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Meet Junior Designer Bianca McKelvy

bianca m

Bianca is one of three new Junior Designers. She joins us straight from the Portland Community College Architectural Design and Drafting program.

When did you know you wanted to be an architectural designer? Tell us how you got inspired to do this work.

When I was growing up my parent’s loved going to open houses on Sunday afternoons. They would throw us kids into the car and drag us to house after house. It became a traditional thing for us to do as a family. My siblings and I would always fight over who would have the bigger bedroom in each house we went to.

When my parents finally decided to just build a new house they involved me in a lot of the design decisions. I fell in love with the entire process and knew then that I wanted to design homes for a living.

Describe one of your favorite design projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?

Unfortunately, I haven’t been a part of any “real” design projects, but school has definitely provided me with some challenging design assignments. My favorite one was from my Space Planning studio. The challenge was to convert an existing two story garage into a home for a young newlywed couple. They had lots of different needs that all had to fit into the existing footprint of the small garage. In the end I was able to create a space that not only fit all of the different programming required but also had a nice open floor plan that I believe would have been a very comfortable space for my hypothetical couple.

Tell us what you consider the hallmarks of a well-designed project. How do you know when something is “right?”

I believe that a well-designed project should have an equal balance of several things. It should be a beautiful and functional space that meets and exceeds all of the client’s needs. Good design is not necessarily trendy, but instead it is timeless and made to last a life time. Finally a good design should keep sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. When you have a good balance of these things you are headed in the “right” direction.

What’s your working style? How do you like to work with a client?

I’ve always believed that communication is one of the key drivers to any successful project. So that means listening to everything that a client wants and needs, then combining that with my expertise for a healthy working relationship and a client that is happy with the entire process and the end result.

What are the top 3 things on your “bucket list?”

  1. One of these days I’d like to buy a ticket to a random country and have at least a week to explore a new culture.
  2. I have a lot of siblings, five brothers and one sister. We have never been in the same place at the same time so getting us all together for a trip to Disney would be a dream come true.
  3. I could keep going with this list but I think that running a full marathon in Paris, France would be amazing!

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