Architecture is a blend of art and science that involves the design or renovation of buildings and other structures, and according to Ryan Thewes, it’s still a topic of discussion. “I am an architect and consider myself an artist,” says Thewes. “I do not think that the majority of architects see themselves in this way or practice that way, but I have aligned myself with architects that do.”
Having worked for two different architects that apprenticed with the infamously prolific Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as one of the top creative architects in the world, Thewes now operates his own design practice in Nashville, Tennessee since 2006.
Thewes gains inspiration from Wright’s bold use of geometry and respect for nature – a philosophy referred to as ‘organic architecture.’ It’s an approach that he has used in designing some of his latest projects, including an energy-efficient medical office building under construction in middle Tennessee and a handful of “very creative cabins” anticipated to break ground this summer.
When Thewes first moved to Nashville, it was at the start of the recession, and says he knew it would be difficult to get his foot in the door. So, he decided to design and build for himself. “It was very exciting and rewarding to see it [his Elkins Studio] go from paper to reality,” says Thewes. “Since it was for myself, and I didn’t have much if any work, I had to squeeze every bit of building I could get with what little money I had available.”
Thewes’ hard work on his studio paid off – winning awards and being featured by INC. Magazine as one of the coolest offices in the world. “There is no better education for an architect than that,” he adds. “Seeing how the lines you draw actually translate to real world forms gives you a good perspective on what you are doing and how to draw things that actually work.”
The accomplished architect has also been featured in several other publications, including Men’s Health Magazine for designing one of the “25 Manliest Homes in America : Slide 8″ – he incorporated a 16-foot-wide see-through garage door as part of a permanent living space.
In his pre-college days, Thewes fine-tuned his drawing skills by taking private painting lessons from local artists, and later studied free hand sketching and drawing in college as a way to sharpen his technique. His art background still comes in handy for certain projects. He says he sometimes uses his sketching skills to illustrate portions of a building that a client is having difficulty understanding.
Ryan offers the following advice to aspiring architects: “I think the best advice I can offer is self-awareness… I took it upon myself to seek out an architect to work for who would mentor me and give me the education I felt I needed to be a successful architect. Most students, upon graduation, feel they are ready to get out and jump into work immediately. There is still a lot of growing that needs to take place to develop the skills needed to be a good architect.”
Ryan can be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RyanThewesArchitect), Twitter via @ThewesArchitect – (https://twitter.com/ThewesArchitect), and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/104007382476300425733)