Ryan Roepke After 10 Years with MWA

Ryan Sitting At His Desk

Congratulations, Ryan Roepke, on your 10-year anniversary with MWA’s Portland Infrastructure Studio. Working on some of MWA’s largest water projects, Ryan has brought immense value and skill to the firm. As an associate and job captain, Ryan has in-depth knowledge of each design stage, currently spending his time in construction administration for several water projects. Thank you, Ryan, for your dedication to your team and projects.

“Congratulations on your 10-year milestone. You are consistently an important team member who has played a vital role in the success of many of our best projects. May you continue to grow and thrive at MWA.”

Jeff McGraw

What projects have you worked on most recently?

  • Bull Run Filtration Facility in Portland, OR
  • Willamette Supply Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sherwood, OR
  • Klamath Falls Sewage Treatment Plant in Klamath Falls, OR
  • Rock Creek Centrifuge Clean Water Facility in Hillsboro, OR
  • Bend Solids Handling Upgrade in Bend, OR

What project phase is your favorite?

Design Development because I really enjoy figuring out how to apply the design concepts to other parts of the project.

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

My responsibilities have shifted over the years from primarily drafting and drawing development to construction administration, small project scope proposals and as a technical resource for water/wastewater treatment projects.

How do you maintain work/life balance? During COVID, how have you been maintaining your sanity?

By keeping my work and home time separate even though work is just down the hall. 

We left town on family trips to Bend, OR to go mountain biking, and stayed in beach houses in Manzanita on the Oregon coast to witness the power of a King Tide in January.

Making, renovating, and fixing things around the house.

Making with wood a butcher block counter, desk, bench, and stained birch plywood built-in cabinets.

I also upcycled an old medicine cabinet mirror with a new walnut frame.

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

I would like to learn more about modular construction and would like to take a crack at a cross-laminated timber project.

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

Completing my ARE exams and licensure.

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

The primary reason I started in architecture was because of my interest in drawing. In high school I took all the drafting and architectural design classes that were offered. I really connected with drafting and the act of taking ideas and putting them on paper.  

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

Carlo Scarpa – His drawings because of the depth of information that they contain. In my opinion they are some of the best examples of working drawings out there. He had a way of combining mechanically derived linework, and sketchy hand-drawn vignettes that really speak to the way my brain works when studying problems and working through the design. Almost showing a glimpse into the brainstorming going on inside his imagination to present the space being designed.

Peter Eisenman – The way he used the grid shift in plan to mesh circulation and program elements together. I find his work interesting albeit somewhat maniacal in method for making connections in the program pulling out ‘what the lines want to be’ in the drawing.

Marcel Breuer – For his use of material (board formed concrete), and the way he was able to make a solid and heavy material feel so light and airy. For example, the St. John’s Abbey Church in Collegeville, MN – where the board formed concrete brings the scale down to human scale and the texture allows it weather more like natural stone.

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