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Focal Point: Ryan Downs, AIA, NCARB

Author
Author
Wold Team

Ryan Downs, AIA, NCARB says he is most passionate about “Being able to listen to an organization’s needs, then as a team, provide design solutions that solve those needs.” As a senior government planner, Ryan’s role on our team includes continually meeting with current and potential clients to assist in their needs. Ryan, who previously worked at Wold, re-joined our team in January of 2021. Ryan’s career as an architect has spanned 25+ years, and he has made a lasting impact through his work involving community-centric designs.

Notable Experiences

Throughout his career, Ryan has worked for various organizations, including time spent running his own firm. One specific career experience Ryan is particularly proud of is his time spent designing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. While in Haiti, Ryan created a new community center that helped provide additional opportunities for a community suffering from poor living conditions. During and following his experience in Haiti, Ryan continued to grow his passion for creating designs that are human-centric, sustainable and responsive to the needs of a community.

Additional projects Ryan has had the opportunity of working on include buildings such as a Fire/Crash/Rescue Station on an air force base in Georgia, a women and children's clinic in Florida and 25 locations for the Wounded Warrior Project. Given Ryan’s unique work experience, his advice for young professionals is to believe in yourself. "As architects, we have a job that is rooted in coming up with solutions and receiving critical feedback. It is crucial not to wear your heart on your sleeve and continually grow in confidence towards your abilities."

Emphasis on Mentorship

Beyond his role as a professional, Ryan has also found a particular passion for mentoring the next generation of designers. He spent the past three years working as an adjunct professor, two years at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and one more year at the Community College of Denver. Ryan says this experience has come full circle from his days as a student. "Throughout my time in school, math was my biggest challenge. It was never something that came easy to me. As I spent more time growing in the field, I became more comfortable and confident in the subject. Now, I'm helping students grow in their skills as a math teacher, which is something I find quite rewarding."

Returning to Wold

Ryan says he ultimately chose to return to Wold for the close alignment our organization had with his own values, specifically going above and beyond and empowering people. "These are the values I hold true to myself as a professional, and I wanted to be with a company that embodies that." Additionally, Ryan says he wanted to return to grow with a team of professionals who cover a vast amount of project types. "Our team is unique, and I enjoy being a part of an organization that focuses on service, flexibility and collaboration. As much as I enjoy building relationships with our clients, I'm just as invested in building relationships internally."

Continuing Ryan's Education

A graduate from the Boston Architectural College (BAC) in 2001 with a Bachelor of Architecture, Ryan is currently pursuing a Masters of Design Studies (MDS) for Human Health at the BAC. Ryan chose to pursue this degree after a lifelong list of orthopedic issues. "Being an active person, I often found myself recovering from different physical injuries. In times of recovery, I began to particularly notice how the design of buildings impacted my physical and mental health." The degree focuses on how designers of any building type can thoughtfully respond to physical and mental ailments to create healthier environments for all.

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Ryan and his children

More About Ryan

Born in Seattle, Washington, Ryan was raised in the South Denver metropolitan area. As a child, Ryan developed a passion for sports, something that still holds true today. Some of his favorite sports include hockey, lacrosse, skateboarding and snowboarding. One of his favorite hobbies is painting. Additionally, Ryan enjoys spending time with his three children.

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One of Ryan's paintings

One area that Ryan finds inspiration is through music, specifically the genre of hip hop. Ryan says, "In many ways, the art of hip hop is similar architecture. We have the main elements we're trying to satisfy (think style and sound), and then we add onto these with our eclectic visions." A few of Ryan's favorite artists include Dr. Dre, Beastie Boys and Kendrick Lamar.

To learn more about Ryan, his experience and more, visit his biography here. Additionally, you can view our previous editions of Focal Point with Tu-Anh Bui Johnson and Matt Bickel. Our series, Focal Point, provides an enhanced glimpse into the individuals that make up our firm.

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