The American Institute of Architects Richmond was founded in 1976.

Christopher M. Humes, AIA

When and how did your interest in architecture begin? 

My first recollection of wanting to be an architect was when I was about 10 years old. It was a vague desire rooted in the fascination of drawing plans for literally everything. Though my heart and skillsets were in the visual arts growing up, ultimately I steered toward architecture as it was the more practical and financially responsible and professional path at the time. 

Where did you study architecture? 

I studied architecture at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated in 1997. 

How has your work evolved since you started out? 

As the owner and operator of a design-build firm, I now have a full understanding in what it takes to actually build something; from the Workers Comp policy for my employees to the emergency run for generator fuel at a remote job site. There are so many bits and pieces that go into it before anyone even swings a hammer. My work has evolved to quickly recognize the biggest picture at the same time as the finest details when approaching a design or build problem.

What influences you the most? 

Anything and everything influences me these days. There is an unavoidable and constant flow of digital creative content one cannot ignore. It undoubtably has an influence on me. Lately, in the design process, I am focused on new approaches to family dynamics as it relates to stay-at-home conditions, COVID-19 acknowledgment, and repurposed residential spaces.

What, if anything, do you miss from when you first started practicing? 

Keeping my boots clean! Since transitioning from an office-based position to my own design-build lifestyle, I am constantly on the go and almost always end up in the mud. And I truly miss those long, uninterrupted days of drafting with headphones on.

What makes you passionate about your work? 

Knowing that my employees love what they do. Whether it’s getting a footing poured, framing on a sunny Spring day, or working on the final details during trim out… the job site vibe and teamwork of our crew working hard, focused and knowing that they are passionate about what they do too. 

What is your favorite project and why? 

No favorites. I love them all in very different ways. They each have something memorable. It can be a special client relationship. Or a miracle renovation- bringing a home back from the brink of total demolition. Or simply learning something new – using an innovative product or system.

What is uniquely you? 

I prefer sardines and pimento cheese for breakfast.

What advice would you give to young architects just starting their career? 

Work for a general contractor at some point for as long as you can. The experience will give you a perspective and knowledge base that you will never forget. Essential in furthering your career as an architect.


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