In the Workshop: Stephan Thimme & Constantina Tsiara

Welcome to ‘In the Workshop’ , where we get to know a pair of Workshop/APD pros, their unique interests, inspirations, and aspirations. This month, our talented duo includes managing director and senior associate Stephan Thimme, and architectural designer Constantina Tsiara, whose work spans a range of residential and development projects. Read on to learn more about how the members of our architecture and design collective bring unique perspectives and experiences to the team.

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Stephan Thimme

An Architecture or Design trend you wish would go away
This is not a new trend, rather centuries old, but it still gives me the creeps. Living close to some semi-suburban sprawl areas, I keep seeing houses being built and sold in large numbers that have brick or stone facades on their front and vinyl or aluminum siding on their sides and rear. Seems like a very obvious architectural version of “lipstick on a pig” to me, but apparently, large portions of the populace keep falling for it.

A New (or new-er) A&D trend you love or see coming
Some institutional clients require their construction projects to be carbon-neutral these days. That is a mindset that hasn’t really settled in for the majority of the construction industry, but the technology exists to calculate and track the environmental impacts quite precisely. 20 years after LEED, it would be good if a new, better standard would become common.

What’s your dream project?
Ever since I first dreamt of becoming an architect, the vision of a house in and on a bluff over a mountain lake or river has been haunting me. I have been thinking about the interior stair in that double-high living room for decades now…

What’s your pandemic hobby?
I have been following my kids along with the games they have been trying out. But more meaningfully, I have really caught onto breathwork meditation, which my wife is training to become a facilitator for.

Describe your style in 3 words (can be personal or design aesthetic)
Crafted Modern? Elegant but unpolished simplicity.

Your favorite building or room of all time
I could embrace the cliché and say that I was very moved when visiting both Wright’s Fallingwater and Mies’s Barcelona Pavilion, which would be true. In the present day, I admire almost every single work by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. I visited the little Stone Museum in Nasu years ago, and am always thrilled when I learn about new projects of his.

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Constantina Tsiara

Architecture or Design trend you wish would go away.
Geometry-first form generation. As an architecture student, I was intrigued by complex forms that could not be perceived by the human mind or drawn by hand. It was very exciting for me to understand how to create such complex geometries and believed that this would make me a great architect, since the design possibilities are endless. However, by studying more about form-centered projects and looking at architecture on a more theoretical and social level I quickly realized that great architectural design is not only about the form or function, and there are more complex problems that need to be solved. There is so much potential for innovation and use of technology in architecture that we shouldn’t just focus on the forms and I am excited to see technology used more wisely, not just as a design trend.

A New (or new-er) A&D trend you love or see coming?
The importance of materiality. Treating the material as an important design element that informs the design and integrates it with the context.

What’s your dream project?
A progressive residential project that rethinks space, is adaptive to changes, and is sustainable by design.

What’s your pandemic hobby?
Podcasts during lunchbreak, yoga, and taking care of my quarantine puppy (now almost a fully grown dog).

Describe your style in 3 words (can be personal or design aesthetic):
Integrated, Informed, forward-looking.

Your favorite building or room of all time
Neither a space nor a room, but I hope it still counts: the High Line! I love how small gestures and a minor number of interventions and design statements can create great architecture, respectful to the context, and can revitalize a space.