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Jonah Garoutte

Staff Spotlight: Jonah Garoutte

Staff Spotlight

Where did you grow up?

I was originally born in Springfield, Missouri, but didn’t spend much time there. We soon relocated to Fort Wayne, Indiana and I’ve spent the majority of my life here, with a brief stint in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when I was really young.

What interested you in pursuing a career in architecture/interior design?

I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of art and math… so it was a perfect option while I was growing up. The deeper I got into it, the more I fell in love with buildings, how they function, and how intention through design can shape the way a space is used, perceived, and the impact it can have on the users and visitors.

What motivates you to come into work every day at MKM?

It’s the people. Both the people we work for and the people I work alongside. Everyone wants to make the world a better place with each project we focus on. This permeates the everyday discussions about our projects and our approach to the world around us. It’s always refreshing and always evolving for the better.

Where do you look for inspiration?

For me, this is constantly changing. One day, it could be Instagram. The next, it could be a walk through the woods or a quote from a book. It’s in the little things and I’m always fascinated to find something amazing in the everyday, something sacred in the profane.

How do you recharge during your free time?

I have a lot of passions, so it’s hard to pick just one, sometimes. I enjoy doing most of these things with others and spending time with my family. That’s really the best way to recharge!

  • Coffee (drinking and roasting)
  • Photography
  • Cooking
  • Catching up on my “read later” list
  • A quick video game
  • Being outdoors

Which projects are you most proud to have worked on?

Being relatively new to the MKM team, my portfolio here is just getting started. Currently, the Arts United Center expansion and renovation has been an exciting one. Working with an awesome team to push a pillar of our community into a new era is extremely exciting and satisfying. Not to mention, the original building brings with it a legacy of design and excellence from the late Louis Kahn!

Pictured: Arts United Center

Where is your favorite place to travel?

Traveling anywhere is always an adventure and a new experience. Some of my favorite places over the years have been London, England, as well as enjoying Seattle, Washington and the nature around the Pacific Northwest. When you travel, you should always come back changed, even if it’s in a small way, and a good trip always has good stories. Lately, though, the favorite destination for my family has been quick getaways in Michigan. It’s such a diverse and beautiful place and we always seem to come back with a new story or memory.

Pictured: Family Trip to Michigan (top left) + Hiking on the Appalachian Trail (top right), Seattle Public Library (bottom left) + Seattle, Paccar Pavilion (bottom right)

Building a Second Brain and The Village Effect Book covers

What was the last book you read?

We have a book club here at MKM architecture + design (called The Inklings… great literary reference, by the way…IYKYK!), so we’re always reading something new. However, that’s the easy answer… so I’ll give two books here. One from The Inklings and the other for my personal enjoyment.

The Village Effect by Susan Pinker (The Inklings book club): This is a great book about the benefit of face-to-face interactions. How it not only helps mental health, but also physical health and well-being. Reach out and touch base at a coffee shop with someone you’ve not seen in a while… it’s worth it!

Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte (personal enjoyment): I’ve been a digital note taker for years, but this book retired how I do it, why I do it, and extended into all aspects of my life. In this age of information, this book will help you manage all that information and call on it when you need it… All while allowing you better focus on your day to day!

What is your favorite quote?

There are so many awesome ones out there! I’m not a big “favorite” kind of guy, but more what is connecting with me at the current time. Right now, it’s probably from a young reader book that my family loves called Henry and the Chalk Dragon by Jennifer Trafton (which is basically a retelling of Don Quixote).

“All you can do is make the best thing you can, and love it as hard as you can, and let it go loose in the world, and watch what happens. Let it be beautiful and adventurous and even terrifying. Let it go free. Don’t be afraid. But remember that art does things you don’t expect. Remember that it can hurt people, but remember that it can make them happy as well. Remember that it can break things and stomp on things sometimes. What kind of art [are you] brave enough to make?”

Tell us a fun fact about yourself! 

Although it’s been hard to focus on in recent years, I have a passion for architectural photography. I love being able to try to capture the design ideas of a building in a single image through lighting, time of day, and composition.


Pictured: Electric Works – photo by Jonah Garoutte

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