Architects Talking to Architects: Kris Calvert, AIA

Kris Calvert, AIA, is a Principal at Urban Bobcat Architects. Calvert is on the Advisory Board for Partners for Sacred Places, an organization that helps churches with the preservation of their architecture, and currently serves on the Executive Committee for AIA Fort Worth

Kris Calvert, AIA –photo courtesy Kris Calvert

Where do you find inspiration?

To quote singer/songwriter Rich Mullins, “There’s so much beauty around us for just two eyes to see. Everywhere I go I’m looking.” I look to some of my favorite architects to learn how they make beautiful buildings. Whenever possible, I like to visit buildings in person to really experience them. Photographs are wonderful and provide tons of inspiration for me, but there’s no substitute for the real thing. My family’s vacations usually involve seeing a cool building or two or three — whatever I can get away with; my wife has a limit though. 

Family vacations aren't complete without at least a few architectural excursions thrown in, such as Le Corbusier's Ronchamp –photo courtesy Kelly Calvert

What is the one building that you just had to see for yourself?

Antonio Gaudí’s Sagrada Familía. I studied this building in school and had seen numerous photographs, but the interior was incredible to see in person. The light, the colors of the stained glass, the form and scale of the space — it was a very emotional experience. It’s a cathedral for worship, but even more than that, I feel like it’s a building that leads you to worship. I hope one day to be involved in projects that begin to move closer to this type of beauty and purpose.

The organic arches and stained glass windows of Sagrada Familía are truly awe-inspiring –photo courtesy Kris Calvert

What is your favorite time of year?

I guess I’d say spring and fall — but really any time during the year where I can open the doors and windows of the house or the office or when I can enjoy spending time on a patio. In Texas, depending on the particular year, this could be year round! I’m constantly trying to incorporate spaces in and around buildings designed for  enjoying breezes and the outdoors.

Do you have a favorite website or blog that you regularly visit?

BUILD blog is one of my favorites. This group does some beautiful work in the Pacific Northwest, and they share some great information on design, construction, and other random fun things. I think our profession could really benefit from more of this type of transparency and sharing of information.

Beer, wine or cocktail — what is your drink of choice?

Bourbon. It’s the unofficial beverage of choice for our firm, Urban Bobcat Architects. My business partner, Matt Green, AIA, and I will often have a glass of bourbon to accompany our business “strategy” sessions. We call this our bourbon bobcat.

At Urban Bobcat Architects, our big picture thinking take place over bourbon in a tradition called the bourbon bobcat –photo courtesy Kris Calvert

What type of advice would you offer to young professionals?

Take chances. Not in a reckless, foolish way, but in a way that moves you out of your comfort zone and challenges you. I find that’s where I grow and learn the most.

Get out of the office. Go see places and people. Meet with others in the profession that you don’t work with. This has always been a big encouragement for me.

Take time to rest. It’s so easy to get too caught up in our work and neglect the need to recharge our mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes for me this just means being still and being quiet, which is not always easy to do.

Urban Bobcat Architects website www.urbanbobcat.com
Kris Calvert’s Flickr page www.flickr.com/photos/19592613@N05/

"Architects Talking to Architects" is a series on the Texas Society of Architects blog that spotlights members from across the state at different points of development in their career. All participants are given the same set of questions, with instructions to answer any six, giving them the opportunity to highlight the items they feel are most interesting. Is there someone you'd like to see featured in "Architects Talking to Architects"? Email communications@texasarchitects.org to let us know.​