of the past are formed from their time and place, I would not want to gum that up with my future person’s perspective.  Instead, I would want to see how different cultures of the past lived everyday life.

Do you volunteer? If so, what is the cause and what about it makes you want to volunteer for it?
Yes – I have volunteered, and I hope to pick up another Habitat build day in the spring.  Habitat for Humanity does great things and really helps people get on their feet.

What is the most interesting thing on your desk at this moment?
Horney Moses

Do you have any nicknames?
None I care to share.

What kind of shows do you like? Anything you have listened to or watched recently?
Currently, I am reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  Generally, I am interested in anything about ancient history and I like some Science Fiction, books are usually better but there are some great movies, such as 2001 and Blade Runner (1982) and shows like Westworld and the remake of Battlestar Galactica.