Joe Schollmeyer, LEED AP

What made you want to choose architecture as a career?

I’ve known I wanted to be an architect from a very early age. When I was a kid, I would find advertisements for ready-made house plans for sale in the newspaper, and I would cut them out and copy them, drafting away with a ruler and pencil, learning the language architectural drawing along the way. By high school, I was enthralled with drafting class, I loved geometry, and always had an aptitude for creative problem solving, as well as the humanities and the arts, all of which lead me down a clear path to architecture school, at the University of Oregon.

What was the pivotal moment in your career?

After a youth spent in small-town Oregon, my education exposed me to the great cities of the world ,and I longed to experience them. After graduation, I faced a choice, to take a job in Oregon, or jump in a car and head east for New York.  I chose the latter, armed only with my school portfolio, and I landed a job eventually.  The experience exposed me to a world of new ideas, and kicked off a decade of adventure, living and practicing in some amazing cities, like London, Boston, and Mumbai, before finally settling in the greatest city of all, San Francisco.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?

The people! Everyone here is so talented, friendly and down-to-earth. It’s a big enough office to take on any scale of project, and small enough so everyone knows each other, which creates a strong sense of family and chemistry among the staff and leadership.

How do you define great architecture?

I believe that making great architecture is the perfect harmonization of the disciplines of art, engineering, and sociology,  fueled by intrinsic values of humanism, ecology and efficiency, to create a kind of visceral delight and practical usefulness which anyone can experience and appreciate.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

I’m no “foodie” (unlike most San Franciscans) but I do have one restaurant obsession: Mission Chinese! Part social phenomenon and part magical, spicy alchemy. It started as a pop-up restaurant; a former gourmet-chef’s experiment in anti-pretentiousness and radical interpretations of traditional Szechuan, occupying the kitchen of an old Chinese dive on Mission street once a week.  It was so popular they eventually took the restaurant over completely, and hired all the staff. But to find it, you have to be in the know. There’s no sign out front, it still only bears the name of the old restaurant.

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