We had the good fortune of connecting with Brendan O’Grady AIA, LEED AP and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brendan, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Ever since I was a child I have always enjoyed drawing and building things. Whether it was a futuristic Lego city that took up half the living room or skateboard ramps in the backyard, I loved being able to take something I imagined and make it a reality. I also enjoyed science and math in school, so pursuing a career in design and architecture seemed a natural way for me to bring all the things I enjoyed together. I truly believe that good design has the power to transform people’s lives.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am an architect and designer in CallisonRTKL’s Dallas office where I have worked for the last 17 years on a variety of project types. CallisonRTKL is a multi-disciplinary design consultancy that focuses on creative, complex problem-solving all around the world. Our goal is to make the world and our communities a better place to live through design. I have had the opportunity to design everything from large-scale, commercial mixed-use projects and sports related developments to smaller-scale things like a modern doghouse benefiting the SPCA of Texas. In my current role as a Vice President, I am fortunate to work in a diverse, multi-cultural office where I lead a talented design studio on a number of award-winning projects in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. My team and I have adopted a design philosophy known as Performance Driven Design to create buildings of their time and place, while responding to the unique challenges of their context and climate. We utilize computational design and data analytics combined with a thorough understanding of culture to inform our design solutions. One of my goals is to consistently pursue innovation by pushing the limits of design and fabrication, while at the same time encouraging people to think about architecture and the environment in a different way.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Since most of my friends are also architects and design is a way of life, not just a job, we would go downtown to visit the Arts District and check out the work of world renowned architects like Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas and Thom Mayne. We would stop at Klyde Warren Park and grab a bite to eat for lunch at a food truck there before heading over to one of my favorite places – the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. In the evening we would head out to Bishop Arts or Trinity Groves for dinner, and our last stop would be the Belmont Hotel where we would have one last drink overlooking the skyline of the city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to Professor Dan Rockhill and the work he has done with Studio 804 at the University of Kansas. Early in my career, he inspired me to find a balance between conceptual thinking and the act of building, while staying committed to the continued research and development of sustainable, affordable, and inventive building solutions.
Dustin Wekesser CallisonRTKL