At NELSON, we believe architecture has the power to create a transformative sense of place, supporting communities and strengthening the fabric of cities across the nation and around the world. Recently named the #2 fastest growing architecture firm, we’re celebrating our growth, people, and projects that are boldly transforming architecture. To do so, we’ve created our latest series, “Architecture Spotlight” to introduce you to a few thought leaders within the NELSON Architecture Team.  You’ll not only get an exclusive look at our people, but hear what’s in store for the future.

This week we interview Jim Harkin, AIA, NCARB, SVP Principal at NELSON. Keep reading to learn more about his career, point-of-view, and what he think is next for the industry.


Q: What is your role at NELSON and how long have you been an architect?

A: I am the National Practice leader for Mixed-Use Co-lead of the Architecture Discipline and member of the NELSON Management Team. I have been an architect for 32 years.


Q: What is your favorite architecture trend of today?

A: The trend of “discovery” is my favorite. I don’t believe that we are in an era or style of Architecture, as in the past. We are in a time of technology, evolution, and pushing the limits of our current construction technology, all while discovering new ways.

Q: What advice would you give a young architect?

A: Be well-rounded, be uncomfortable, be humble, and follow through with any and all opportunities presented to you.

Q: What do you think the future holds for architecture?

A: I think the future is bright, but we must redefine Architecture as a profession.  We are clinging to old ideals and need to catch up to the tools, ideas, and world that are available to us.

Q: What is the biggest challenge the architecture industry faces today?

A: Finding people. Period. There are many choices for “cousin” professions that more and more young creatives are pursuing. Schools need to change and our profession needs to change to attract new young architects.

Q: What sets NELSON apart from other architecture firms?

A: Diversity, size, geographic locations, type of disciplines and practices. There are so many avenues you can pursue at NELSON. A professional can pave their own path.