"What you see at first glance, both with people and with places, is only the tip of the iceberg."
Our Voices blog series shines a spotlight on the team behind Quinn Evans, introducing their work, inspirations, and how their diverse perspectives contribute to building a collaborative and innovative architecture firm.
This bit of insight comes from the President and CEO of Quinn Evans, Alyson Steele, FAIA, LEED AP, and it perfectly illustrates our desire to introduce the team behind the firm.
In her role, Alyson provides high level direction on company projects and fosters the drive towards excellence and advancing the architecture profession. Originally from Wisconsin, Alyson noticed at a young age how the environment had a great impact on her outlook and state of mind. Designing places, while drawing on inspiration from the surrounding nature, was a natural next step for her.
“My favorite type of architecture isn’t a style, but a way of thinking about buildings as part of the larger landscape with a continuity of environment between inside and outside. We need to be thinking about designing the human habitat as opposed to individual buildings,” says Alyson.
One of Alyson’s favorite projects is an excellent example of designing for humans. In the early 2000s, the North Carolina History Center (formerly Tryon Palace) was in need of a new visitor center. While it wasn’t part of the initial project description, the Quinn Evans project team learned it was important to the client that their space could serve their local community in New Bern, North Carolina.
Alyson says, “It didn’t change the project so much on the surface of things, but there were ways we thought about the zones of the building, the way the building could operate, where the bathrooms and restrooms were located, so that many of these things could be taking place in the building at the same time.”
As a member of the leadership, Alyson takes pride in the Quinn Evans team and the culture they’ve cultivated. Integral to every project is a conscious effort to include a variety of perspectives.
“It’s important to be continually advancing our ability to provide the best environments for people,” she says. “In order to do that creatively and responsively, we need to have diverse perspectives.”
Alyson also uses her position as a leader to help teammates with different work styles find success.
“We really work hard to help our people grow,” says Alyson. “At the same time, we expect great things. It’s an interesting contradiction. Through lots of opportunities to try new skills and expand their strengths, people can strive for the best outcomes. Sometimes they may stumble, but our mentors are there for advice and to lend a hand. The ability to help talented team members grow through that learning curve and do exceptional work is such a gift.”