Women’s History Month offers EBP an opportunity to celebrate a few key players helping to bring the principles and practices of “exemplary building” to King County’s affordable housing sector. These women use their unique skills to bring together diverse teams and deliver the strong results that constantly move the needle towards a more equitable and sustainable future for their community. This community. Our community.
We posed the same set of intriguing questions to several of the women and women-led teams associated with EBP. We hope you’re as inspired by their stories and their leadership as we are.
How long and in what ways have you been involved with HDC’s Exemplary Buildings Program? What is it about EBP that resonates with you?
I’ve been directly involved in HDC’s Exemplary Buildings Program since 2020, with ancillary involvement in the program in 2019. I managed the architect team for an affordable housing project in North Beacon Hill.
That the program provides opportunities affordable housing projects to push the boundary of energy efficiency, resonates with me.
Why are your specific skills and unique traits necessary and important for this work? How do they come into play in balancing the goals of delivering “exemplary” housing while maintaining affordability?
The ability to internally challenge a team of architects is an important trait, while encouraging team members to do the same. The ability to brainstorm solutions and reach out to others for needed information is key. Embracing over-communication helped for us.
In addition, a willingness to weigh the conflicting concerns of team members is also important. Our team took the time to visit other projects with recently installed energy recovery ventilation systems and domestic hot water heat pump plants. We codified an incredible amount of information in a short time frame.
One of EBP’s defining traits is its collaborative model and team-based approach. Tell us a bit about how your team worked together to achieve exemplary building goals: what were the values, individually and collectively, that were most important to success?
As one example, our team negotiated the challenges of where to put out domestic hot water heat pump units. Through collaboration with the owner, architects, engineers and the contractor we were able to assess the pros and cons of each location and think about how the units would be maintained, acoustical impacts, efficient pipe lengths and the like. It was really a team effort. However, the client became concerned that we were taking too long.
To assure success, we made sure we listened to the client’s concerns, and fast-tracked the decision-making process. The time it takes to delve in to the best energy savings solutions, given new technologies, can be a challenge.
What leadership tool will you take forward from the extraordinary challenges of this past year?
Embrace change. There’s often a hidden advantage that isn’t immediately apparent.
What would you say to a younger woman who is considering entering the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry? What do you wish you had known prior to entering your profession?
Be willing to go beyond the norm. Be willing to look for the Achilles heel in any project, and look for ways to become ever more successful over time. Recognize that change occurs at a fast pace, and that it’s the ability to adapt to new ways of being an architect, over time, that matters.
Laurie is part of an incredible team from Weber Thompson working with EBP… read more of their stories here.