Meet Junior Designer Tara Keefner
Tara is one of three new Junior Designers, she joins us from Portland Community College’s Residential Architectural Design and Drafting program. With an Associate’s Degree of General Studies, she is finishing her Associate’s Degree of Applied Science, as well as a one-year NKBA-accredited Kitchen and Bath Design Certificate. Prior to Arciform, Tara primarily worked in retail and customer service. Most recently, she was able to gain some experience in the field through a local design start-up at which she worked as a freelance drafter. Her primary duties were Revit drafting and office management, and regularly worked through design issues and complications with the owner. Their primary concentration was a residential development in Sweet Home, but also had several remodel projects coming in.
When did you know you wanted to be an architectural designer? Tell us how you got inspired to do this work.
I have had an interest in architecture since childhood. I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Europe during my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school, as my father worked for a German-based company at the time. During those years, I was fully immersed in – and enamored with – the rich culture and history of the villages and cities that I visited throughout Europe.
It was through this experience that my love of architecture was born. Upon returning to the States, however, I was pulled away from this passion for various reasons. It took five years and a cross-country move for me to rediscover my passion for architecture and design. It was then that I began attending classes at PCC, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Describe one of your favorite design projects. What were the challenges? What were some of the features that made it memorable?
I have not yet had the opportunity to work on a built project. However, one of my favorite design experiences through school was the Residential Design Studio. This studio was the first opportunity to create an entire project from its inception all the way through to a Construction Document set. It was my first exposure to what the process is like from start to finish, and resulted in a portfolio piece of which I am quite proud.
Tell us what you consider the hallmarks of a well-designed project. How do you know when something is “right?”
I am very passionate about blending form and function. I value efficiency in design very highly, so for me a project doesn’t feel quite “right” if there are redundancies or unnecessary elements present. I tend to design functionality first, and then add decorative and finishing elements once I am sure that the design works at its most basic level. This has caused me a lot of headaches, but has also forced me to really think about what I want my design to accomplish before spending too much time on something that may not work.
What’s your working style? How do you like to work with a client?
I tend to be a bit of a loner, however I greatly appreciate and value having a team of people I can approach with questions or issues when they do arise. My position with Arciform is my first opportunity to really work in a team atmosphere and with real projects, so I have not yet had the opportunity to determine my way of working with a client. I’m looking forward to figuring that out as I grow here.
What are the top 3 things on your “bucket list?”
In no particular order:
Travel the world. I have wanted to return to Europe since the moment I left, and there is so much more I want to see.
Design and build my dream home. Preferably multiple homes, actually; one in the city, one in the countryside, one on the beach.
Go skydiving/base jumping/bungee jumping at least once. I’ve just always wanted to experience something like that.