Meet ID8 Architecture’s Angela Boersma

1     Tell us a little bit about you.

I love having big dreams, making beautiful things, solving problems, and continuously striving to become a better human than I was yesterday, and sharing what I learn with whoever will listen. Beyond that, I’m fiercely independent, a little fiery, and firmly believe that it’s my job to make sure I give more than I take from the world

2     How do you take your coffee?

It depends on the day. Lately, I’m doing bullet coffee (with ghee orclarified butter) and Coconut or Oat milk.

3     When did you first become interested in becoming an architect?

I have fond memories of sneaking into the big, white granary building on my family farm as a small child, climbing the ladder into the loft, enjoying the sun streaming in, and sliding down the drying corn pile to the bottom only to attempt to climb back up the pile to do it all over again. I loved the sun streaming through the wood slats and illuminating the dust suspended in the air, and always had a sense of wonder at the beauty of something as simple as the sun and shadows changing a space throughout the day in such a simple farm building. I loved fort-building, legos and dreaming about places and spaces that I might go or create someday as far back as probably the second or third grade.

4     What do you enjoy most about being an architect?

I love that every day is different, and that I get to be creative but also analytical. Some days, I’m doing proposals and putting on the hat of a marketing guru, other days I’m working on contracts and specifications, and trying to channel my inner attorney. Then there are days where I play “what if” with a problem while I’m sketching or doing research, other days where I’d prefer to channel my inner computer nerd and introvert by hiding away from the whole world to work on details and drawings, or occasionally playing in the wood shop or with the laser cutter to build models or mock up a detail. It’s so much variety and there is truly never a dull moment.

5     What has been your career highlight so far and why?

Hands down – starting my own firm this past May. It had been a dream for so long and finally being brave enough to make it a real goal and then jump all-in was monumental for me. The process has already taught me so much about myself through leading a team,hiring staff, managing our time and resources, and engaging with communities and clients around the region. It really has been life-changing to work with a team who is excited to create the culture we want, set our own priorities,boldly declare our own values, and discover (much to our delight) that who we are resonates with our clients so well.

6     If you were not an architect, what would you be?

Professor, photographer, musician,motivational speaker, politician, furniture designer/fabricator…the list is long and honestly, I’ve done a few of those already, too. I have lots of things I’m passionate about and could do to satiate my appetite for variety,creativity, and analytics, but Architecture is really the one that combines them all into a single endeavor for me.

7     What inspires you creatively?

I love working in and/or collaborating in the higher education space, teaching design students or interns, watching them come up with ideas, and then helping refine and clarify the execution of those ideas. It’s so fun when they might not realize what a profound idea they have, and then to help them reach that ‘ah-ha’ moment is gratifying.The joy of discovery inspires me every time.

8     Who were your early heroes and role models?

My grandmother was widowed in her mid-40s with five children. She was feisty, stubborn, and super independent, and never seemed phased by working hard doing whatever it took to support her family. She reinvented herself often, learned new skills in spite of only an eighth-grade education, and never allowed others to tell her she couldn’t do something. She exhibited so much strength and was the glue that held many things together, in spite of rarely being recognized for those efforts. She left a legacy of service that I treasure.

9     What is the last place you saw that made you think, I wish I’d done that?

For me, projects that exhibit restraint (in scale, scope, materiality, detailing, etc.) are often some of my favorite. I recently traveled to Des Moines and went to the Oreon E. Scott Chapel on Drake’s campus, designed by Eero Saarinen. The materials and quality of light absolutely took my breathe away.

10     What do you think is the most challenging thing for women in the design or creative industries?

I think the AEC (architecture, engineering & construction)industries are still working to catch up on recruiting and retaining more women into those professions, so there often aren’t many role models for young women with aptitudes in these areas, and society doesn’t always encourage them to pursue those passions.

11     What have you learned that you wish you knew 10 years ago?

I can’t please everyone,and to try is a fool’s errand. Simply having a clearer picture of whose opinions I truly care about has been the blessing of getting older and gaining more experience in life and business.

12     What is your design philosophy?

I believe that the built environment is a tangible and enduring reminder of the values and priorities of a specific group of people, at a specific time in history, and under specific circumstances related to what’s happening in the society they are a part of. Our buildings and cities reflect where and how we invest our time and resources, so our team’s process is focused at two key levels: 1.) What does this project say about the internal values of our clients and the organization they represent, and 2.) What does it say about how they represent their values externally to their local community, neighbors, and clients? Internally,we talk about how our process should reflect our values, and the final product should reflect our client’s values. Together, that’s how we create successful projects and partnerships with our clients.

More about Angela:

Angela is the founding Principal of ID8 Architecture in Brookings,and is dual licensed in both Architecture and Interior Design. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from SDSU, and her Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota, after which she returned to her alma mater as an Assistant Professor of Interior Design. Angela spent six years in the classroom while consulting and practicing as well, and in 2015 finished her licensing requirements and left academia to lead the architectural department in a design-build office. This past Spring she embarked on the adventure that led to her establishing ID8 Architecture, where she’s spent the last several months practicing architecture by day and playing contractor by night as she finishes the build-out of ID8’s new office. When not pretending to be a contractor, Angela serves on numerous volunteer boards and commissions for the City of Brookings and Brookings County, runs for office, and runs the occasional 5K/10K. 

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