Theron’s passion for design stems from the design process and the appreciation of the unique aspects and opportunities each project inherently has. Theron became interested in design at a young age, recalling drawing a floorplan of his parents’ house growing up so party guests could easily navigate. As an architect, Theron values bringing a design from conception to completion, and the answer seeking involved in the process.
Read more about Theron’s passion for architecture and design.
Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?
As a kid, I was always interested in how things are designed and constructed. I would often play with Lincoln Logs and Legos, following the instructions the first go around and then tearing them apart to explore my own ideas.
In high school, I had an opportunity to take a drafting class, which affirmed my passion for design and led me to pursue a degree in Architecture. I attended a joint program through the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Kansas State University where I completed my master’s in architecture. While completing my degree I had the opportunity to study abroad at Santa Chiara, a school in Castiglion Fiorentino Italy. I enjoyed my time abroad and the school so much that I became a residence counselor post-graduation and helped in teaching other architecture students studying abroad.
Another opportunity I had while pursuing my degree was attending the Kansas City Design Center, an institution under the Kansas State umbrella that works directly with the municipality of Kansas City, MO and the local public entities to create a better city through design and urban planning. During my time there, I and the other participating students worked with local stakeholders to study an important area in Kansas City, ultimately developing a strategic framework laying the grounds for revitalization. That led me to develop my thesis on urban planning theory and take a great interest in how cities work and evolve.
Who or what have been the strongest influences in your career?
The strongest influences on my career would probably be three of my professors, Theodore H. Seligon, FAIA, Joy D. Swallow, FAIA, and Vladimir Krstic. These professors had a way of pushing and challenging students in a positive way, which helped me grow and expand my boundaries in architecture and design.
Not only did those professors shape the architect I am today, but they also inspired me to help develop the next generation of Architects. In 2019 I became a mentor for the Raleigh/Durham ACE Mentorship program, an after-school program that prioritizes workforce development for high school students by connecting them with experts from the architecture, construction, and engineering industry. Becoming a mentor for this organization has been extremely rewarding as I’ve been able to help students bridge skill gaps, watch them grow their interest in the AEC fields, and help guide them through the next steps in this career path.
What are you most passionate about?
Stemming from my childhood curiosity, I am passionate about the process of project development and uncovering solutions to problems that arise in the process. I still find it incredible that as architects we take an initial concept and transform it into a built project that has the ability to create positive impact. In the process of bringing a project to fruition, challenges and problems arise which we must solve and adapt to. I love knowing the solution is out there, you may not know what it is initially, but I enjoy the search to find it, and the gratification that comes with discovering the answer.
Can you describe a challenge that has shaped your work, and how you overcame it?
A challenge I’ve faced personally, that I believe also impacts the practice and profession of architecture, is being adaptable while learning to balance the trends and fads that come and go. As architects we design and build for people, which requires an understanding of how they live and move, and an acknowledgement that both can change over time. The caveat is when ideas are incorporated improperly, either because they are irrelevant or don’t apply, the design of a project can quickly become outdated and lack functionality, rendering it useless.
It is our job to overcome that challenge, amongst many others, and the bests means for that is through engaging our clients and end users in the process, to decipher what is truly important to the project. They are an instrumental part of the process and if we listen and learn enough, we can create a project that is both interesting and meets their needs. I firmly believe that constraints are really opportunities for ingenuity and creativity and the great projects are the ones that are able to be aesthetically beautiful, while being functional yet adaptable and versatile.
What do you do for fun in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family and seeking ways to get outside. My wife and I had a son this past year, which has made family time even more valuable to me. Outside of my family, I enjoy being out in nature, whether it’s through the lens of my camera, sailing on a boat, or hiking around state parks. I also love designing and building furniture and have built several pieces for our house. Needless to say, I keep myself pretty busy.