#HumphreysHeroes Questions with Emily Jones, Project Architect & Tim Morris, Project Manager HPA New Orleans
As the #1-ranked multifamily architecture firm in North America, Humphreys & Partners heavily relies on its talented team from around the world to create innovative, one-of-a-kind communities. Get to know Emily & Tim and see what makes them true icons of HPA culture.
- How did your journey into the architectural profession unfold, and what inspired your passion for this field?
- (Tim): My great grandfather was an architect and urban planner and I used to spend hours when I was a kid going through his hand drawings and models. My hometown also has a strong architectural community that offered a lot of opportunities to get involved with local firms and design competitions that I started participating in as early as elementary school. By the time I went to college I knew what I was getting myself into and coming to an architecturally significant city like New Orleans to study cemented me in.
- (Emily): For me, growing up in New Orleans surrounded by unique architecture is what originally sparked my interest. During high school, I worked with my dad to restore a early 1900s shotgun house that had flooded in Hurricane Katrina. I learned to appreciate things like the original wood windows, one of a kind trim detailing, and huge pocket doors with transoms. Working on that house led me to choose architecture as my major and I never looked back!
- With your dedicated work on the Estak prototype in Colorado Springs for Blackburn Communities, what aspects of the project excite you the most, and how do you envision it making a positive impact?
- (Tim): The Estak provides a very different concept of living than typical apartment buildings. It has the communal aspects of most apartment buildings but with a level of privacy from the independent entries that I think tenants will love. With most of the units being multilevel, allowing for more windows, I think there’s a spaciousness to the living areas that also set them apart from typical units in an urban setting.
- (Emily): The Estak is truly a unique product that I haven’t seen elsewhere. The units bring the best of both worlds. Tenants will have apartments that feel more like homes – with things like in-unit staircases, powder rooms, nooks for desks, and private entries – while still having the benefits of the amenities of a larger development.
- Can you share a memorable challenge you encountered during this project and how your collaborative efforts helped overcome it?
- (Tim): The biggest challenge in starting the Estak was definitely just wrapping our minds around exactly how the building is put together. Emily and I went back and forth just making sure we were on the same page with how the building stacked and that we were interpreting the codes correctly for this building. It’s a rewarding challenge to work on a new prototype and we wanted to be sure that afterwards we’d be able to explain the building to anyone who had questions.
- (Emily): Agreed, the Estak is such a different product from anything we had worked on and understanding how each component would work was challenging. One specific thing that comes to mind is the mechanical design of the two-story units. With the Estak units having a more narrow footprint, providing a mechanical closet on each floor of the unit or putting pancake units in the ceiling wasn’t desirable for the client. We ended up pulling inspiration from a project that Tim and I worked on together several years ago – Sawgrass Point – which had two-story townhome units with a mechanical closet on the lower floor and a chase that routes to the second floor. Having the shared experience of the previous project allowed us to bring a quick solution to the team.
- In your experience, what key lessons have you learned that aspiring architects or professionals entering the field could find valuable in achieving success and satisfaction in their careers?
- (Tim): Clear communication is always key, whether its with coworkers, clients, code officials, or contractors. This is a very challenging profession, but clear communication saves us from headaches and allows us to spend more time on the fun aspects of architecture.
- (Emily): Never stop learning. Architecture is an ever-changing industry, and multi-family in particular is always evolving due to housing trends and rising costs. Projects bring something new every day, from updated building codes, to jurisdictional challenges, to the changing needs of clients. That constant challenge to adapt is what makes each day interesting. I have been at Humphreys for almost nine years and still feel like I get to learn something new every day.