We recently spoke with Archinect’s Niall Patrick Walsh about the culture of Workshop/APD- below, dive into Walsh’s interview to learn more about everything from our team’s go-to lunch spots to our favorite design tools.
From our studio in the Garment District, Workshop/APD has grown into a 100-person-strong firm since our founding in 1999. While working across several typologies, we specialize in residential projects, exemplified recently by our interior design role on MVRDV’s colorful Radio Hotel and Tower in upper Manhattan. With offices in Minneapolis, South Florida, Greenwich, and Nantucket, we’re always looking for new talent – check out Archinect Jobs to find out positions we’re currently hiring for. For candidates interested in applying for a position, or anybody interested in learning more about life at an architecture studio, read on for a behind-the-scenes look at our firm.
How did Workshop/APD get started?
Andrew Kotchen and Matt Berman, our founding principals, met in undergrad studying architecture at Lehigh University. After parting ways for several years to pursue their master’s, they reconnected and decided to combine their talents to start the firm in 1999.
How big is your team?
Our team has nearly tripled in size in recent years, and now we’re nearly 100 strong. We have multiple offices – one in New York and one in Minneapolis, MN. We also have satellite offices in South Florida, Greenwich, and Nantucket.
Describe the area of New York your office is located in.
Our office is in the Garment District in Midtown Manhattan, right in the center of the action. Right between Herald Square and Bryant Park, with easy access to Penn Station, Moynihan Train Hall, Port Authority, and several subway lines for all commutes. We’re also close to many of our peers in the industry, design showrooms, events, and conferences that we stop by throughout the year.
What is your favorite thing about working in New York?
There’s never a dull moment in New York. From museums and galleries to food and fashion, there is always something new to see, and our designers find inspiration everywhere. We find lots of talent in the designers here, and a large portion of our clientele also spends significant time in the city. Our employees have plenty of opportunities to visit sites, meet clients, and attend events.
Is your team working fully in the office or on a hybrid/varied schedule?
We’re on a hybrid schedule – most people work from home at least one or two days a week. Many of our employees find it beneficial to come in and collaborate, get to look at finishes and samples in person, make material palettes, and collaborate face-to-face. With our new materials library and desk layouts, there are so many places to spread out and work in the office.
Beyond home and office, there are opportunities to go on-site, and lots of our designers travel to the projects that they’re working on at some point in the process. Whether for construction administration, site visits, or installs, the variety of projects keeps things exciting. Every day is different.
Is your office open-plan or subdivided?
Our newly renovated office space is fairly open, with lots of natural light. In addition to several conference rooms, we now have a product showroom and materials library for added workspace. We recently completed our rooftop lounge, an indoor-outdoor space complete with a kitchen and pool table, where employees can relax or take some fresh air throughout the day.
What is one book (architectural or non-architectural) that you would recommend to our audience?
Workshop/APD Homes: Architecture, Interiors, and the Spaces Between, our new monograph, of course! Our team put years of labor into the publication of this book, and it gives a comprehensive view of our residential work across the U.S.
If you organized an office trip to one U.S. building, which would it be?
This one is difficult to answer! But the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is a favorite, as is Fallingwater. It would also be amazing to see the Roden Crater in person.
What does your office ‘sound’ like? Do you listen to music or radio at work, can you hear the city life outside, or is it a place of quiet work?
Our office sounds like collaboration, talking, and knowledge sharing. Music is also important to Workshoppers. Many of us compete in a Music League each week, which is a fun way to get into some friendly competition and discover your colleagues’ favorite songs.
Where is the most popular lunch spot in or around the office?
Does bubble tea count? There is no shortage of options around our office. Being in such a central part of the city, you can get anything from Krispy Kreme to Whole Foods to the café in the upstairs of the Kinokuniya Bookstore.
What is the most popular design tool in the office?
For many Workshoppers, it is sketching, and today that means on the iPad. Our team finds sketching together at the beginning of a project to be an amazing collaboration and gets us on the same page very quickly. Another option would be Revit and Enscape – this is the most important tool for our team because it allows us to model/visualize the design in the same program that we use to document it, bridging the gap between technical drawing and design.
Tell us about a project you are proud of, whether completed or in progress.
1 Hotel Nashville – we were able to celebrate the opening last year, which was a huge accomplishment for our team. We had a comprehensive design vision inspired by Nashville’s history and culture, and we worked with our client to see it executed beautifully. Hospitality projects can take years to come to fruition, so everyone was really excited to see the space come to life and some have even had the chance to visit and stay as guests in the hotel.
What position(s) are you currently hiring for?
We’re always looking for talented designers – as a growing company, we have new work coming in every week and opportunities for our team to get their hands on a wide variety of project types. Currently, we have more than a dozen roles open across our NYC and Minneapolis offices including specialists in landscape architecture, visualization, and hospitality.
What project(s) are the new team members likely to be working on?
We continue to build amazing homes – single-family residences – like those featured in our Monograph are a constant source of inspiration and new members of our team are lucky to work on them!
In three words, how would you sum up Workshop/APD’s ethos?
Collaborative, crafted, modern