#51 - Building a Collaborative Design Practice with Natasha Espada, AIA, Founder of Studio ENEE

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Natasha Espada, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP BD+C is the founder and Principal of STUDIO ENÉE Architects. She has over 25 years of design and construction expertise in both renovation and new construction for institutional, civic, and commercial clients. Natasha served as the 2020 President of the Boston Society for Architecture. Her platform focused on equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice in the profession, as well as working to make Boston a Design City by bringing art and design to all neighborhoods in Boston.

She has been a speaker on Equity and Practice at the AIA Grassroots Conference in Washington, D.C., AIA Connecticut’s Equity Summit, and AIA New Hampshire’s The Future of Practice Conference. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University and has been a design critic and lecturer at Harvard GSD, MIT, Yale, Wentworth, Roger Williams, and the BAC. Since 2012, she has served on the Committee for Green Communities and the board of the Permanent Public Building Committee in Needham, MA. Natasha is a graduate of University of Florida and holds a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia with a certificate in American Urbanism.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • When Natasha decided she was ready to start her own firm
  • The prep that went into it before she made the jump
  • The biggest challenge of starting the practice
  • On forming a new, collaborating type of design practice
  • Her goals for the firm, and what the ideal size is
  • Natasha’s experience as an adjunct professor
  • The idea of code switching and feeling like you need to hide your true self at work
  • When Natasha realized she could be herself
  • Advice for emerging professionals who feel like they still have to mask themselves at work
  • Natasha’s work as the 2020 President of BSA, and what she plans to do next

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