It’s been a big year for ISG Architectural Designer, Adam Voth. After receiving his Master in Architecture Degree from the University of Minnesota in May, Adam became an Employee Owner at ISG, moved to La Crosse with his wife, and rediscovered “free-time.” Now while out of the office, Adam and his wife enjoy, drinking coffee, cooking (but mostly eating) new and diverse dishes, listening to true crime podcasts, and shopping for furniture they don’t need.
What got you into architecture?
Architecture is an excellent avenue to facilitate curiosity. Not only because you’re constantly asking and answering questions, but also because architecture fosters a unique way of looking at the world through making. Whether you’re working on a 2D sketch or 3D visualization, you’re always looking through the lens of humans’ interactions with the built world and the environment.
Your Master’s thesis, a tea farm, school, and rural Ecuador. What do they have in common?
For my Master’s thesis, I studied a small primary school and a guayasa tea farm in rural Ecuador. Because the acts of growing, harvesting and drinking guayasa tea are steeped in local culture (pun definitely intended), I explored how students’ involvement in the tradition may provoke a new method of teaching. Building on this idea, I introduced an architectural style that combined common school and farm typologies to bring classrooms, storerooms, and workrooms closer together. It was a rewarding and challenging multi-disciplinary experience that equips me to approach ISG’s education partners today. Fun fact, ISG has actually done something similar in the design of the new Saint Peter High School in Minnesota, where designers developed a facility to house a farm-to-table agricultural economics program.
Favorite place you’ve traveled and favorite architectural structure?
Traveling to Ecuador last year was invaluable in supporting my Masters’ pursuits, as well as offering fresh perspective. Architecture is powerful in telling stories of place, people, and circumstance. Whether it was observing farms along the Andean Mountain Range or being in awe along The Great Wall of China, my favorite architectural moments that I’ve personally experienced occur when design is indelibly linked to its environment.
How does your study of architecture abroad impact your designs?
The more I travel, the better I’m able to recognize how architecture communicates a specific sense of place. When working across all of ISG’s markets, this context allows me to identify and design solutions that not only addresses client need, but also conveys the specific identity of a community.
What has been your favorite part of working at ISG so far?
It’s important to surround yourself with others who are passionate in what they do. That is something that attracted me to ISG. It is evident that this is a collaborative environment that fosters professional growth. There’s great opportunity to leverage the diverse individual talents here, but also a team-centric culture that encourages asking questions and not being afraid to learn new skills from our peers.
How would you describe your fellow Employee Owners?
Each person has a distinct skill set and unique point of view. There’s also a healthy level of infectious energy. It’s safe to assume I’m a fan of the team that surrounds me. We make each other better. That said, watch your back. You never know if there is a nerf assassin in your midst.
What’s the most ingenious/creative thing you’ve ever done?
When we first met, I had to be pretty crafty to persuade my now-wife to give me the time of day. That counts, right? There have definitely been moments within my six years of design school that I’m proud of, but this beats them all. By a mile.
Anything else your coworkers don’t know about you?
Who has two green thumbs? This guy. Since I was a tyke, I aspired to become certified as a master gardener (yes, that’s a thing). One of these days I’ll achieve this dream. Our current living situation is rather yard-less, however. Thus, my prowess is relegated to caring for houseplants. We’re quickly being overrun.