Celebrating 5 Years with Alex Harm

We’re celebrating Alex Harm’s 5-year Anniversary as a member of MWA’s San Francisco Infrastructure studio. With over ten years of architectural experience, he brings his expertise in technical detailing, design, and planning to large-scale water/wastewater projects. Always good-humored and highly motivated, he continues to take on challenging work and responsibilities at the firm. We’re so happy to congratulate Alex on five great years at MWA!

What projects are you working on right now?

I am working on 4 projects right now: San Jose Dewatering, SFPUC Biosolids, Sunnyvale Lab Admin, and MWD Wheeler Gate.

What project phase is your favorite? Why?

Probably from 60% design and on, but do enjoy the early massing and form development.  I enjoy 60% and on because during this phase the design becomes real, the layering of cladding, the coordination of structural and MEP, the detailing, and design evolution.

“I feel like I’ve been working with Alex for a lot more than 5 years. He’s wise beyond his years in many ways, and knows the ins and outs of a building as well as most seasoned project architects. I can always rely on him to draw up a good technical solution to a tough design problem (after a few cups of coffee). And even better, he usually knows what I’m thinking before I say it.”

– Greg Robley

How have the responsibilities and expectations of your job changed in the last few years?

When I started, I was basically doing drafting and modeling.  Today, I am managing younger staff, taking a lead in implementing BIM standards, coordinating with trades, and working as a Job Captain.

How do you maintain work/life balance?

I try to stop when I can and ensure that on the weekends I go out to meet with friends in the city and across the bay.

During COVID, how have you been maintaining your sanity?

Playing Videogames with childhood friends, playing in a soccer league, and cooking/baking food I have not done before.

What do you hope to do more of in the next few years?

Become a licensed architect and earn the title of Project Architect.

What is the next career goal that you would like to tackle?

Taking my tests (ARE) and getting licensed in California. 

When you started your career, why did you want to become an architect?

I always had an interest in art but wanted it to be substantial, so architecture blends art and function and will last for years to come, with the benefit that people will interact with that “art” every day.

Is there a particular architect’s work that inspires you? Why?

I am big on phenomenology (focus on sense of place and senses), so the works of Peter Zumthor inspire me the most.  The tactile materials and application, odors, and context giving a building a “sense of place”.  Favorite book is “The Eyes of the Skin” by Juhani Pallasmaa.

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