Josh Gilpin

est. August 2021

We’re back at it with another Studio Session featuring Josh Gilpin, our visionary of detailed design! We love Josh’s passion for design, kind spirit, patience and persistence. We’re lucky to have him on our team and are excited to share more about him in our 14th issue of the Studio Session series!

Where are you from and how did you land in architecture?
I was raised in London, Kentucky, in a family-owned construction company with four other brothers.  I’ve loved those construction sites from a young age and, as a kindergartner, I really enjoyed drawing. When I started becoming more interested in design around 7th grade, it was apparent that architecture would be a natural and rewarding path.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I either wanted to be an astronaut or a garbage man – really any kind of explorer was gonna do – or a special effects film artist.

Where and when did you go to school / college?
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the University of Kentucky in 2007. I started graduate school at UCLA and completed my Master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Kentucky in 2012.

Describe in a few sentences your role at iA.
I am a Project Architect.

What trends in the architectural industry is currently sparking your interest?
My passion is thinking through issues critically and finding creative opportunities to fix real problems while setting the stage to enrich our experiences and memories. I want that to stem less from trends and more from thorough questions and an attention to context. Discussions that interest me are:
– Policy issues.
– Material & technological innovations.
– Environmental, & economic pressures.
– Social health.
– Coupled values – any creative way to piggy back more value into one project. 1000 yrs ago city infrastructures had multiple functions.  City walls hosted apartments, and little roads around the top, a place to watch the sun rise, all enriching the city in addition to the defensive purpose.  Today, we are lucky to get a singular function in place, and when it we do it usually ignores its context & creates a “wrong side of the tracks” affect.  Public + private partnerships can change that.  A visionary RFP can incentivize a private investor to add the value that would have been an insurmountable burden to a bureaucracy.  Re-use and Mixed-use is sustainable, but we have to learn to rewrite our policies & RFPs to both get out of the way & preserve an enduring standard of quality. 

Describe an i/A project you have recently worked on. Regarding the project, what kind of challenges had to be solved and what was interesting about it?
Piramal Pharma. This was a fast-paced proposal that coordinated a full team of architects, engineers, builders, investors, and brokers on a high risk, high reward project. Fluid communication among this team allowed us to develop a more precise proposal that supported the vision and goals of the client all for a competitive market rate.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?
1. I have 4 sons & also 4 brothers. No sisters. No daughters (so far).
2. As a kid I used to bum mortician’s wax from the funeral home so I could do special effects monster makeup.
3. I only had one slam dunk in a high school basketball game. We are pretty sure the goal was not quite 10ft, but it’s in the record book!

If you had the opportunity to design any building or product with unlimited funds and resources what would it be?
I would focus on “centers” – civic centers, rec centers, student centers, transit centers, stadiums churches, museums, courthouses, etc… Blending landform and building, open space and shelter. Built from favorite materials:
– Terra Cotta facades
– ETFE foil roofs
– Thin brick facades like the British
– Acoustical Perforated Gyp
– MgO board
– CLT structure
– Expressive Structural systems like the Germans – Castellated beams, double columns, etc…
– Integrated ceiling systems – like the Japanese
– Aerated Autoclaved Concrete blocks
– Industrial Felt
– Foamed aluminum

What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?
Professionally, I believe do it well, or just don’t do it. Virtue is higher than talent. Character outlasts veneer. Personally, I am passionate about the faithfulness of Christ and his love for my community.

What are some of your professional goals?
I would love to build all of the centers I mentioned above in my hometown.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like anything outdoors: baseball, fishing, camping, disc golf, hike, etc. I also like exploring new foods.

Do you volunteer? 
I volunteer on the Board of Architectural Review to serve the city I love. I’m a tee ball coach to spend time with my kids (every parent should do this at some point!). I volunteer as a small group leader with my church to help others know/love God, and then know/love each other. I also serve as a summer camp maintenance director.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My son had a hard week last week.  We talked with him. Encouraged him to adjust his attitude, make it right on his part, and then stick with it no matter what. He trusted us and he’s back in the saddle even better than before.  I’ll take those little wins over any degree, license, or rank.