Growing up in a small town in southwest Minnesota, ISG Architect Jeremy Wiesen loved the contrast he saw when traveling to larger areas and the idea of being able to positively shape the environment that people interact with every day. Now, with more than 11 years of work in the Mankato area, Jeremy has had the opportunity to do just that. In recognition of his efforts, Jeremy was recently nominated for the Mankato Free Press’ 2019 Best of Mankato: Architect award. Voting began on April 7, and runs through May 6. Let’s learn more about Jeremy!

So which metro area inspired you to be an architect? Chicago? New York?

Not exactly. I grew up in rural southwest MN, so when we would travel to places like Sioux Falls, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Omaha, I became very interested in buildings and urban design, and I began to notice the different ways people interacted with the built environment. The different contexts between the cities were extremely eye opening. When I began thinking about a career in high school, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to shape the built environment, and have a positive influence—no matter how small—on the people who interact with it daily.

What makes Mankato a good playground for architects?

Mankato is a great place to experience and practice architecture for a lot of reasons, the first being the people. There are so many people and organizations who want to have a positive impact on the region, which has led to great investment and development, and has put Mankato in a period of long-term growth. Working on projects that impact livability, quality of life or help an organization add to that growth—whether a park, community facility, hospitality or office building, is extremely exciting. Increased livability brings more invested people into greater Mankato, creating a domino effect of growth and reinvestment.

What’s it like seeing one of your buildings in the real world?

Well I wouldn’t say any of the projects are really “mine.” In reality, architects, or at least the architects who are doing it right, work with the client throughout the process to make sure the final product best addresses their needs and goals. The final design rarely ever resembles the concept we start with.

So how do you work to get the best final product to clients?

At ISG, we utilize alternative analysis and contextual design to make sure we, along with our partners and clients, can best think through and understand all the unique aspects, challenges, goals and outside influences on each particular project. This allows for all ideas to be considered, encourages creative thinking and leads to the best design solutions. This of course wouldn’t be possible without trust, communication and teamwork!

We’ve talked a lot about Mankato’s growth; what are some of the projects you’ve worked on that have been impactful on your own growth?

Some of the big ones in Mankato are the Verizon Center Expansion, the Minnesota State University, Mankato Hockey renovation, the Blue Earth County Government Center, and the Eide Bailly Center. I’ve also worked on Tailwind projects in multiple states. Each of these projects had certain degrees of complexity, unique users, and accomplish specific needs. This challenges the team at ISG to understand the needs, goals, and budget of the client while considering site constraints and other project influences and performing alternative analysis. While challenging, successfully navigating these factors and producing an optimal final product have been phenomenal learning opportunities.

You’re still learning after 10+ years of practice?

Absolutely. The problem solving nature of our work, the challenge each project brings, and the ability to continually learn and challenge myself means there’s never a dull day at work. Continuously solving the big puzzle of how a building design can best operate and serve its users is fun and challenging, and it fosters constant learning.

What is it about the A/E field that you think has the largest impact on our future as a firm, the industry, or the world at large?

Technology is changing everything, and our industry is no different. The built environment can be made flexible enough to support the needs of today and tomorrow—and done so sustainably. This is all made possible through emerging technologies. Whether it’s our Certified Drone Pilot, Garrett Burgess, flying over a site to collect data, or the team using different modeling and analysis software to help a building better function and operate more efficiently, we’re staying on the forefront of technology by making sure we have the best people using the best tools.



When he’s not in the office shaping the built environment, you can find Jeremy Wiesen serving on Mankato’s City Art committee, speaking to civil engineering classes at Minnesota State University, Mankato for their capstone projects (many of whom are ISG Interns), or outside grilling and running half-marathons (he’s completed the Mankato half-marathon 3 times, and 16 half-marathons in total!).

Vote for Jeremy as the Best of Mankato: Architect by May 6!


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