Aaron Swain was recently promoted to Associate at Weber Thompson. He is a Project Architect and frequently pens posts for the WT blog. In addition to the interview below, you can learn more about him by perusing some of the articles written by or about him here.
Aaron Swain, RA, Leed Green Associate / Associate, Project Architect
Did we mention he’s our resident Brewmaster?
How long have you worked at Weber Thompson and what is your favorite thing about working here?
Three and a half years. I’ve held many different jobs in my life and my credo has always been “you can do anything, as long as you enjoy the people you do it with.” The people at WT are the best.
What project(s) are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently finishing out the construction phase of Pike Motorworks—the Certificate of Occupancy is imminent! I’m also assisting with detailing for the mid-rise portion of the 425 Fairview project for Greystar. Additionally, I’m helping kick off a deep green boutique apartment project in the heart of Capitol Hill.
You were recently promoted! What does this mean to you?
It’s empowering to be acknowledged for the hard work and contributions I’ve put into my work these past three and a half years. It means a lot to have my superiors (and peers) recognize that my contributions are valuable and aligned with the firms goals as well.
We know you don’t work all the time. What do you do on a typical Saturday morning?
As an employee, I recover from the work week; as a parent and family man, I sip coffee with my better half and get our three-year old going with the day, the dog walked, maybe even get some laundry done! (Exciting, I know.)
Are you sure I don’t work all the time?
Where do you find inspiration?
Almost everywhere I look. At my core is a desire to understand the big picture of things and recognize opportunities for improvement; borrowing a technology, material, process or even value from another industry, culture, or even historic time seems an efficient resource to find solutions that have already been tested in some capacity. Everything we do can be re-thought and applied our designs, our process, our materials, etc.
Architecturally, I’ve observed these same skills and goals in the Danish and Scandinavian designers (Jorn Utzon, Arne Jacobsen, Hennig Larsen and of course Alvar Aalto), exemplifying holistic design and consciousness of design, scaling back and forth between building and furniture design, finding beauty in efficiencies of each: it’s all about form at its most minimal and efficient without sacrificing beauty and art.
Share a little about your background. What brought you to where you are today?
It’s been a long, non-conventional road…my “formative” years were spent in Madison, Wisconsin, where I developed my football allegiances, and learned the value of friendship and the people you surround yourself with. The windy, cold winters and humid, mosquito-ridden summers, though, encouraged my western migration and eventual settlement in Seattle (with some wonderful intermediate stops along the way) where I found a common respect for the forces of nature, and a desire for a more symbiotic relationship with the surrounding environment.
What is one of your current obsessions?
It’s well known; I’ll give you a clue…it starts with the letter B…AND there are at least two right answers! One is a beverage and the other has two wheels…
What is one of your hobbies that not many people know about?
I’m a bit of an open book; one of my dormant hobbies I’d like to get back to is writing—wordsmithing and composition is a subtle art mostly lost (or at least under-valued) in our internet age of digital media and instantaneous information.
What are you looking forward to both personally and professionally in the coming year?
Personally, I’m looking forward to getting my son on a bicycle and having him help with one of numerous home (renovation) projects in the works. Optimistic, right?
Professionally, I’m looking forward to my continued growth at WT, both in terms of experience and responsibility. This promotion is only the beginning…