Bryan Almquist: Helping Architects with Archetris
Bryan Almquist is taking the term software architect to heart by launching his own architectural software start-up not too far from the watchful eyes of silicon valley. What is he designing? Archetris, a product that can actually help architects through the programming and design phases. Learn more about Bryan and his new endeavor after the jump.
Bryan moved to the Bay Area in 1988 to work and study with Christopher Alexander. He worked at Alexander’s Center for Environmental Structure building houses and furniture before entering grad school at the University of California Berkeley to study design theory (under Alexander) and structural engineering.
After finishing his MArch, he practiced architecture at Ratcliff Architects and HMC Architects (previously Beverly Prior Architects) for 5 years before moving to Interior Architects (IA) to half time as a project manager and half time as the firm’s ‘IT guy.’ However it did not work out that way. Between 1996 and 2011 He built and ran the IT department at IA.In the years practicing architecture and supporting architects’ IT needs, he never found a good piece of software to support the early design stages – programming & schematic design. He started Architris in 2011 to fill that void.
Little know fact – Bryan had an article published (co-author) in the Journal of Hand Survery about using lasers to repair nerves. JHS Vol. 9, Issue 6, pp. 792-796. November 1984.
The Quick Details
Name: Bryan Almquist
Location: Occidental, CA
Occupation: CEO, Archetris, Inc.
Degree(s): Bachelor of Science, University of Washington; Master of Architecture, University of California Berkeley
Personal Heros: Antonio Gaudi, Santiago Calatrava, Elon Musk, Jony Ive, David Kelley, Bret Victor, Richard Feynam
PofA: What first made you interested in architecture?
I got involved in architecture in undergraduate school. I was in the art department at the time, doing the prerequisite courses to study sculpture. I thought the drafting courses in the architecture department would be really helpful in visualizing potential sculptural shapes (this was the mid 80’s before any 3D modeling was available to the masses) but was told the drafting courses were only available to students in the program. No problem, I thought, I’ll just join the architecture department. I survived and even passed the introductory ‘hazing course’ required to get into the department and got hooked.
PofA: What do you do now?
I’m getting an architectural software start-up off the ground. I’m the founder, CEO & product manager at Archetris.
PofA: How do you apply your architecture background to your current job?
We’re developing software for the architecture, interior design & planning markets so my architecture background is directly relevant to the development of the product – both in terms of the functional requirements of the software and the user interface. Beyond that, and probably more importantly, my background in architecture and my architecture education taught me a way of thinking that led to the creation of Archetris. The company came about from the process of seeing a problem, learning about the problem & previous attempt at resolving it, developing & refining solutions to the problem – this is the root of the design process learned at architecture school.
PofA: What’s in store for the future of architecture education, the profession, and/or the building industry?
I think there’s a lot of promise for architecture education but not necessarily in creating more architects. Law schools have a reputation as being a great place to learn how to think like a lawyer, whether you want to practice law or not. Architecture schools, which may rebrand themselves as design schools, have the potential to be known as the place to go to learn problem solving with a process that’s both creative and analytical.