The Bergmeyer Spotlight is an online series of interviews featuring Bergmeyer’s professionals. This month’s spotlight is on TJ DiFeo, Associate
Years with Bergmeyer: 3
What led you to study architecture?
One of my favorite questions, and while I could give you my standard answer, The Brady Bunch (because of the girl that said “architects are groovy”), clearly that is a joke. I guess it really started with my childhood. Most of my young life I loved to color, draw and paint. It was exciting to me to create things that people (mostly my family) could experience and enjoy. I then became interested in sculpture and other media and really thought I wanted to be an artist, but after a while I thought I wanted to work on projects of a larger scale (guess that never changed) and started thinking, “What’s next?”. The answer was closer than I thought. My dad is an architect and I used to love to see what he was working on and especially loved seeing the drawings. There was a level of art to the way his drawings were composed. Once I understood that those drawings were integral to the creation of something intended to create experiences for people, communities and cities, I confirmed for myself my next step (contrary to my dad’s wishes). Also living at a time in Philadelphia when you could finally build above “Billy Penn’s hat” – there was a lot of excitement in architecture in the city.
You’ve recently worked on commercial development projects; what do you find most interesting about these types of projects?
Commercial projects are extremely interesting to me because they always have a different problem to solve. Each project, while it may in some instances be with the same client, has different complexities because of the contrast of users and the challenge of creating experiences that will resonate with a diverse cross-section of people. This really intrigues me. These types of projects typically have a longer duration than others that we work on. Extended timelines create an opportunity to build relationships with our teams; both internally, and also externally with our clients and project partners. I really appreciate being part of the development of commercial of projects with Bergmeyer.
What do you do to stay on top of current trends?
Engage! Whether through the many channels of social media, blogs, daily and weekly digital newsletters, our firm’s intranet, or industry events; there is so much information out there! Keeping engaged with the design and built environment community is one of the best ways to gain the latest information. I certainly love to read about all of the latest trends too, but making personal connections gaining in the sharing information is so much more effective.
What is your favorite project that you have worked on at Bergmeyer?
That’s a great question, but certainly a tough one to answer. I have learned so much and had many memorable experiences on all of my projects, and of course RH Boston was a “project of a lifetime”. I would sincerely say 699 Boylston Street has thus far been my favorite. Beside the history of the building, the challenges of site, the required approvals by the authorities having jurisdiction, plus the challenges to create spaces for both the office tenants and for the high level of the desired retail tenants; what I most enjoyed was the team. This is true for both the internal team here at Bergmeyer and the external team of owner, owner’s project manager, the leasing teams and the construction team. At Bergmeyer we often speak of the importance of team building, as great teams and teamwork result in the most successful projects, for 699 this was certainly true. The teams that we built and the relationships we built will continue due to the success of this project.
If money were no object, where would you visit?
This one is easy. I just visited there in the summer of 2013, but I would definitely head right back to Italy and spend months there! Besides being Italian, besides loving the food, fashion and people watching, there is no other place that I love to see the diversity of architecture crafted over many centuries. From the cathedrals, to the castles to the museums and the villas, there is a story to every place and every thing. Amazing.