Martina Parish with 45 Architecture not only has an eye for design, but also a place in her heart for sustainability and inclusivity through architecture. Read about Martina’s journey to Nashville and her favorite perks about having an office space at Center 615 (spoiler alert: her two dogs love the location too).
How would you describe what you do for 45 Architecture to someone not in the industry?
I’m lucky enough to have a role that requires doing something different almost every day. My responsibilities vary from master planning/big picture to project design, to managing clients and consultants, to drafting and detailing buildings.
How did you get into architecture?
I have always been interested in art, design and history. I interpreted Architecture as an intersection of these things and made the decision to become an Architect when I was 17 (very young and starry-eyed, obviously). The path to becoming an architect is grueling. But I achieved my goal in 2018 when I finally got my Architectural license.
What’s your favorite part about your job with 45 Architecture?
Being in the field. Construction phase is the magical part of the project where months of planning, design, coordination, drafting (and occasionally tears) come together and create reality. Working directly with contractors and subcontractors is where I learn the most about how buildings come together. And problem solving with the people who have the most knowledge about their trade is thrilling.
What would be your dream architecture project to work on?
Net-zero developments. I could talk for ages about sustainability and our responsibility to the planet, so my dream projects would be the ones that protect our precious resources and acknowledge the need for change.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Vernacular architecture. Looking to the past to see how local populations both managed passive heat and cooling and harnessed natural light and water is fascinating and important to understand. It also changes regionally across the globe, so there is always something new to learn.
Where are you from originally and where else have you lived?
Well… I never really know how to answer this question! I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I went to high school in Evergreen, Colorado, spent a year at CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado, then landed at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT in 2004.
I have subsequently been fortunate enough to live all over the beautiful state of Montana, from a ranching community of 100 people, to the largest city in the state. My architectural career finally started 4 years after I earned my Master’s (thanks 2008 recession!) in Anchorage, Alaska. Sprinkled in there are stints studying Architecture in Rome, summers working in Maine and on New Hampshire’s islands. I love exploring, and have been very lucky!
Why did 45 Architecture add an office in Nashville, having one also in Montana?
Nashville and Bozeman actually have more in common than people may realize! They are both unique communities, and are currently growing rapidly. Both have numerous opportunities in the Private development and Public sectors. The opportunities in Nashville just happen to be larger.
The expansion to Nashville came out of realizing there are opportunities in a brand new market for 45 Architecture. There is a kind of limit to the kinds of work that are available in Montana, just due to the size and needs of the population. Nashville allows us to explore larger opportunities and new project types. It didn’t hurt when Allegiant added a direct flight between the two cities too!
If you could work from absolutely anywhere in the world where would it be?
Ok, so if we can go fictional – I’d say I’d like to work from Captain Nemo’s Nautilus from Jules Verne’s 20,000 leagues under the sea. But realistically, I’m happiest when I’m working anywhere I can bring my dogs.
Is there a place in Nashville that reminds you of home? If so, what or where is it?
This was a tricky question! It may seem weird, but the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. Though, not for the reason you think…I love Cheekwood, and I force all of my visitors to go to the gardens with me. Now I have lots of memories of Cheekwood with the people I love.
What’s your opinion on all the new building construction happening in Nashville?
I think it’s very exciting, but also a little scary. Obviously 45 Architecture is here because of the many development opportunities that exist, and there are so many beautiful buildings being constructed. However, I think that building, architecture, and community building needs to include everyone, not just the very wealthy.
Every day we are learning more about the affordable housing crisis in the city, and people who’ve lived here for generations who can’t afford to stay. These are troubling side effects of a building boom, and it is our responsibility as master planners and architects to address these issues and fight for policy change for more equitable development.
How do you know Thomas and Hutton? Did you know they referred 45 Architecture to our office space?
I think the Thomas and Hutton connection comes from one of our clients! We love those guys; they’ve been so hospitable to us, and even had me over a few times to their Center 615 office to review permitting and other processes with the municipality (don’t worry I always come with delicious snacks from East Park or Yeast Nashville!) We are still searching for our first opportunity to work together, but I know it’s out there.
If you were to build your own dream house, what would it look like?
In my mind I’m a minimalist, but in my reality, I’m a maximalist. I’d say my dream home would include a huge garage where I can shove all of my clutter, then my living areas would be very simple and mellow.
Can you tell me more about your two dogs? How do they enjoy Center 615?
I could spend all day talking about my dogs! The little brown one is Tummy Puggle, AKA my ride or die. He has been all over the country with me, and is really my best friend. The black and white collie is my husband’s dog, Domino. They are both 13, and spoiled absolutely rotten. They love that occasionally our lunchtime walks correspond with recess at Meigs or Warner; they get to be treated like celebrities by the kids, and get lots of love and pets.
I saw on LinkedIn you were a volunteer horseback riding instructor. Do you ride horses often today?
I haven’t ridden in years! If I had my way, I would ride or pet a horse every day! I started riding horses when I was little, and once a horse girl, always a horse girl. In Montana, I had amazing opportunities to volunteer at nonprofits that taught horsemanship and riding lessons to veterans, and differently abled children and adults. I loved it, and have subsequently found Saddle Up!, an organization here in town.
Center 615 would like to thank Martina Parish and 45 Architecture for allowing us to spotlight them!
Interested in learning more about Center 615’s community of diverse businesses? Stop by our coworking campus to find out!