Zach Benedict, AIA, LEED AP, and Andy Mitchell, AIA, ACHA, present their workshop Swimming Upstream: Reexamining the Social Determinants of Health in Rural America.
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up a 90’s cul-de-sac kid, just north of the Fort Wayne city limits. I was usually outside riding bikes or playing sports. I attended Holy Cross Lutheran Grade School and Concordia High School.
2. Why did you get into architecture?
When I decided to pursue a degree in architecture, it was more of an undeveloped curiosity about what architecture was. It also gave me the opportunity to hone the skills I already had and was interested in growing. I came to realize that architecture extends into so many exciting disciplines and dimensions, while always yielding new potential and thoughts. I have strong passions for anything design-related. I love urbanism, drawing, branding, graphics, and working with people – all these interests connect me to architecture.
3. Where do you go when you’re looking for inspiration?
My mind and my experiences: I like finding uncommon commonalities between things and ideas. Over the years, I’ve built-up an unorganized synaptic database in my head of architecture, art, design, pop culture, movies, music, etc., which has been curated by both intentional and unintentional research and life experiences. Everything can be inspirational. So for me, “inspiration” is more of a skill I try to refine by looking at the problem differently or applying the correct comparison to the right part of the problem to move toward a solution. I get excited at the challenge of the correct application of inspiration to a project. I also study ArchDaily and Instagram daily.
4. Which projects are you most proud to have been a part of?
All of them! Though the projects that have best reflected my passions include the North Manchester Comprehensive Plan, Auburn City Steakhouse, 111 Columbia House at The Landing, and the La Porte libraries.
5. What are you passionate about right now?
Right now, I am trying to do some internal housekeeping: working smarter, communicating efficiently, hitting all deadlines, eating healthy, and creating positive relationships with others. I am passionate about making these things routine and consistent so that I may grow to better serve others. As far as other passions go, I would say I am continuously interested in the idea of a sustainable future as it relates to the built and natural environment.
6. What’s your favorite quote?
“It all starts with a dream, an aspiration, a desire – and it’s married with realities. And if you can’t marry the realities, then you are not an architect.” – Thom Mayne
7, What’s the last good book you read?
The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy
Most people at the office know this story and bring it up, but I once had the opportunity to be a Junior Olympic race walker. My freshman year of college, I overslept and ran in the door late to find that the rest of my fitness walking class had already started on the mile race walk test. I walked as fast as I could and ended up beating everyone who had already started. Days later, my professor reached out to me encouraging me to try out for the Junior Olympic race walking team. I declined this offer, but I have been known to occasionally walk faster than others can run.
Andrew began his work with MKM as an intern, and returned as an associate after graduate school; he’s been with the firm nearly 7 years. His responsibilities include project management, project design, and graphics management, with experience in designing for the entire healthcare spectrum. Andrew earned his Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, and Master of Architecture from Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning.