Walker Headlights: Brian Faith, AIA
Brian Faith, AIA is a Principal for Walker Restoration Consultants. Brian is our go-to expert for anything building related – including façade building envelopes, waterproofing, tuckpointing, window/roof replacements, and historical preservations. He is a key player for Capital Improvement Programs (Asset Management Programs), especially hospital and university campuses. Brian is an innovative leader and the perfect choice to feature in this month’s Walker Headlights! Take a few minutes to get to know our building restoration champion!
Q: At what age did you know you wanted to be an architect?
A: I originally wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force, but found out senior year of high school that I was color blind and could not fly military attack aircraft. I started college at a local community college studying electrical engineering and quickly figured out that was not the right fit. I switched to mechanical engineering for a short time, but still was not set on that and transferred to Southern Illinois University as a liberal arts major with no clue what I was actually going to do. While I was a sophomore, a guy in my dorm who was always looking through the curriculum catalog walked into my room one day and said “Brian, you should become an architect.” I changed to architectural studies the next semester and the rest is history.
Q: Of all the structures you have worked on, what has been your favorite type? Most challenging type?
A: I like historical restoration work as I find that the most challenging. In most cases there are no original drawings, the building may have been modified, and records are often sparse. Historic structures also provide challenges in restoring the façade materials or systems to maintain the original materials, look, and feel of the façade while making necessary improvements using newer construction materials and techniques.
New construction can also be quite challenging. Architects are always pushing the envelope by creating more interesting building façades using multiple materials. In performing peer reviews or investigating and developing repairs for non-performance issues, it can be very challenging to develop detailing for the building envelope that provides required air, water and thermal performance while maintaining the architects intended aesthetics.
Q: Being so busy during the week and traveling so often for work, what do you like to do over the weekends to unwind?
A: I like to spend time with my family (wife and two sons) and friends. I don’t tend to stay still for long so I like to be doing something. I recently got my pilots license and like to fly whenever I can – it’s a place I can forget about everything else and get a whole different perspective on the world. I also started scuba diving again – unfortunately in the Chicagoland area it requires heavy wet suits for protection against the cold water. I guess I’ve realized that I enjoy being free of terra firma.
Q: Of your two sons did either inherit your eye for detail and design? Perhaps one/both will follow in your footsteps?
A: My older son Tyler never was interested in how to take apart, diagnose, and fix things. If it broke his suggestion was “to call someone”. My younger son Kyle was always interested in how things worked and was always around when I was working on things. He has enjoyed architecture classes in high school and received 2nd in State for CAD drafting as a sophomore. He is planning on pursuing architecture/construction management next year when he goes on to college.
Q: You mention you like to fly, have you had a chance to pilot the Walker drone, “Hawkeye”?
A: I have not, although I have a radio controlled helicopter I used to fly. I’ll leave the drones to the younger generation.
Q: We know you are big on giving back, especially with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, can you tell us more about that – how you got involved and how others can too?
A: I first got involved with St. Baldrick’s after a younger friend of mine with a wife and two kids died of cancer and another much younger friend/co-worker was diagnosed with leukemia. I was never involved much in charitable work but saw that I could help raise funds for St. Baldrick’s Foundation which is focused on funding research to find a cure for childhood cancer. With the kind and generous help of many of the Walker family and others I have raised over $6,000 the last several years. St. Baldrick’s holds events all over the United States in which you can participate in or donate to. Go to www.stbaldricks.org to find out about events in your area.
Q: Your goal since joining Walker has been focused on getting the word out that we can do more than parking – what message do you want people to retain about Walker Restoration’s capabilities?
A: We have a growing staff of very knowledgeable professionals that can assist clients in resolving their problems and/or maintaining their assets. Our clients know that we are focused on helping them achieve their objectives in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.
Q: Be honest, which would you rather do design work on – a brand new state-of-the-art building or a 100-year-old condemned structure?
A: I’d rather go flying! But honestly, I enjoy the challenges we are faced with in our business. I would be bored sitting behind a desk all day, or doing repetitive design work.
Q: What is the best advice you can give building owners/property managers to preserve their built environments?
A: Buildings/structures don’t last forever, at least not by themselves. Building owners need to understand that their buildings/structures require maintenance and by implementing a proactive asset management program they can significantly extend the life of their assets.
For more information on what our Restoration Department can do for you, contact Brian Faith.