Tryba Architects is pleased to announce the addition of Shannon C. Bearden, AIA, RID, NCARB, to lead the firm's Fort Worth office. A 2018 Dallas Business Journal 40 Under 40, Shannon is passionate about creating purposeful, meaningful places that engage and inspire. She brings nearly two decades of experience in workplace, retail, repositioning and educational design, with a strong focus on client relationships. Her portfolio includes Fort Worth ISD's new headquarters and educational facilities; Irving's Toyota Music Factory; and renovations to Dallas' iconic Reunion Tower, Thanksgiving Tower, and Parkside Tower.
A lifelong Texan with degrees from UT-Arlington and Texas A&M, Shannon is thrilled to be raising a family and working in Fort Worth. She is dedicated to focusing on further enriching and enhancing the region's built environment through partnerships with like-minded organizations and serving at the highest level.
We asked Shannon to tell us more about herself, her thoughts on architecture and what she finds inspiring:
What drew you to architecture?
I have always been drawn to art and the creative side; you could say it’s in my DNA. My grandmother was a draftsman for Southwestern Bell and my father, an industrial engineer at Lockheed. At a young age, I found myself painting buildings, or blocks that now resemble buildings in the mind’s eye. Anything that inspired the creative mind; Lincoln logs, K’Nex, legos, I could spend hours building and re-building. In high school I took a photography class and spent time in downtown Fort Worth capturing buildings in undergoing demolition. I was fascinated and hooked and, in that moment, decided architecture was my calling and never looked back.
How does the design process begin for you?
Research on the end user followed by studying the site and the building if necessary. Often, visits to the site/ building allow the project to speak to you and tell you what it wants to be, how it wants to be sited, and best use. That followed by collaboration on the vision and design – I’m not a white paper designer, I’m at my best when I can guide and offer suggestions. Problem solving is the fuel that drives me in the design process.
Favorite project you’ve worked on:
I’m fortunate to have a handful, but I’ll list two that immediately stand out. Reunion Tower renovation was one. It was my first project as an official licensed architect. We had a fantastic client, endless budget, and the freedom to dream big with innovative technology to enhance the user experience. It was also a chance to re-envision a landmark for Dallas that millions of people would get to experience each year. The second was the opportunity to turn my old high school (where I decided I wanted to be an architect) into a collaborative middle school. It was a total encapsulation, addition, and selective “gut” of what used to be there. Working with three structural grid systems, six level changes, and a budget made for an extremely fun, rewarding project to cultivate future generations of learners.
You draw inspiration from…:
Surrounding myself with the best of the best, books, and the built environment; enhancing existing purposeful, impactful moments to better influence continued development.
Something intriguing you’ve seen or experienced lately:
Return to work and how to navigate building design for comfort and safety. These topics have always been key elements to how we design, and it’s more prevalent than ever. After personally experiencing work from home life for just over two years, I am thrilled and exhilarated to be back in the office collaborating with colleagues, mentoring, nurturing, and experiencing unplanned moments of knowledge sharing. As architects, we are likened to being design psychologists, responsible for creating moments for interactions. I look forward to continuing to study how we can evolve our designs to connect with the emotional and physical well-being of the individual.
Favorite thing about being an architect:
It sounds simple but creating spaces and places for people to experience. We get to play, dream, create, and share our work with the world, plus my kiddo thinks mom has a pretty cool job.
Tell us something about yourself that is not in your bio:
I played softball competitively for 30 years, finally hung up the bat after one last concussion told me it was time to stop. Now I help coach my little one’s t-ball team. I am thankful for my tenure with the sport, as it taught me a heck of a lot about leadership and teamwork. I can’t deny the competitive nature is still with me as well.
A piece of wisdom or advice you’d like to share:
In life: Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. In other words, remember to enjoy each day and never go to bed angry. In Architecture: Obtain your license, there is no better feeling than putting a bow on all your hard work and remember to always be kind and gracious, the world is so small and very well connected.
What are some of your goals and aspirations for your role at Tryba?
To continue to learn as much as I can from those around me, to share what I know, and to grow better together. The greatest goal will be to continue to gain traction and ultimately be THE sought-after firm in DFW for high quality design. Before joining Tryba, I had the opportunity to tour the firm’s-built work in Denver. The experience, the stories, and the people made me fall in love with architecture all over again, in a way I had truly never experienced and I want to do my part to share our craft and care with the world, especially Texas.
How do you see the firm’s role in the future of architecture in North Texas?
We have an undeniable opportunity to influence and elevate the design platform in Texas through our design principles and thought leadership. We have mastered the craft of starting with why and purposefully establishing spaces and places for all generations to enjoy…. It’s time to further expand and share that design experience in North Texas to set the standard for design excellence.