Monday, August 30, 2010

Dordt Alumni in Design: Kevin Zandberg

Zandberg Family

Kevin Zandberg
Project Manager
MJSA Architecture & Interior Design
Salt Lake City, Utah

My initial interest in architecture grew out of my childhood experiences visiting different construction sites with my father. I always enjoyed watching buildings grow before my eyes as they went through the various phases of construction. Through those experiences I developed a growing interest in construction, in particular the details of how a building is put together. I spent most of my summers during my high school and college years working in construction, learning the different aspects of building from concrete work to framing, drywall and finish carpentry.

While at Dordt my path to architecture really began to take shape. After my first semester I began to revisit my earlier experiences in the construction world and my interest in how buildings are put together. I spent the summer after my freshman year contacting different architecture schools and began to formulate a core set of courses that would help prepare me for graduate school in architecture. With the assistance of Professor Kevin Timmer we charted a road map for a major and in 1992 I graduated from Dordt College with a Bachelors Degree in Individual Studies: Pre-Architecture. It’s interesting to look back at the courses I took and my experiences while at Dordt. I think we did a good job molding my major and I have always been complemented on my course selection. I also find it interesting that I never really considered leaving Dordt to enroll in a Bachelor of Architecture program at another school. I am still very thankful for the education I received and the Christian worldview from which everything was taught. The idea that we are God’s kingdom workers seeking to be God’s servants redeeming His world has become an integral part of my life and is what I continue to explore within my profession.

After working another year in construction I enrolled in Iowa State University’s Master of Architecture program and graduated in 1996. My first job in architecture was as an Intern Architect with FFKR Architecture in Salt Lake City. While at FFKR I worked on a variety of projects from a college administration building, a new concert hall for the University of Utah and a large movie theater / restaurant / business complex. It was a great first firm experience as an intern.

I left FFKR in 2000 for an opportunity to work with MJSA Architecture & Interior Design. MJSA offered me an opportunity to work in residential design working on single family and multi-family projects primarily in the role of Project Manager. During my years at MJSA I have been very fortunate to work on a number of different types of projects from single family residences, mixed-use, multi-family (new and adaptive re-use), historic preservation and higher education. My involvement in projects has typically been to assist in the development of a design response, then lead the Design Team in the production of construction documents and finally assist the General Contractor through the construction process. My favorite aspects of being a Project Manager are working out design details during the drawing phase and spending time at the job site with the General Contractor during construction, ensuring that the design intent is met.

The field of architecture is incredibly diverse, requiring knowledge of site context, building codes, construction methods, building systems, as well as requiring an understanding of the social, psychological and environmental impacts of a building. Architecture is a complex field but this complexity is also what I find rewarding. No two buildings are the same and each project challenges you with a new set of building parameters. This keeps architecture interesting and engaging for me.

Over the years several projects stand out in my mind for various reasons whether it be the social component or the preservation and adaptive re-use of an existing building. The projects include:

Life Start Village (Midvale, Utah) is a collection of new single family houses, town houses and common housing providing safe housing environments for abused mothers and children.

Francis Peak Apartments (Kaysville, Utah) was a low-income multi-family remodel project for an entity called Mercy Housing. The project focused on improving the quality of existing low-income housing apartments as well as improving the residents’ quality of life.

Artspace City Center (Salt Lake City, Utah) (see the following photos) was an adaptive re-use project. We turned a turn-of-the century retail warehouse building into artist studios and apartments:

Photograph used with permission from MJSA.

Photograph used with permission from MJSA.

Photograph used with permission from MJSA.

John R. Park Building – University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah) was an exterior restoration and seismic stabilization project of a 1912 building. It is also the marquee building of the University of Utah housing the president and vice-president offices. Photograph used with permission from MJSA.

Artspace Commons (Salt Lake City, Utah) is a new mixed-use development containing artist studios and low to middle income apartments. Sustainability is a key component for this project and we are attempting to achieve LEED Gold certification. Rendering used with permission from MJSA.

I am thankful for the opportunities and projects that come my way and appreciate the challenge each new project brings.

Soli Deo Gloria

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